Archive for May, 2005

The Sharjah Biennial: Completely Meaningless or Quite the Opposite

Monday, May 30th, 2005
laundry

An art piece made out of rows of laundry hangs outside the Sharjah Art Museum

After wrapping up the conference, I had some time that afternoon to explore one last time before heading to the airport around 10pm that night for my flight back to Boston. Since I’d spent a lot of time in Dubai itself, I decided to catch a taxi to Sharjah, the emirate adjacent to Dubai, to visit the Sharjah Art Museum. The museum was playing host to the Sharjah Biennial, the Arabian Gulf’s premier modern art show. I’d read about it in several magazines in Dubai, so it sounded like an interesting change of pace from what I’d seen so far.
The taxi driver let out an audible groan when I told him I wanted to go to Sharjah. “Should I get out?” I asked him, when it seemed he disapproved of relatively long trip, but he muttered a string of No Problem’s and kept driving. The distance to Sharjah is only 10 kilometers, but the traffic can be very bad, apparently. Today, though, it was manageable; we drove along the highway and managed to get there in about 30 minutes.
If I didn’t know better, I would have assumed Sharjah was an extension of Dubai. But once the taxi driver dropped me off, I realized otherwise. For one thing, it seemed hotter here – there was less shade than you could find in Dubai. The buildings and streets weren’t as clean, either; though Sharjah was the dominant emirate in the early 1800s, it has since fallen on lean times, unable to strike oil with similar success to that of Abu Dhabi or even Dubai. I also noticed that all the women were covered in head to toe wearing black abayas, without any exception. And as I walked along, I didn’t see any other tourists.
The taxi had dropped me off by a market along the corniche. I thought I had a rough idea of where I was, but as I tried to navigate using the map in my Lonely Planet book, I realized the scale was much larger than I’d thought. No matter which direction I walked, I didn’t seem to make any progress on the map, so I pulled over at a hotel and asked for directions. The concierge gave me a fold-out map that captured the details of Sharjah’s streets — including the scale — much better than Lonely Planet did. I then realized I would have a lot of walking to do; the sights here were spread out over large distances. But I still had some water left in my bottle, so I decided to walk and see how I could handle the heat.

Emirati Women

Emerati women wearing abayas inside the art museum

Following the traffic back towards the corniche, I spotted a long building with traditional wind towers at the front; across the road sat an art gallery. I’d found the art museum without getting too lost. Inside, a trio of women in black abayas ran the information desk; one of them gave me a map of the museum and asked me to sign the guest book. I then began walking down the first corridor, a long hallway with arches inspired by mosque architecture. Each artist featured in the Biennial had his or her own room. For those whose work wasn’t dynamic — such as paintings or photographs — their work would be displayed in a wide room offset from the corridor. For other artists whose work was dynamic — particularly those using video — you would first have to walk down a claustrophobic side alley before reaching a dark, intimate room showcasing their work.
One of the first artists I encountered was Tim Lee from Singapore. His piece utilized two flat panel TV screens. On one screen there was a video loop of the artist lying face down on the floor; on the other screen, a video loop of him lying face up. In both videos, he remained totally motionless; at first I thought they were still images, but every now and then you could detect slight movement in his hands or feet. Accompanying the videos was a loop of Public Enemy’s rap classic, “Don’t Believe the Hype.” Off to the side of the piece, a placard described the work as “an attempt to marry the avant-gardes of the social and artistic.” The placard concluded with a line that made me laugh out loud:
“Lee’s work can be interpreted as completely meaningless, or quite the opposite.”
This very sentence encapsulated my impression of the entire exhibit. Wandering through each floor, some pieces struck me as quite pointless, while others successfully captured the artist’s humor, angst or politics. Many of the works appeared to be related to the Palestinian conflict. One piece featured a note scrawled on the wall by an artist who had managed to convince Israelis and Palestinians to stop fighting for a few days so they could host an art show in the West Bank. Another piece, entitled “Ramallah/New York,” featured two video loops of Palestinians running small businesses, one in Palestine, the other in the US. Whether it was of a hair salon, an import-export business, or something else, the mundane, everyday images from the videos made it quite impossible to tell which video took place in New York or in Palestine. There were also several pieces about globalization, featuring photos and paintings of the UAE over the decades, with various skylines crowded by cranes and construction equipment.

