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   I have not been to Sharjah. I have been to Dubai and Abu Dhabi. In fact, my ticket was through Abu Dhabi, (April 22, 1998)

In fact, my ticket was through Abu Dhabi, so both entry and exit were through there. Early morning, I emerged into an air-terminal that looked like the inside of an egg shell. Friends, who had come to meet me, passed me some money to buy them a lottery ticket for a car. Early morning, I emerged into an air-terminal that looked like the inside of an egg shell. Friends, who had come to meet me, passed me some money to buy them a lottery ticket for a car. Only passengers can participate in the lottery.Outside, they showed me the private airport of the Sheikh. This is real class, people have their private planes, but a private airport! This is the Sheikh of Abu Dhabi.The United Arab Emirates comprise several Sheikhdoms and each one has a Sheikh. Since each Sheikh has enough money and more, they all live in happy harmony and peace. They also spend a lot of money on their states, I could see it. The roads had carpet smoothness, there were trees on the sides, geometrically grown, and the seafront, along which we passed, was developed with granite walks and gazebos for people to promenade and take the air.Abu Dhabi looked like a well built and well run city.

There was a large stretch of desert between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and a multi-laned highway ran through it, as straight as an arrow, and lights along the highway.However, since the time was high noon, the lights were not on. We stopped somewhere in the middle of the long stretch to step out of the air-conditioned car and experience the heat and dust of the desert. The land was flat and stretched to infinity, in the nearer distance, there were camels grazing like cattle. Occasionally, a camel train passed us. Then I really felt I had travelled to Arabia. We hit Dubai like if you were to get into a train and hit Bandra. It was that fast. The skyline was impressive, Hafeez Contractor could have dreamt it up. I spent two days in Dubai, but I cannot place a finger on the place.

Is it a modern European city in an Arab setting, or an Arab city in a modern European setting? There were several shopping malls selling goods of every possible international label. But there were hardly any shoppers, and when I saw the scarved Arab women in the streets, I wondered who these malls were meant to cater to. And there was horse racing, but I was told there was no betting. Citizens were invited to go to the beautiful floodlit racecourse and cheer Al Makhtoum's fine pedigreed horses, which he otherwise ran in England.There was a lot of excellent food, all varieties and all styles. But again I wondered, who ate it. Not the locals, and not the Indians. There were also a lot of Indians. The good thing about them was that most of them were from Kerala.

 
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