2014 Take off


My 2014 officially and literally took off.

January 1 is always a day of firsts. For most, the first hangover of the year (after last night’s merry making). Merely a few hours after the New Year, I don my sky girl hat and wore the mandatory bloody red lipstick. This is not a first. It has been routine for the past 6 years. The flight is not a first either (been there, done that 22 times)!

As I sat buckled and daydreaming on my jumpseat, I wonder what “firsts” 2014 has in store for me. Slowly from the corner of my eye, one of my firsts reveal itself to me. The takeoff view that has eluded me for years finally graced my eyes — The Palm.

The Palm Islands (Jumeirah and Jebel Ali) are two man made islands in the shape of a palm tree hence the name. The island is composed of a trunk, 16 fronds and a surrounding crescent island which serves as its breakwater.

The creation of this ambitious and expensive project started in 2001. The firstborn was the Palm Jumeirah and a year later Palm Jebel Ali. Both have the same structure but with the younger Palm being 50% bigger than its sibling. It is said that the Palm’s construction was conceived by Dubai’s Crown Prince as a means of generating revenue thru tourism as the gulf’s oil reserve is getting depleted.

Now, home to luxury hotels, restaurants, spas, villas, high end residential flats and a water themed park draw tourists and investors alike. Tourism has replaced oil as its lifeline.

The Palm Islands is built with a cost. Not just monetary but more so environmentally. The marine life took a direct hit because of the quarrying and reclamation project. Due to its artificiality, several factors may limit its existence such as natural destruction like erosion caused by winds, waves and even earthquake as the gulf area is prone to this.

Old folks from back home said that eventually the sea would take back what was taken from them. It might happen one day but in the meantime the Palm Islands is for us to admire and enjoy. Next time you fly in or out of Dubai, I wish you get the chance to see the aerial view. It is B E A U T I F U L 🙂


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