I just saw some pictures from Dubai where my friend returned from- what a unique city. Its population consists mainly of expatriates, with UAE Nationals (Emiratis) constituting the minority. The vast majority of these expatriates come from the Indian subcontinent and the Philippines. The UAE's population of almost 4 million contains some 1.6 million non-nationals - indeed 50% of the population is South Asian. Four artificial man-made archipelagos, including at least two shaped like palm trees with luxury communities built on top are in construction. The Palm, Jebel Ali Palm, The World and Palm Island will be the world's largest artificial island complexes, developed with villas, golf courses and holiday resorts. The Burj al-Arab is the tallest hotel ever built. It actually stands in the sea on an artificial island 919 feet away from the beach, and has the shape of a giant sail. The top of the hotel is cut off and is used as a helipad. It doesn't have rooms, but rather 202 duplex suites. The smallest one occupies an area of 196 square meters. It has the tallest atrium lobby in the world. The world's tallest building (Burj Dubai) will be completed by 2009. Dubailand, a proposed entertainment complex, is to include the Mall of Arabia, the largest shopping mall in the world. Dubailand is slated to open in 2006. Dubai is diversifying as a hub for service based industries such as IT and finance, with the new Dubai International Financial Centre or DIFC. The government has set up enclaves and freezones for industry specific corporations. Dubai Internet City, now combined with Dubai Media City as part of TECOM (Dubai Technology, Electronic Commerce and Media Free Zone Authority) is one such enclave and houses IT companies such as EMC Corporation, Oracle, Microsoft and IBM, and media organisations such as MBC, CNN, Reuters and AP. The emirate has steady 8% annual economic growth over the past 20 years. It is now reported to be eyeing labor shortages in Ireland and rising wages in Bangladesh as an opportunity to become a new IT hub. Here are some pics: The Burj-al-Arab Hotel The Palm, one of the manmade islands. The Dubai skyline witht he Burj Dubai... click on thumbnail for the pic. It looks like the tower of babel.