wall of media

A wall of media representing TV programming during the Iraq War

Some of the most interesting pieces related to the Iraq war. One piece, created by Chris Keinke and Tarek Al Ghoussein, featured a display of 1500 still images of TV programs captured during the war. Many of the pictures were directly related to the war, including images of George W. Bush and wounded civilians; other pictures captured random TV programming such as cartoons and variety shows, juxtaposing pop culture with the cruelty of war.
Another work, Christoph Buchel and Giovanni Carmine’s PSYOP, critiqued the US military’s propaganda leaflet campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. Perhaps the most creative work of the show, PSYOP was a room set up as a small classroom. On each desk were random paper copies of leaflets distributed by airdrop to Iraqis and Afghans. The teacher’s desk featured more leaflets, file folders and what appeared to be ungraded homework. In the upper right corner of the room, a television played a 1979 instructional video from the US Department of Defense about the art of propaganda leaflet design. And to the back of the room, a large file cabinet overflowed with cardboard boxes of leaflets, thousands of them, along with books by the artists containing copies of the leaflets. A small sign in the room encouraged visitors to help themselves to copies of the materials; I put some of the leaflets inside one of the books as a souvenir.
I spent the next hour or so exploring the museum. The quality of the art varied, but it was all quite interesting. On one wall I even found a framed handwritten letter with an intriguing note:

It seems that, within the next six weeks, I would be able to show publicly (in some other place) a body of work by one of the students from the Sharjah College of Fine Arts, in the United Arab Emirates, which, apparently, is not suitable for being exhibited here.
Nedko Solakov
Sharjah
April 2005

Leaving the museum, I walked several blocks west to Sharjah’s fort. The fort, reminiscent of Dubai Fort, was one of the oldest structures in the city, but the high-rise apartments surrounding in detracted from it. I also strolled through the Sharjah Heritage Area, several square blocks of old buildings restored to their original condition. It was reminiscent of walking through a deserted North African medina; the lack of people there made it feel like a ghost town.
After buying a bottle of water at a shop, I continued westward to the vegetable souk, a covered market featuring various produce from the region, particularly the local dates. The date sellers all made their best attempt to sell me two or three kilos of the syrupy sweet fruit, but I smiled and declined.

strolling man

A man strolls through Sharjah’s Heritage Area

On the far end of the souk, I found the long distance taxi stand, which my Lonely Planet book said was the place to get a taxi back to Dubai. To my horror, though, I found out that this place was actually the taxi stand for rides to Abu Dhabi and Al Ain; the Dubai taxi stand was at Rolla Square, clear across the other side of town where I’d started in the first place. I asked the taxi drivers if any of them would take me there, but they all declined, again reminding me the taxis were for Abu Dhabi and Al Ain only. Silly me.
Now breaking out into a continuous sweat, I backtracked through the city, trying to find whatever shade along the way, until I reached Rolla Square 30 minutes later. Several large minibuses sat along the northern edge of the square; one of them departed as soon as I arrived. I asked an attendant about going to Dubai; he directed me to a ticket booth under a tree in the middle of the square. I bought a ticket for five dirhams (about $1.50) then returned to the remaining minibus. It was already filling up with passengers. I grabbed a seat near the front and waited a few minutes as the last seats filled up; some male passengers had to be shuffled around to accommodate a couple of women passengers, who aren’t aloud to sit next to male strangers.
We then got under way, taking a route back to Dubai that was different than the one I’d used to get there a couple hours earlier. We passed through a very developed part of Sharjah, with brand-new high rises hugging a large bay. It was oddly reminiscent of Miami. About 30 minutes later, we arrived at the Bur Dubai bus station, where I had to walk a few blocks to catch a taxi back to the hotel, where I packed my bags, checked out, and plotted what to do with my dwindling hours in Dubai.

