The community on the water houses some of the nation’s wealthiest people, and expats, too
Banana Island, which is Nigeria’s answer to Paris’s Seventh Arrondissement, San Diego’s La Jolla, New York City’s Tribeca and Tokyo’s Shibuya and Roppongi, is a small man-made island in the Ikoyi neighborhood of Lagos.
Completed in 2000, it’s a billionaires’ paradise populated by the country’s richest and most well-known families, who savor its quiet, peaceful atmosphere far from the clamor and crowds of Lagos, the country’s largest city and financial center.
Its name comes from its distinct shape.
The 1.63-million-square-meter sand-filled island in Lagos Lagoon is a little more than 5 miles east of Tafawa Balewa Square, the commercial and ceremonial heart of Lagos. A dedicated road connects it to a network of roads near Parkview Estate. First Avenue in the north and Second Avenue in the sound merge and run around its perimeter.
As in the rest of the country, real estate prices on Banana Island are based on the value of the land, which according to Roberta Nouboue, managing director of Madingwa Real Estate, is NGN400,000 (US$1,101 per square meter).
Ms. Nouboue said prices for detached houses, which rarely come on the market because there are not many on the island, start at NGN1 billion (US$2.75 million). The most expensive listing now on the market, NGN5 billion, is for a six-bedroom detached house on 2,600 square meters of land, she said.
She added that four-bedroom, single-family terrace/townhouses that are on average 400 square meters and are on 1,000 square meters of land generally range from NGN350 million to NGN500 million.
One current listing, she said, is for NGN750 million. That’s the price for each of the twin townhouses on 600 square meters of land.
The island also has three prominent condo developments: Ocean Parade Towers, Bella Vista Towers and Lakepoint Apartments.
“There are more apartments and terrace houses than detached single-family homes because land is so scarce and land prices are so high,” Ms. Nouboue said. “Most of them are owned by individuals and rented out to tenants who pay NGN25 million to NGN30 million annually.”
She said it’s possible to buy a unit for about NGN363 million “because value has dropped significantly in the last three years with the devaluation of the naira. It’s illegal to market real estate in anything but naira.”
Of the three condo developments, Ocean Parade is considered the most top-notch, she said, because of its many amenities, which include tennis courts, an Olympic-size pool, two gyms and children’s areas.
As originally planned, Banana Island was to be an uber-exclusive enclave of single-family detached estates divided into 535 property plots that ranged from 1,000 to 4,000 square meters. House heights were to be capped at three stories.
The first homes were built on the south side of the island, but as land prices skyrocketed through the years, high-rise condo developments were built on the north side, which also houses the area’s commercial corridor. There are three mixed-use high-rises—the Adunola, the oldest, and Lakepoint Towers and Desiderata, which were built in the last two years.
“The first houses that were built are in British and Dubai traditional styles,” Ms. Nouboue said. “They are very ostentatious and have nice gardens. The newer ones are more modern, with straight angles, and they are less elongated because they are on less land.”
Buyers have a choice of two- to four-bedroom en-suite flats, maisonettes and terrace houses, added Charles Onyenze, an associate at Knight Frank. “Typically, a very large percentage of homes are customized, while a few are large estates accommodating a number of prototype houses,” he said.
Swimming pools, Ms. Nouboue said, are quite popular. And nearly every house has a gym, she added.
Apartment buildings, Mr. Onyenze said, come fully stocked with amenities that include fitted kitchens, walk-in-wardrobes, intercom systems, security surveillance systems and standby generators.
What Makes It Unique
Beauty and seclusion set Banana Island apart.
“Banana Island is a piece of heaven in the middle of noisy Lagos,” said Ms. Nouboue, adding that the island has two parks. “It offers security, tranquility and privacy. To get to the island, you have to pass through a security gate. It’s by invitation only.”
She added that because there is not much car traffic, “you can jog in peace.”
Mr. Onyenze said the island’s security network, good roads, 24/7 street lighting and proximity to the waters of Lagos Lagoon make it special.
It also offers status. “Having a presence in Banana Island is an indication of your societal class,” he said.
Although Banana Island’s main street offers little more than a café, a barbershop and a large supermarket, chic shopping areas and restaurants on Victoria Island are only a 12-minute car ride away.
“Victoria Island is like Manhattan,” Ms. Nouboue said.
Her favorite restaurants include NOK by Alara, which serves new African cuisine; Z Kitchen, which offers succulent steaks; and R.S.V.P., which specializes in international dishes.
“R.S.V.P. is a great place to go on Friday nights,” she said. “It’s elegant, and they invite the biggest DJs in the world. They serve cocktails, and there’s a pool.”
For art, residents head to Ikoyi, which is five minutes away by car. It is home to Arthouse Contemporary, a local auction house; the Wheatbaker hotel, which holds art exhibits and art-related events; and the Nigerian National Museum, which features the best in Nigerian art.
Ikoyi also is a shopping destination. Exclusive shops include the handbag purveyor Zashadu, the high-fashion clothier named for the Nigerian designer Ejiro Amos Tafiri, and the functional/fashionable clothing designs of Grey.
Ms. Nouboue also praised Alara, the Victoria Island shop that celebrates African craft. “It’s a beautiful concept store designed by architect David Adjaye, and it has everything from fashion to furnishings,” she said.
Although Banana Island School, which enrolls boys and girls who are 1 to 5 years old, and Olive Dale Preparatory School, which is a nursery-through-primary school, are the only ones on the island, there are a variety of top-notch schools in Ikoyi.
They include Lagos Preparatory & Secondary School, a co-ed day school for students 18 months old to over 16 years; the British International School, a British curriculum secondary school for students 7 through 13 years old that offers a boarding option; and St. Saviours, a British curriculum school for children up to 6 years of age.
