Wicked places in Middle East
Pearl Qatar is an artificial island build as residential estate for those with a bit extra on the bank account. We are talking manicured green lawns, water fountains and a swanky marina right at the lucky owner's doorstep. The area is Disneyfied to the extend that muzak is playing along the groomed promenade. The fancy shopping arcade contains of course all the luxury brands you can imagine, including a showroom for Rolls-Royce and Maserati. However, ordinary things, like a bottle of water, seem impossible to buy anywhere - but we guess that a housekeeper would normally be in charge of that.
Hunting with falcons is popular in the Arabic Peninsula, particularly in Saudi Arabia. One of the best markets for both falcons and gear is the Falcon Market in Riyadh. Falcons are not cheap and the most expensive can go for SAR 400,000 (more than than $100,000). The falcons in the shops are displayed with hoods on so they sit quietly. The shop owners are nice and welcoming, even for curious window shoppers. There are two locations for the Falcon Market, which are separated by a road. The open-air market, which might be in use or not, and the proper shops, which are located at the ground level in the big parking building across the road. The season for hunting and falcon shopping is the winter months November to February.
From 2003 Raghadan Flagpole (127 m) in Amman (Jordan) was the tallest flagpole in the world. The record lasted until 2010 when the National Flagpole (162 m) in Baku (Azerbaijan) was erected. That record was then overtaken by the Dushanbe Flagpole (165 m) in Tajikistan just 8 months later. That record was furthermore beaten in 2014 by the Jeddah flagpole (170 m), which still is the tallest flagpole to this day.
Syria is a Muslim country and every female is covered from head to toe, literally, when she leaves her home. The surprise is therefore big to find shops, yes whole streets in the souqs (markets), with sexy lingerie. As with any product in the bazaar, the goods are of course fully displayed outside and in the window. We are talking very revealing outfits created by a naughty mind and made out of dental floss strings, sequins and feathers. It's surreal to see such a sexy display being browsed by covered up ladies... but maybe it's their husband who buys.
When you are a rich oil sheik, you can have everything... even snow in the desert. Fitted inside the second biggest mall in Dubai, Mall of the Emirates, is an artificial plastic-fantastic winter wonderland with real snow, ski slopes (including a 400-metre-long run and a black run), snowboard funpark, toboggan runs - yes, even live penguins. The snow park at the base is a bit of a mayhem of kids in all sizes and concerned parents. All equipment, clothes and boots are of course included, and there are even special jackets for those wearing a traditional kandura or abaya. For observers the whole hullabaloo can seems tacky and stupid, but Ski Dubai is very popular and everyone is having a blast.