My wife Michelle and I recently spent about a week in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.). It is beautiful and modern. It is traditional and old. It is complicated.
The biggest cities in U.A.E are Dubai and the Capitol of Abu Dhabi. We spent half of our time in each city.
GALLERY: John Mercure's journey to Dubai
Dubai has the biggest and best. We went to the top of the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. We were also in the world's largest mall and saw the world's biggest fountain. A different mall has an indoor ski hill. There are Ferraris and Lamborghinis at almost every intersection.
Now contrast that with a society that still finds rural men leading herds of camels in the desert and women clothed in head to toe Burkas. It is a culture that is old and traditional. When Michelle and I went into the world famous Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi, she had to cover her head with a scarf and cover her ankles and wrists with long sleeves. And all of that while it was 105 degrees outside.
We spent one afternoon in the Arabian Desert, There were red sand dunes as far as we could see. We went "Dune Bashing" riding in 4 X 4s up and down the dunes. We had a desert BBQ, were entertained by an Emirate belly dancer and rode a camel.
The United Arab Emirates is new and sophisticated, It is ancient and historic. It is complicated.