Friday, Oct. 10, 2008

7. Man-Made Islands

The most audacious of all of Dubai's megaprojects is the collection of reclaimed islands just offshore. First came the palm-tree shaped Palm Jumeirah, which the city bills as the eighth wonder of the world. And there are two more islands, Jebel Ali and Deira, in varying stages of development. In an outlandish stroke, Jebel Ali will feature a breakwater that spells out a line of poetry by Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum ("It takes a man of vision to write on water"). Last, but certainly not least, is The World, an archipelago of islands that forms a world map in miniature; the islands are for sale, so if you can afford it, you can buy a "country" for yourself.

Unless you're one of the few who bought property on early on, you'll have to wait for hotels to open in 2009 to set foot on the reclaimed land. In the meantime your best views are by boat. A number of companies can get you out into the Gulf: Try Dusail, Bristol Marine or Art Marine, all of which offer stately yachts, motor boats and speed boats. It's not often that you can claim to have sailed around the entire World in an afternoon.