Car Sick in the Empty Quarter

Monday, May 30th, 2005
women on sand dune

Two African women walk along the ridge of giant sand dune

Once conference activities had wrapped up on Monday afternoon, I returned to the hotel for a quick swim before meeting Shauneen Furlong for an evening ride into the desert. The pool, adjacent to the hotel on the roof of the parking garage, offered a fine view of the post-modern skyline along Sheikh Zayed Road. The ironies of Dubai were in full force as the afternoon call to prayer sounded in the distance while Eminem’s “Without Me” played on the poolside PA system; it was very odd hearing the opening Allahu Akbars of the prayer while the rapper lamented how the Federal Communications Commission won’t let him be. In some Muslim countries I’ve visited, they turn down the music when the muezzin offers the call to prayer; here, though, I could have sworn they actually turned the music louder.
Downstairs in the lobby, I met Shauneen just before 4:30pm. Our ride was waiting for us; the driver and three passengers sat inside the Toyota Land Cruiser, with the door open for us to slide in the back seat. The three passengers were teammates on the Kuwait national basketball team, including a Kuwaiti national named Sami and two Americans, one of whom was named Jameel.
We left the hotel and drove south on the highway; soon we were out of Dubai and somewhere in the emirate of Abu Dhabi – it’s hard to drive anywhere in the UAE without going into Abu Dhabi at some point, given the fact it takes up around 85% of the country’s land mass. Somewhere along the highway the driver pulled over for gas and let us get out to buy snacks at, of all things, a roadside Dunkin Donuts. As we got out of the car, I realized that Jameel was enormous – probably close to 6′ 10″. He looked over at me and shook his head.
“Uh oh,” he said. “A Red Sox fan.” I hadn’t even thought about the fact that I was wearing a Sox t-shirt.
“Let me guess,” I replied. “New York?”
“Brooklyn born and bred,” he said.

dune companions

My dune companions: Jameel is the tall one; Shauneen is on the right

We got back in the car and drove another 45 minutes, until we reached a highway outpost somewhere southwest of the oasis of Al Ain. The driver informed us this would be our last chance to buy food or water until dinner time, so I got out and picked up another bottle of water and a snack bar made of cashews and dried fruit. Meanwhile, one of Jameel’s teammates grabbed a stack of hats that were on the shelf of the store, several of which displayed the label Georgetown Hoyas.
“Check this out, Jameel,” he said.
“Well I’ll be damned,” Jameel replied.
Suddenly I had a moment of recognition. “Did you play for the Hoyas not too long ago?” I asked.
“Yep, ‘96 to 2000,” Jameel said proudly.
“No wonder you looked familiar,” I replied. “I bet I saw you play while I was living in DC.”
(Later that night, I did some poking around on the Georgetown website and found him – Jameel Watkins, drafted by the Houston Rockets prior to moving into the international pro basketball circuit.)
While the others finished buying their supplies, I snacked on my fruit-nut bar and stared across the road at a giant sand dune. It must have reached 250 feet high, certainly the highest sand dune I’d ever seen. I wondered how far out into the desert we’d get on this trek of ours.
I soon found out. Back in the Land Cruiser, we joined two Land Rovers from another tour agency and drove behind the outpost. Suddenly I could see nothing but sand dunes, and no road for us to take. But that didn’t matter; the caravan of 4X4s drove straight up the dunes, gunning the pedal as soon as we hit your sand. “Check your seat belt,” the driver yelled back to us.

dunes

Arabian sand dunes

Before I knew it, we were careening up and down the dunes at frightful speeds. Not wanting to go in a straight line, the driver banked hard to the right along the edge of a dune; the car dipped 45 degrees to the side, feeling like it would tip over at any moment. He gunned the gas again, causing a gale of sand to whip up behind us. We plunged down the other side of the dune, dropping 200 feet in a matter of seconds; my windpipe caught my stomach and grasped it with all its might before I could cough it up all over the ceiling.
Everyone in the car, except the driver, let out a series of involuntary grunts, whoops and guttural noises as the 4X4 banked along the dunes like a roller coaster that shifted randomly with each turn. I soon began to regret that snack bar I’d just eaten; I had no idea that we’d be going on a ride like this. You could actually feel the g-forces as we careened at gravity-defying angles, spraying sand and plummeting between the dunes. Even though I felt awful from the ride, I kept telling myself to enjoy every minute of it. I mean, how often do I get the chance to race through the Arabian desert with a former NBA player?
As we darted through the endless dunes, I did my best to take pictures and some video clips. I had to be careful about pressing the lens against the window; sometimes we’d plummet down an embankment, causing an enormous thud that would easily shatter my camera if it were too close to the glass. Looking behind at the Range Rovers following us, I was shocked at the gravity-defying angles the vehicles took while shooting up and down the dunes. What on earth were their drivers thinking? I then realized they were simply following our tracks — our vehicle was doing the exact same thing; I just hadn’t realized how utterly reckless it all was.
Eventually, the car spun to a halt, parking on the side of a dune. We got out and enjoyed the tremendous view of the desert, not to mention the stable, unmoving sand below us. Jameel and his buddies took a crack at sandboarding, riding a snowboard down the side of the dune; I held my breath and prayed I didn’t throw up on the Indian tourists that had just gotten out of one of the Range Rovers.

