The Middle east adventure is over and congratulations to greame McDowell for winning the Saudi international golf tournament. I thought I would break this tournament down into bits so the first is the the tournaments.
All of the tournaments offer a unique view of the best players in the world. There aren't many tournaments that you can have as much access and freedoms with the players than here in the middle east. I also think the players are happy to see western faces and they chat alot more. The courses themselves are all really tough, each one with its own unique problems and issues. The clubhouse in abu Dhabi is a icon and a must see, the location of the course in Dubai makes it a great venue to watch, but the best course is Saudi with greens as hard as Augusta. There is alcohol in the first two events but Saudi at the moment doesn't allow it. The food is the same as you get at all events coffee and local stuff stuck in bread nothing really to sing about, apart from its priced ok. All in all great tournaments with lots of stuff going on.
The middle east, whatever you expect you wrong, whatever image you had its false. Each of these countries is going through various stages of childhood. Saudi is like a newborn about to explode with excitement and full of wonder ! What I say at the Bryan Adams concert ( without alcohol) was a energy I have never witnessed before, I saw a generation who wants to live and enjoy life, but also embrace there history and culture. The city itself is building for generations of futures, and the best part is, its not for westerners. No they are building for there own people to travel live and enjoy what is a massive country. Abu Dhabi is the toddler, they have created some amazing places and things to do. The F1 circuit and Yas island are a must see and do, and there are plenty of malls and beaches. Best af all its still quite quiet compared to Dubai, traffic is also not to bad. Dubai is the teenager, always wanting to show off this place is out of this world. From buildings miles high, to underwater trains. Dubai doesn't understand cant, but it comes at a cost !
The nature of Dubai is becoming a tourist destination like benidorm, atlantis is beautiful but when all you can see is burnt brits it loses its appeal. There are strict rules about drinking in all of the 3 countries, but there are also ways around. I hope this beautiful part of the world doesn't become another benidorm, there is something quite nice about people enjoying themselves with getting pissed. Each country is in its own state of economic stability, with Dubai being the worst for money.
Taxes although little are being introduced and like everything else it will be us the visitor that will pay most.
My final verdict, We have our own beliefs faiths and habits that alot of people would seem silly or strict. If you leave that at home and set out with the attitude that you want to enjoy and explore, then the middle east is a great place to do it. If you like golf then the courses are world class and nightgolf is also a option, all at a reasonable price. The beaches are beautiful and the people themselves are helpfull and respectful. More and more is becoming accessible to western society showing the real middle east. I cant wait to come back.