The words ‘first, tallest, deepest, most expensive, lavish, outlandish’ could have been created for this city. Where else would you find a seven-star hotel, visit a series of 200 man-made islands in the shape of the countries of the world, or climb the world’s tallest building? Amidst all this modernity, as you head from a swim in the sea or a business meeting to designer boutiques, a round of golf or a top teppanyaki restaurant, the age-old souks still attract those who like to haggle. And yet only a few kilometres into the magnificent desert there are still camels roaming free. There is a vibrant and cosmopolitan air about Dubai, for instance the way the traditional abra boats carry a kaleidoscope of tourists side by side with sari-wrapped Indians and locals sporting spotless dishdashas. Outside of Dubai life is more traditional and moves at a slightly slower pace. As you explore the barren beauty of the mountains, or go about the UAE’s East coast beaches you will find people friendly and willing to chat, even when lacking a common language.