Dubai: City of Contrasts

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I arrived in Dubai a week ago not really knowing what to expect. I knew the glamorous reputation. The tallest building in the world, the biggest shopping center, and artificial islands shaped like palm trees might indicate over-the-top extravagance. What I have found, however, is a city successfully leaping into the twenty first century while remaining grounded in a strong cultural heritage.

Visitors to the city who take in the malls and resorts often miss the rich cultural experience that exists in Dubai’s neighborhoods. The Bastakiya area proudly displays its traditional houses made with coral or with palm wood and the bustling Deira neighborhood is home to thousands of expatriate workers from the Indian subcontinent. The Dubai creek harbor area is teeming with abras, traditional water taxis, and dhows, wooden cargo ships loading wares to deliver throughout the region.

In Dubai, it does not seem that the modern world is clashing with the traditional society as it is in many areas of the world. Here there is a harmonious merging of the two.