Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Day 14: Dubai

I just got a full night’s sleep, which is great because I have a lot I want to do today! On my way out of the hotel I grabbed a copy of the Emarat Al Youm, Dubai’s most popular newspaper.

I was unable to read much of the Arab written newspaper but I was able to make out enough to discover that there would be a rugby match today. In Dubai, rugby matches are played with seven players on each side, this is unique because the most internationally common form of the sport has 15 players from each team on the field.

The United Arab Emirates have recently joined the IRB Sevens World Series, joining 24 other teams including Samoa, South Africa, England, New Zealand, and Argentina. In 2008, the UAE built a brand new stadium, known as The Sevens, in Dubai and hosted the 2009 Rugby World Cup Sevens. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend a match played here. It was incredible to see this massive stadium that can hold up to 50,000 people! When rugby is not being played, The Sevens is also host to other sports popular in Dubai including, cricket, football, basketball, and netball.

I took a taxi home from the Stadium; I was pretty worn out from cheering all game. The UAE team managed to beat Samoa with a score of 14-12! The whole crowd erupted as the final seconds elapsed.

I noticed that the taxi driver also had a copy of the Emarat Al Youm lying on the dashboard. He spoke broken English but I was curious to know what some of the articles, especially in the politics section read. He explained how much like the United States, each emirate gets a say in legal, political, military, and economic issues. But he also said that the two emirates of Dubai and Abu Dhabi wield a bit more power than the rest because of their good economy and high population. He also informed me that there has been much unrest over the Dubai’s future. Dubai has managed to expand at an incredible rate because of their revenues through petroleum and natural gas. The citizens fear that once they tap their resources dry, that Dubai will collapse when they do not have that revenue coming into the city.

I have finally arrived back at my hotel. Exhausted from another enlightening day, I am very sad to be leaving and heading back to the United States tomorrow.