. . . AROUND THE WORLD 2001/02
Africa 1999
Around-the-World 2001/02

The Team

Jeff Willner
1. Start: Recipe for Adventure
2. Zimbabwe: Hyperinflation
3. Namibia: Southern Circuit
4. South Africa: Circuit 2
5. Zambia/Malawi: Sketches
7. Kenya: Bandit Country
8. Ethiopia: Diary
9. Ethiopia: Border Run
10. Sudan: Across the Sahara
11. Egypt: Cape to Cairo
12. Jordan/Syria: Sept. 11th
13. Turkey: Hospitality
14. Bulgaria/Romania/ Hungary
15. Slovakia/Austria/Poland
16. The Baltics & Russia
17. Scandinavia
18. Western Europe
19. Brazil: Clearning Customs
20. Argentina: Revolution
21. Argentina: To Ushuaia
22. Patagonia Disaster
23. Buenos Aires Beautiful
24. Uruguay: Beaches
25. Chile: Expedition Life
26. Bolivia: Atacama
27. Peru: Transit
28. Galapagos: Gorgeous
29. Ecuador: Jungle Run
30. Knifepoint
31. Dubai: Lay over
32. Singapore/Malaysia
33. Thailand: Hospitality
34. Cambodia: Ankor Wat
35. Vietnam: Hanoi & Halong
36. Laos: Back to Basics
37. China: Beijing Tour
38. China: Shanxi
39. China: Western Province
40. China: Tibet
41: Nepal: Mountains
42. India: Driving Struggle
43. Pakistan: Dodging War
44. Iran: Overcharging
45. End: One Last Laugh

Sally DeFina
1. Cape Town: Robben Island
2. Zanzibar: Mike & I
3. Kenya: African Driving School
4. Sudan: Mud Crossing
5. Patagonia: Goodbye Max
6. Malaysia: Mike Update
7. Thailand: Ko Phangan
8. Cambodia: Phnom Penh
9. Vietnam: By Train
10. Laos: Vang Vieng
11. China: Meet Mr. Chen

Jody Finver
1. Start: Surreal Solipse
2. Great Zimbabwe
3. Brokedown in Kenyan Desert
4. Egypt: So Should I Hyphenate
5. Poland: Home is Where the Truck Is

Gulin Akoz
1. Start: Bits and Pieces
2. Zambia: Diaries
3. Egypt: Africa Memories
4. Turkey: For Your Information
5. The Team and The Bean
6. Somebody Else's Child
7. On My Own
8. Long Lost Memories of Childhood
9. The Tree and the Boy
10. Jealous
11. The Aftermath


Panamerican 2003
Various Trips
Planning an Expedition


Kensington Tours can help you plan your own expedition anywhere in the world.




#31 - Dubai
Jeff Willner - 15 March 2002

(Dubai, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES) . On the way from Africa to SE Asia I had the chance to visit Dubai for a day. Friday is a day of rest in the Arabic world so the city was quiet when I walked though. Though later I would find out that the tiny state is gripped in a worrisome economic slump. That would explain the half completed office towers and 'For Let' signs in many windows.

Dubai is a blend of modern and primitive, striving to be a sleek outpost in the midst of the desert. To be honest I expected more, a more extensive old marketplace, an array of shiny skyscrapers, more touristy things to do. But my boatman on Dubai Creek explained, "This is a new city you understand? Nothing here a hundred years ago except few huts. Damascus, yes. Baghdad, yes - old cities. Dubai no. Old is 1970's cement office building." I did some research on the city and this is what Encarta has to say...

'Dubai is the capital of the emirate of Dubai, on Dubai Creek. Recent archaeological research indicates the presence of a scattered trading culture in the early 3rd millennium BC in what is now the UAE. The small trading states that emerged along the Persian Gulf coast were later overwhelmed by Persian empires.the Achaemenid Empire from the 6th to the 4th centuries BC and the Sassanian Empire from the 3rd to the 7th centuries AD. These empires took over and controlled the extensive maritime trade that the small states had already carried as far as China. In the early centuries AD Arab tribes flocked to the region, first along the southern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, then from the north, helping to make it receptive to the religion of Islam before the death of the prophet Muhammad in 632.

Trade with India and China expanded in the early Islamic period, with Julfar in present-day Ra.s al Khaymah as one of the leading ports. European intervention in the gulf began with the Portuguese in the early 16th century. From the mid-17th century the British and Dutch competed for domination, with Britain the winner in the late 18th century.

By about 1800 the Qawasim, the ruling clans of Ash Shariqah and Ra.s al Khaymah today, had become a maritime power in the lower gulf, attacking ships from British-ruled India. The British defeated the Qawasim navy in 1819 and in 1820 imposed the first of several treaties that created and sustained a maritime truce, giving the name Trucial States to the states that now form the UAE.

By 1892 the British had assumed responsibility for the states. foreign relations and external security and they remained under British protection until 1971. The British, who were principally concerned with the security of Persian Gulf maritime commerce, rarely intervened in their internal affairs. The most significant results of British domination of the area were the establishment of general peace, the introduction of the Western concept of territorial states, and the creation in 1952 of the Trucial States Council to promote cooperation among the seven rulers. The council provided the basis for the Supreme Federal Council of the UAE.

At its birth on December 2, 1971, the UAE faced challenges that caused many to predict that the new federation would fail. There were border disputes with Saudi Arabia and Oman, rivalries among the emirates were strong, and Iran seized the island of Abu Musa, Tunb al Kubra (Greater Tunb), and Tunb as Sughra (Lesser Tunb) in the Persian Gulf, all of which had been claimed by the UAE. Threats to regional stability since then have included the 1979 Iranian Islamic Revolution, the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988), and Iraq.s invasion of Kuwait in 1990. The UAE has survived these dangers and prospered largely because its president, Sheikh Zayed, has used the oil wealth of his emirate, Abu Dhabi, to the benefit of all Emiris as well as to promote the UAE.s security in the international arena.'

The leaders of this city state have a limited supply of oil, in fact their reserves are almost finished, and so they are determined to create a city-state in Singapore fashion where multi-national corporations can place their Middle East headquarters and local high tech firms can thrive. But the massive infrastructure investments have yielded precious little return and unemployment is high. Some blame excessive taxes, others the lack of a well trained indigenous workforce. Whatever the reason, a growing number of jobless people wander the street aimlessly. As I strolled down the Dubai Creek embankment a fisherman hooked a nice-sized fish, pulled it in and let it flap on the pavement as he re-baited his hook. With nothing better to do, a crowd wandered in to stare at the fish, a few commented to friends but most just idly stood and watched the death throes. Wondering perhaps whether their futures would be as bleak.


Copyright January 1999-2011
All rights reserved - Jeff Willner
Contact: jeffwillner@yahoo.com