driver

Our driver checks in with the tour agency from the dunes

Jameel and Sami were really getting into the sandboarding; the driver offered to take them up to the top of the tallest dune, towering nearly 300 feet just behind us. We watched with amazement as the 4X4 flew up the edge of the dune, skidding out and grinding to a halt at the very top. Sami then jumped on the board and surfed downward, plummeting around 150 feet before rolling over. He seemed to really enjoy the ride, but now he had to walk all the way up to get back to the car. Meanwhile, I pulled out my iPod and recorded a brief podcast — perhaps the first from the Empty Quarter, I wondered.
Soon, the car returned and we climbed inside; the driver retraced our path until we reached the highway again. We then turned north and heading towards a “Bedouin camp” set up for tourists to have an evening barbeque. Along the way we passed several itinerant camels strolling down the road; the driver said they were wild camels.
The caravan pulled off the highway and followed a wire fence back into desert, reaching the camp about five minutes later. The camp was a large courtyard with several divans set up inside, each seating around 20 people on pillows along the perimeter. To the left there was a small fleet of all-terrain vehicles waiting for riders willing to pay an extra fee (they weren’t included in the tour price); to the right, a man in Bedouin dress stood by with three camels, waiting to give tourists a ride.
Jameel and his friends went straight for the ATVs; Shauneen and I made a beeline to the camels. The camel driver lowered the animals and let us climb onto their backs. We each got our own camel, sitting in the second seat position of the saddle. Unlike every camel I’d met previously, these camels were very sweet; they let you scratch their heads and rub their necks, and actually seemed to enjoy it.

andy and his camel

Andy bonds with his camel

The camel driver gave the camels a bit of a whack, and all three of them stood up. I’ve ridden camels three times in my life, and each time I’m surprised just how high off the ground you get while riding on their backs. It’s really quite an extraordinary experience. And compared to my previous camel rides, this one was quite comfortable; the saddle was wide and well padded, hugging your legs as the camel took each step.
The driver directed the camels over a sand dune to get us a little way from the camp; Jameel soon skidded by on an ATV. The rider-less camel strode along side mine, leaning in close so I could scratch the back of its head as we rode. It was a marvelous, relaxing experience.
By the time we got off the camels, there was a line of a dozen or so tourists from India and Singapore waiting for a ride. Interestingly, with each successive group of passengers, the rides got shorter, and the camel driver more irritated. By the time Jameel and his teammates got on the camels, the rides were lasting no more than 30 seconds, in a tight circle. I was really glad we got to ride them when we did; otherwise I would have thought we wouldn’t have gotten our money’s worth.
We went into the camp’s courtyard and helped ourselves to some tea and dates; I then grabbed a beer at the bar to help cool down, since the water they served tasted like burnt plastic. One of the staff offered us shishas, so Shauneen and I split one as we waited for dinner.

belly dancer

The belly-dancer-in-residence teaches some of her moves

About 30 minutes later, we were invited to the buffet, which included half a dozen types of pilaf, several kabobs, hummus, baba ganouj, pasta and lentil curry. It wasn’t the best food I’d had in the UAE, but it wasn’t bad either. After dinner, we were treated to a belly dancing show. The dancer was actually quite good, though she spent too much of her routine trying to recruit tourists to learn how to belly dance. Shauneen was actually a good sport about it; she got on stage and belly danced like a pro; I stuck to my camera and pretended not to hear the belly dancer when she asked me if I wanted to take a crack at it.
At 9pm, the dance ended rather abruptly; the tour staff were clearly on the clock, so it was time to drive back to Dubai. For the next 90 minutes, we drove northeast along the highway. For one stretch of the trip, the driver kept swerving perilously close to one of the Range Rovers while thumbing his mobile phone at the same time. Eventually he rolled down the window and drove within inches the other vehicle, sticking his phone out the window. I suddenly realized what he was doing.
“Bluetooth?” I asked.
“Yes, good pictures,” he replied, apparently of the mind that a driver had the right to swap camera phone photos wirelessly with other drivers while speeding down the highway. Fortunately, a few sharp “slow down!” requests from Jameel caused the driver to mellow out.
Just after 10:30, we got back to the hotel. I noticed I left a trail of sand behind me as we walked towards the elevator.

