In Abu Dhabi, Christmas comes decked with gold
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Last Updated: Thursday, December 16, 2010, 18:50
Abu Dhabi: When they deck the halls in opulent Abu Dhabi, it comes with gold ornaments and gem-studded bows on a towering Christmas tree.

The USD 11 million symbol of the season is the latest extravagance at the Emirates Palace hotel, which boasts its own marina, heliport and a vending machine that pops out small gold bars.

The hotel's general manager, Hans Olbertz, is quoted in local newspapers today as saying the 43-foot (13-meter) tree has 131 ornaments that include gold and precious stones.

Christmas spirit is not rare in the officially Muslim United Arab Emirates with its huge foreign population and malls full of carolers and Santas.

But not everyone's jolly. Some Emirati officials worry about threats to Gulf culture from the Western wave.


First Published: Thursday, December 16, 2010, 18:50

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