Shortly after my visit, I saw this article - UAE minister reveals that Dubai is amongst the top producers of waste in the world . I noticed a lot of wasted water to create green grass around highways, A/C cranking with doors open, and what appeared to be a culture based entirely on consumerism.
Dubai is steel and pavement plopped down in the middle of a totally dry, arid desert. The road noise makes the outdoors unpleasant (as does the heat).
All the beaches are private (this made me appreciate the fact that the entire shoreline of Tel Aviv is designated public, so the hotels and rich can not prohibit the rest of us).
There were a few remnants of the traditional culture that we saw, including building design with an open steeple that draws airflow into the building and acts like natural air conditioning. We could learn from that.
We went up to the observation level of the Burj Khalifa (the building I am standing in front of). From there I took the photo of the city from the sky. The air quality was never clear while we were there.
The malls are bigger than the entire town that I spent my childhood in, LaConner. We walked through to see the indoor ski area (see photo with Dan). Otherwise it was too much, at least for me, as I do not enjoy shopping in general, and this was definitely shopping on crack.
Dubai is probably the most liberal Muslim place in the middle east. But even here, practicing Muslim women are usually covered head to toe, sometimes including face masks, and accompanied by a man to go out of the home. The reason for this, as I understand it, is that men can't control themselves, so women need to hide. This sounds incredibly disrespectful to both genders. It doesn't give any credit to either's ability to act as mature adults. I want to have an open mind, but any culture where the rights of women are less than those of men feels too unjust for me to accept.