Concert Review: U2 Live at Boston’s Fleet Center

Friday, May 27th, 2005

BonoWith more than 25 years of touring under their belt, U2 reminded us again last night at Boston’s Fleet Center why they are still the biggest band in the world. The sold-out concert, the final performance of their spring 2005 North American tour, was a two-hour, 22-song retrospective of the band’s best work, featuring classics, fan favorites and a few obscure numbers to boot.
Utilizing a stripped down set that was down-right minimalist compared to tours such as Achtung Baby and Pop, U2 kicked off the show with a one-two punch from their latest album, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb: “City of Blinding Light,” followed by “Vertigo.” During the songs, Bono paid tribute to Boston’s Aerosmith by throwing in lyrics to “Walk this Way” and “Dream On.” Dressed in his usual sunglasses and a black leather jacket, he took full advantage of the circular walkway that arched out of the stage, appearing as if he were walking on top of the crowd in the general admission section. Other members of the band utilized the walkway on occasion, but never with the same comfort or enthusiasm that Bono exhibited.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of the show – for old school U2 fans anyway – was the heavy rotation of pre-Achtung Baby songs. After performing the relatively recent “Elevation,” the band stepped back over 20 years to perform “Gloria” from their sophomore effort, October. This was followed by the downright obscure “The Ocean,” a surreal, ambient track from their debut LP, Boy. Newer fans that may have been dismayed by this random flashback wasted no time in getting back into the show when the band continued the set with “Beautiful Day” from their Grammy-winning penultimate album, All That You Can’t Leave Behind.
Introducing the song “Miracle Drug,” Bono talked for a while about how he loves coming to Boston because it is not only an “Irish city,” but a “smart city” of people working hard to cure diseases like cancer. The praise seemed rather forced, though, leading one to wonder what kind words he offers when passing through Detroit, Jacksonville or Sacramento.
The second half of their main set might have been termed their battlefield set, given its heavy emphasis of songs related to violent conflict. “Love and Peace or Else,” a plea for sanity in the Middle East, was quickly followed by their early 80’s classic, “Sunday Bloody Sunday.” Introducing that song as “An American Song,” (as opposed to it being “not a rebel song,” his old refrain) Bono sported a white handkerchief around his forehead, featuring a crescent, Star of David and cross. Mid-way through the song, he led the crowd in a chant of “Jesus, Jew, Muhammad,” emphasizing how Christianity, Judaism and Islam were all “sons of Abraham.”
BonoThe band then offered a pair of war songs from their mega-hit Joshua Tree album. The white handkerchief now blindfolding him, Bono belted out the jarring “Bullet the Blue Sky,” mixing in lyrics from their contribution to the Gangs of New York soundtrack, “The Hands that Build America” as well as the old war song “When Johnny Comes Marching Home.” The band then took it down several notches with a subdued performance of “Running to Stand Still,” which was dedicated “to the brave men and women of the United States.” As the song wrapped up, a giant screen displayed the first six articles of Universal Declaration of Human Rights; huge applause from the audience broke out as a female narrator read the article pertaining to the prohibition of torture.
Wrapping up their main set, the band pulled out three of their biggest hits: “Pride (In the Name of Love),” “Where the Streets Have No Name” and “One.” During the performance of “One,” Bono marveled that the United States was the only country that could put a man on the moon, so he implored President Bush to “bring mankind back to earth” and fully embrace a campaign to eliminate the debt of developing nations. The set coming to a close, thousands of people in the audience held up their cell phones, glowing LED blue and green and white, alighting the arena with an eerie glow so different from the warm hues of lighter-lit concerts of the past.
After a brief break, the band came back for two encores, featuring a total of seven songs. The first encore began with two songs from Achtung Baby, including “The Fly” and “Until the End of the World.” Bono then surprised the crowd by reaching back to the late 70s for their first single, “Out of Control” (though the version they performed was actually the arrangement recorded for the album Boy rather than the single itself). The audience’s cell phones then came out again for “With or Without You.”
The final encore featured two more songs from How to Dismantle, including “All Because of You” and “Origin of the Species.” For their final song, they reached back to Unforgettable Fire for a wonderful rendition of “Bad.” Halfway through the song, Bono pulled a young woman from the audience and began to slow dance with her. She tried to say something to her but he put his index finger to his lips and made a “ssh” noise, then danced with her silently as thousands of onlookers wished they were in her place. (Bono’s been doing this during “Bad” for years, but it still remains an effective crowd pleaser.)
As the song ended, Bono alluded to their 1982 song “40″ with its famous mantra, “How long to sing this song?” The band used to end its concerts by having each member leave the stage one at a time while the audience sang the lyric again and again; instead, they reverted back to “Bad” and ended it that way. Once again, the audience began chanting “How long to sing this song?” but the haunting refrain didn’t bring U2 back on stage. Instead, the audience was left singing to itself, thousands in happy unison. -andy
Set List for U2 Concert at the Boston Fleet Center
May 27, 2005
City of Blinding Light (How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb)
Vertigo (How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb)
Elevation (All That You Can’t Leave Behind)
Gloria (October)
The Ocean (Boy)
Beautiful Day (All That You Can’t Leave Behind)
Miracle Drug (How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb)
Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own (How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb)
Love and Peace Or Else (How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb)
Sunday Bloody Sunday (War)
Bullet the Blue Sky (The Joshua Tree)
Running to Stand Still (The Joshua Tree)
Pride (In the Name of Love) (Unforgettable Fire)
Where the Streets Have No Name (The Joshua Tree)
One (Achtung Baby)
First Encore:
The Fly (Achtung Baby)
Until the End of the World (Achtung Baby)
Out of Contol (Boy version, not single version)
With or Without You (The Joshua Tree)
Second Encore:
All Because of You (How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb)
Origin of the Species (How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb)
Bad (Unforgettable Fire)

