It's tempting to compare Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, to Las Vegas. Like Vegas, it's a desert city, and one that specializes in a kind of let-the-devil-eat-his-liver extravagance. In truth, the Persian Gulf port is in a league of its own. I mean Vegas may have the Luxor pyramid and le faux Paris
, but that's bush league stuff (not to mention bushwa) next to Dubai's latest offerings: The city boasts the tallest skyscraper, an indoor ski resort
(plus another in the works), an artificial archipelago
and an underwater hotel. What could it possibly lack? Oo, oo, I know: A cocktail lounge made entirely of ice
! So cool!! And soooo wrong! As the International Herald Tribune
The average person in the Emirates puts more demand on the global ecosystem than any other in the world, according to the World Wildlife Fund. In a report issued in October, the WWF said the Emirates' ecological footprint measured 11.9 global hectares per person, compared to 9.6 hectares per person for the United States and a global average of 2.2 hectares a person. The scale measures the amount of land needed to generate resources for one person.
Energy consumption in the Emirates runs high for many reasons, particularly because of the air conditioning that cools houses, malls, cars and public places not only during the furnace-hot summers but in the warm winters.
Now, it's hard to blame someone living in 111 degree heat for wanting to cool off, but below-zero temps seem a little, well, lunatic, no? In their defense, the Emiratis (who are, fortunately, given their enormous footprint, relatively few in number) say the ice lounge is no worse than the typical cold storage facility anywhere else in the Torrid Zone. They might also argue that what they're doing is little different than the traditional winter sauna in Scandinavia. Whatever the arguments, let's just hope it doesn't become a trend and that what happens in Dubai stays in Dubai.