Whimsy Takes Many Forms in Dubai

Ants in Dubai (Photo Credit: Michele MacDonald)Giant ants have invaded Dubai and are laying eggs.

That's what it looks like in front of the Dubai International Financial Centre in the city's business district. Huge bronze-colored ant statues battle with one another, dig down into the grass and emerge out of it and surround a queen insect as she lays white eggs, which are cleverly designed stairs so tourists can climb up into the mid-section of the bug.

Apparently, the ants are part of an art exhibit, but the concierge at the nearby Emirates Towers hotel did not know anything about them.

"I have not seen these ants," he said, a remark that seemed implausible due to their size and positioning. Then, he suggested that they might be connected to the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I), although he had no explanation of why ants would represent the world's richest single day of racing.

Regardless, the ants do seem to fit in Dubai, one of the world's most bustling cities with constant hum of construction and where anything whimsical and unusual is not only possible, it is the norm. Painted statues of camels and falcons have swept through the city, much as the artistically decorated horses did Lexington some years ago. Statues of flamingoes also have been placed near a sanctuary for the leggy pink birds.

Other marvels abound, including the man-made islands shaped like palm trees that will be home to villas, shopping and hotels and which can be seen from space.

Now under construction is the difficult to fathom project called DubaiLand, a grouping of theme parks that will include Restless Planet, devoted to animated dinosaurs; Beauty Land, a fashion-oriented district for women; Tiger Woods Dubai, which will be part of Golf City, a complex of five courses; Falcon City of Wonder, which will include a bigger version of France's iconic Eiffel Tower; a Six Flags theme park; a Formula One auto racing theme park, and Dubai Outlet City for die-hard shoppers.

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