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
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.