A statement of resources, ingenuity, and the ability to use both to transform the simple into the extraordinary is how best I can describe Dubai. A drive around the city will mesmerise you. You will not find a petrol station at every corner, like is the case in Kampala. Ironic considering these people drive more cars than we do, and their fuel is cheaper- 30 litres of fuel is about $8( Shs20,000).

It is hard to imagine driving from say Ntinda to Kamwokya with no petrol station in sight, but this is the case in Dubai. No traffic policemen with their noisy whistles for this place. Instead, there are cameras along the road. These take your picture when you violate road rules, and this is how you earn yourself a call from the police. Yes, the police have all your records, and will be able to identify you by your number plate. Imagine the police calling you up personally demanding that you pay a fine in Uganda! Laughable.

The roads in Dubai look airbrushed to perfection, all black tarmac that accentuates the road symbols in white and yellow which guide the drivers. And the fly overs? Oh, what a sight! They stand on long sturdy pillars, reminiscent of the ones on ancient Roman temples. You will not find debris lying at their feet or homeless people in their arcs, they stand untouched.

the roads are lined with ceramic tiles. The kind you will find in people’s homes, if at all. The tiles form a zebra crossing here or a hump there, and cars drive over them, like its nothing.

The malls
Even before you get into the mall, you will be amazed by the parking lots. The indoor parking is well lit with lights to illuminate your way, and lights to guide you when there is a parking space available. Above all, parking spaces are small lights which have sensors. These lights flash red when a space is occupied, and immediately turn green when a car leaves. The beauty of these lights is that you can see them from afar, and so instead of driving around in circles, one just looks out for a green light.

The malls are breathtaking with first class brands stores like Versace, Cartier, Bvlgari, Marks and Spencer, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Christian Loubortin, Chopard, Dolce and Gabanna, Ralph lauren, the list is endless. What strikes you more than the glamour that goes with these names is the way the sales people treat you. In Kampala, some sales people judge you according to the way you are dressed.

You ask, “How much is that dress?” and they answer, “It is very expensive.” Refer to Pioneer Mall on that one. In Dubai, they welcome you into the shop at the door, ask if you need help, and let you walk around, even when it is clear you are not going to buy anything. They are selling the world’s most expensive clothes, and they still manage to have the same warm demeanor toward everyone that comes through their door. Boutique owners in Uganda should pick a leaf.

Beside all the clothes and jewelry, another thing that will stand out for you at especially the large malls like the Dubai Mall- the largest mall in the world, and the Mall of the Emirates, is the variety of activities you can indulge in such as skiing indoors. The image of a ski resort on the slope of a mountain is reconstructed. Here, you can snow board, ride on cable cars over the snow park, go bobsled riding, and play in the snow.

Water wonder
If someone told you that water dances, you would think they are a little crazy and not give them the time of day. If you are in Dubai, however, this is not so far-fetched. At the Dubai Mall, next to the world’s tallest building- the Burj Khalifa, there is a scheduled water fountain- an understatement of a name really when compared to our fountains in Kampala. This fountain does not just spray water, it performs.

A real performance accompanied by music and lights. Water shoots from different points in the ground, and rises higher than Uganda House, and as the music sways, and the notes entwine, so does the water in moves similar to the waltz, and contemporary dance.
The Palm Jumeirah, seems like a whole other city of its own. This landmark is built on water, and follows the design of a palm tree in arrangement. There must be a road that connects the land to this wonder (according to its website, it is larger than eight hundred football pitches) but as you go to it, you do not notice where the mainland breaks off and the Palm begins, the road network is that complex. What really stands out about this place is that while it is built on water, you will see water only where it is designated to be. The train ride that lets you see it from above, leaves you marveling at what man is capable of doing on water.

Strange sightings
The Dubai zoo is smaller in size compared to the one in Entebbe, but it somehow manages to cram a larger variety of animals in its space. From tigers to bears, leopards to raccoons, and the familiar chimpazees and parrots, this zoo has you seeing animals you have only seen on the Discovery Channel. But apart from seeing the gorillas, another thing that would stand for you is the presence of Crested Cranes inside cages.

By Grace Kenganzi, Daily Monitor



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