Sails and Surf

Last week the Burj Al Arab Hotel celebrated its 10th anniversary(“burj” is Arabic for tower). Designed to look like the sail of a traditional arab dhow, built on a manmade island and rising up 321 meters, the Burj became the world’s first “7 star” hotel back in the late 90s. Their website claims it “the world’s most luxurious hotel”. There was an awesome commercial of Agassi and Federer playing tennis on the helipad to publicize the Dubai Tennis Championships.  skip to min 2:50 for the action

You won’t be checking in there without forking out at least 2,000 bucks a night for a peasant room, with the Royal Suite somewhere around 25,000 a night. If you’re not a guest, or a friend of a guest they hit you with 100 euro entrance fee just to check out the weird interior.  Not the best place to grab a casual drink but it makes a pretty amazing piece of skyline for the rest of us.

One interesting fact not often mentioned:

“the hotel became the subject of much controversy following the Christian architect’s revelations that its superstructure was built in the shape of a crucifix (only noticeable when viewed from the sea) and its picture was quietly removed from the Dubai’s car number plates” (Davidson)

the controversial cross

With all the manmade island construction the government has done a pretty good job of blocking most of the swell window (yes, there are waves in the Persian Gulf- more on that later). However, one of the few remaining beaches in Dubai that does get waves is right in the shadow of the Burj. Surfing under the Golden Gate Bridge is a trip, but this thing is on another level.

early morning glass

Scott Chambers runs the surf school here (photo: Joel Fitzgerald- a regular in the water for a few years but just moved back to oz)

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