Monday, December 19, 2005

Dubai Update

Hi everyone!

Sorry for the long break. Keith and Kristin have been very busy the past two days exploring “Dubai Media City.” This is a special area built to bring media companies to Dubai. It seems to have worked! Keith tells me 5 years ago there were only three buildings in Media City. Now there are buildings, even skyscrapers, as far as I can see.

Media City is home to hundreds of TV, radio, Internet, and publishing companies. Kristin says many more want to move to Media City but there is no more space. All of the buildings that are under construction have businesses ready to move in.

I was amazed at Media City. It really is like a mini-city complete with restaurants, banks, and a road system. Here I am with Keith outside of the Media City management office.

Keith and Kristin visited several local radio stations where they produce programming in English, Arabic, Hindu and Urdu. Do you know where they speak Hindu and Urdu? See if you can look it up.

Keith and Kristin also shadowed a presenter for news channel Al Arabiya, which is based in Media City. A presenter is what we call a news "anchor" in America. Al Arabiya is similar to Al Jazeera but Keith and Kristin say the stories are more balanced.

During one of their breaks, Keith and Kristin visited a local shopping mall that is home to more than 300 stores. It is much larger than Northpark Mall in Davenport. It has two food courts, a hotel, and many stores. There were some I recognized including Old Navy, the Gap, and Radio Shack. Kristin was especially excited to see a Tiffany’s store. I wasn’t familiar with it but she told me it is an expensive jewelry store based in New York City. She says a very famous movie was made about the store in New York. Who knew?

The best part of the mall was escalators. In parts of the mall, they didn’t have stairs like they do in America. Instead they were flat moving panels like a ramp. I’ve never seen anything like it. But it makes sense. Some people were using the ramps to move items in a grocery cart.

Keith and Kristin say they will be attending a conference at the hotel for much of the rest of our trip. The conference, co-sponsored by the Stanley Foundation, is about Arab media. Kristin was worried that I might be bored during the conference so she bought me a stuffed camel to keep me company in her room.

Now I have a friend to watch TV with. And there are many things to watch on TV including American shows like Friends and Seinfeld. The hotel also has Cartoon Network so I don’t think I will be bored over the next few days.

That’s all for now.