U2 Vertigo Tour Podcast

Thursday, May 26th, 2005

U2’s Thursday night concert at Boston’s Fleet Center ended a few minutes ago; I recorded two podcasts while there. The first is a report during the Kings of Leon opening set; the second is a snippet of the song Miracle Drug. I’ll post a concert review tomorrow. -andy

U2 Pre-Concert Podcast

Thursday, May 26th, 2005

A short podcast from Boston’s Fleet Center as the Kings of Leon open up for U2 in the final show of their North American tour. -andy

Video Blogging from Dubai Creek

Wednesday, May 25th, 2005

A brief video blog recorded along Dubai’s Creek prior to heading to the airport to fly back to Boston. The video was filmed at a creek-side restaurant in Bur Dubai, while polishing off a pot of mint tea and smoking an apple shisha… -andy

Last Dinner in Dubai

Tuesday, May 24th, 2005

It’s 8pm Dubai and I’m sitting at a charming Creek-side restaurant, the Bayt al Wakeel. I’m finishing off a small pot of mint tea, digesting the shish tawuk and hummus I just had for dinner. The view here is marvelous – as far as I know it’s the only restaurant in Dubai with a view of the busy abra water taxi lanes. It’s still rush hour – as many as a dozen abras, each crammed with people, are in the water at any time. In a few minutes, my last shisha of the trip should arrive at my table.
Sitting here is the perfect way to wrap up my visit to Dubai. In about an hour, I need to go to the hotel, get my bags and head to the airport to begin my 20+ hour trip back to Boston.
I’ll post more later – I had an interesting afternoon visiting the Sharjah Biennial and exploring Dubai’s souks one last time…. -andy

Podcasting from the Empty Quarter

Monday, May 23rd, 2005

Here’s a brief podcast from the Rub al-Khali, or Empty Quarter — the vast desert of endless sand dunes that forms the unmarked border between the UAE and Saudi Arabia. I’m spending the evening riding furiously up and down sand dunes in a vehicle that miraculously avoids flipping over, then having dinner at a Bedouin camp. Can’t wait to post more later. -andy
ps – I wonder if this is the first podcast from the Rub al-Khali?

Photos from the Burj Al-Arab Hotel

Monday, May 23rd, 2005

Here’s a small collection of photos I took a few nights ago at the Burj al-Arab Hotel here in Dubai. Click on any of them to see a larger version. -andy

Burj Lobby

The hotel lobby

title

A vertical panorama of the Burj’s atrium – the highest hotel atrium in the world

woman by the fountain

A woman sits by the mezzanine water fountain

high angle view

High-angle view of the hotel from the entrance.

beach club

The Jumeirah Beach Club, as seen from the Burj al-Arab

Burj at night

The Burj as seen from its ocean causeway

Podcast of My Dubai E-Gov Conference Presentation

Monday, May 23rd, 2005

I’ve just posted a podcast of my E-Government for All presentation at the GCC E-Gov conference in Dubai. You can also take a look at my powerpoint slides. -andy