Monday, June 14, 2010

Khalid Al Walid in Dubai_Nov 08

This was actually Part 2 of my due diligence on the same company owned by a wealthy Arab businessman that we had performed in Newcastle but has another factory in Dubai, UAE.

From London, we flew with 777 Emirates landed at Terminal 3 Dubai International Airport, a brand new airport dedicated exclusively to Dubai National Airline, Emirates. This airport has 5 gates capable of handling the Giant Airbus A380 airliner and is the 6th busiest airport in the world handling international passenger.

Dubai Terminal 3 Luxury airport

Dubai International Airport, newly built, very elegant, warm and comfortable. You can feel the luxurious of the environment inside the airport.

We took a free limo courtesy of Emirates Air lines to our hotel, a beautiful four-star hotel which overlooks Khalid Al Walid Street.

Khalid Al Walid Street

Khalid Al Walid aka “Sword Of God”. He was the General of the Rashidun Army during the era of Muslims conquer the world of the 7th century. He was a legend, a warrior, a fighter and a Muslim hero. Actually before he was converted to Islam he lead the tribe of Quraish to defeat Islam in the Battle of Uhud, where theMuslim was defeated. Khalid was converted to Islam after Perjanjian Hudaibiyah. Khalid Al Walid was undefeated in over a hundred battles – against Roman Empire, Persian Empire and their allies which was one of his greatest achievement.

After the era of Abu Bakar As Siddiq then come Umar Al Khattab. Umar's first move was to relieve Khalid from commanding the army and appointed Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah as the new commander in chief of the Islamic army. Umar explained that he had not dismissed Khalid because of his anger or because of any dishonesty on his part, but because people glorified him and were misled. He feared that people would rely on him. He wanted them to know that it is Allah who does all things; and there should be no mischief in the land.” OMG this one of the toughest executive decision Umar Al Khattab has to make and only who has the faith and guts was able to make such decision.

Khalid died and was buried in 642 in Syria. He had wanted to die a martyr in the field of battle, and was apparently disappointed when he knew that he would die in bed. Khalid put all the torment of his soul into one last, anguished sentence:

“I fought in so many battles seeking martyrdom that there is no place in my body but have a stabbing mark by a spear , a sword or a dagger, and yet here I am, dying on my bed like an old camel dies. May the eyes of the cowards never sleep”

Al Fatihah to Khalid Al Walid

Ok back to present, the hotel room – elegant, well decorated and full of comfort and perfect place for regenerate from the hot city and the fatigue of travel. We spent the next whole day to carry out our due diligence process

Dubai the name that usually appears in Discovery or National Geographic Channel for being the largest and biggest in the world. It is now the largest construction site in the world, the biggest no of overhead cranes, the highest building in the world, the largest indoor ski, the largest mall in the world, the largest aquarium in the world and soon the biggest theme park in the world and more attraction are coming.

First look of Dubai – it’s a Toyota Land, Lexus taxis were driven mostly by the Indians or Pakistanis. In fact 80% of UAE or majority is expatriates who stay in Dubai and other count. Another 20% is the Arabs who stay lavishly in Abu Dhabi. I can say the last time I met the Arab was at the Dubai airport, after that was like being in the modern city of Mumbai.

Air conditioner bus stop

On the way to our Hotel we passed through Dubai Mall, the World Largest Mall. How big is big? It is equivalent to 50 football field and it has the biggest Indoor Ski in the world and the biggest aquarium (including whale shark). Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to check it out since we decided to snap photo of Burj Al Dubai before it’s getting dark.

We dropped by at Souk Madinat Jumeirah. Souk is like bazaar. The souk provide authentic Arabian atmosphere in which open fronted shops and intimate galleries. It consists of boutique shops, waterfront caf├ęs, bars and restaurants. This reminds me of the Ali Baba and 40 thieves and 1001 nights tale

Souk Madinat Jumeirat

Sindbad the sailor

Assorted dates ,almond , kismis and Turkish Delight

Of course you don’t expect a woman wearing jubah with face covered actually being the sales girl. They are either Philippines, Indonesian or Indian, mostly Philippines

This Souk is the nearest spot to take photo Burj Al Arab, the famous 7-star hotel
Burj Al Arab hotel - view from Souk Al Madinah..

We were informed that the hotel is running at lost. Well not many people can afford to pay USD2K per night. However they have to maintain it since it is the icon of Dubai.

The souk is just a stone throw from the adjacent hotels, Mina A' Salam, Al Qasr and Dar Al Masyaf together comprise 867 guest rooms and suites belongs to Jumeirah Resort.It is a luxurious oasis link by water ways it is like Venice in the desert with 1 km of private beach which connects with neighboring Burj Al Arab, Jumeirah Beach Hotel and Wild Wadi Water Park they also provide water taxis 3.7 km which transport guests from their rooms to the restaurants and beach.

Burj Dubai (Dubai Tower") which is a supertall skyscraper under construction in the Business Bay district of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and currently is the world tallest man-made structure ever built, despite being incomplete.

So who build this tallest building in the world? The primary builders are Samsung Engineering & Construction and Besix along with Arabtec. Yes the same Samsung E&C who was the main contractor on the west tower of the Petronas Towers. The thing is there is there any famous high skycrapper in Korea? When it is completed it will be like 818 m height with 160 floors. OK now let us compare with Taipei 101 and Petronas
Burj Dubai – 818 m – 160 floors - US 4.1 billion
Taipei 101 - 509.2 m - 101 floors – US 1.76 billion
Petronas Twin Tower – 452 m - 88 floors

Another super dooper project here is the Palm Jumeira, The World , which they have to build from the reclaimed land in the Gulf ! and alter the world map. The scale of these projects is tremendous. Each has over 5,000 new residential houses and apartments. If you plan to have neighbor like David Beckham, you can rent a house/apartment there. How much? Around AED 30K per week, about RM120K per month …

Palm Jumeira, an artificial island created using land reclamation. Dubai Sheikh declared it as 'Eighth Wonder of the World'. Among the famous hotel that will be there is You are fired ! What else ? Trump International Hotel and Atlantis Palm.

Despite all the amazing stories, Dubai still has it's issues though, road traffic being one of the biggest ones. I think that is caused by the fact that the city's population is growing quicker than the surrounding infrastructure. They have the largest shopping mall, biggest aquarium, biggest indoor ski, largest theme park and the tallest building in the world, what’s next?

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