17 March 2004

Local Vegetation (or lack of)

It would be normal to assume that since this is an arid climate, not a lot grows here - not so.

Before we had seen Dubai we had heard it would be very hot and so expected to see little plant life. What we didn't realise was that a display of plants totally unsuited to the local soil and weather is a sign of wealth and status. Therefore the richest areas of Dubai are planted with the lushest lawns and the most colourful flowers. There is an almost complete absence of local plant life along the city roads and around buildings. We haven't been to any parks yet, but suspect that apart from the structural use of palm trees to form avenues there is little local vegetation there as well.

Of course, in order to keep these tender plants going a lot ( a LOT) of water is required. All flower beds are lined with length of water hose feeding a constant trickle to the roots, and lawns have sprinklers set to come on at dusk. This explains why UAE came almost last in a recent survey of ecological sustainability. Water desalination here is a by-product of aluminium processing, but there are still occasional outages in some area.

The upside is that Fiver gets to walk barefoot on the lawn along the road, a blissful feeling of freshness.

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