“Most of the schools stop at the primary level because people tend to send their children to boarding schools in the U.K. and the U.S.,” Ms. Nouboue said.
Residents also are attracted to the high-tech infrastructure on the island that’s not available in the rest of the country. Banana Island’s electrical and water systems are underground, there’s a central sewage system and treatment plant as well as street lighting and satellite telecommunications networks.
Who Lives There
In addition to Nigeria’s wealthiest people, Banana Island draws a variety of ex-pats from the United States, Britain, Lebanon, India and France. They work for multinationals as well as the mega mobile-network operator Etisalat Nigeria; Airtel Nigeria, the provider of prepaid, postpaid mobile and 4G services; Ford Foundation Nigeria, a nonprofit whose mission is to advance human welfare; and the law firm of Olaniwun Ajayi & Co., which all have headquarters there.
“A big set of people are tenants in the high-rises,” Ms. Nouboue said. “Most of the owners of single-family homes live here full time, but they also have houses in the U.K. or the U.S..”
The island is ideal for families, she said, adding that the residents are well established and around 45 years old.
Mike Adenuga, the billionaire owner of Globacom, the country’s second largest telecom operator and of the oil exploration firm Conoil, lives on the island, according to Ms. Nouboue and published reports.
So, according to published reports, does Iyabo Obasanjo, daughter of the former president Olusegun Obasanjo; Sayyu Dantata, son of Alhassan Dantata, who, when he died in 1955 was one of the wealthiest men in West Africa; Kola Abiola, the son of the businessman/politician MKO Abiola; identical twins Peter and Paul Okoye, aka P-Square, the Nigerian R&B duo; and Nigerian mega-blogger Linda Ikeji.
When Banana Island was built nearly two decades ago, there was no other luxury spot like it in Nigeria, but it now has competition.
Ms. Nouboue said that Eko Atlantic City, a 10-district, 10-square-kilometer luxury high-rise community being constructed on Victoria Island on land reclaimed from the Atlantic Ocean, has created a sea change in the Banana Island market even though only the first buildings have been completed.
“It looks more like Miami, and the ex-pats are starting to like it more,” she said, adding that the project is due to be completed in about 15 years. “As Banana Island did in the beginning, it restricts the types of homes that can be built. Built on a beach, it has water views and roads like those in the U.S. It has not impacted the prices in Banana Island significantly, though the fact that there are more options in the luxury market has definitely reduced the high and fast increase of prices that we could have noticed a decade ago.”
Ms. Nouboue said that the prices at Eko are higher than those at Banana Island, adding that it’s not unusual for a flat to be listed for NGN1billion.
“Banana Island is all about location,” she said. “It offers easier access to the mainland, and it’s closer to the airport. But the habits of people change. Everyone wants smaller homes because their kids leave and more people are selling their mansions to live in three-bedroom flats, where they don’t have to worry about maintenance and using a generator for electricity.”
Mr. Onyenze remains convinced that the “real estate market looks promising in the future, as there are visible signs of massive development in progress.”
He conceded that prices have dropped about 30%, but said that “the economy will improve. It will not be slowed down in perpetuity.”
He said Banana Island’s exclusivity always will remain attractive to “the highest echelon of the society.”
Mr. Onyenze conceded that prices have dropped about 30% in the last three-and-a-half years because of a combination of factors, including the devaluation of the naira, decreased prices for crude oil, inflation, high interest rates, job cuts and divestment by multinational organizations from the Nigerian economy.
But he said that he’s optimistic that “the economy will improve. It will not be slowed down in perpetuity.”
He pointed to recent reports by the National Bureau of Statistics that indicated that the non-oil sector, which includes construction and real estate, grew by 2.05%, and that the Nigerian recession ended in the fourth quarter of 2017.
Given all these factors, he said Banana Island’s exclusivity always will remain attractive to “the highest echelon of the society.”
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON FEBRUARY 2, 2019 | MANSION GLOBAL
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INCREDIBLE THINGS FOUND ONLY IN THE CITY OF DUBAI
The City of Dubai has a variety of incredible destinations, inventions, and excursions for you to enjoy. Most people across the world desire to visit Incredible Things Found Only in the City of Dubai and experience the lifestyle here as it is a very popular tourist destination
Dubai is located in the United Arab Emirates and is full of history, traditions, and culture. These are some of the most incredible things you can only find in Dubai.
A Pet Lioness
You might have kissed or thought of kissing your dog. On the other hand, kissing a lioness might be weird to you. Even getting near to a lioness might sound scary to you. However, people in Dubai are used to living around lionesses and even having them as pets.
Source: humaidalbuqaish/ Instagram
This man seems to be having a good time with his lioness. They are spending quality time next to a very expensive Ferrari, just kissing and bonding. The pet lioness is enjoying the interaction just as much as your dog enjoys getting pet and played with.
Amongst the cities across the globe, Dubai is well known for its tallest buildings. The skyline of Dubai is incredible. The sky is lined with skyscraper after skyscraper, making for some magnificent views if you visit one of these building’s top floors.
If you think you have seen tall and beautiful buildings, then you need to visit Dubai. The towering skyscrapers are among the leading tourist attractions in the city. At times, you’ll feel as if you are above the sky.
The Ratio of Foreigners to Locals
Dubai has attracted many foreigners to their city. Many immigrants from developing countries travel to Dubai to look for jobs. The city of Dubai offers a wide range of job opportunities for foreigners.
Statistics show that 15% of the people in Dubai comprise locals, while foreigners represent the other 85% of the population. Most of the expatriates are from Sri Lanka and the Indian subcontinent. The foreigners to locals ratio is rather interesting to note and goes to show the unique history associated with Dubai.
Strict Laws in Dubai
In Dubai, you will find some stringent laws that can lead you to problems if you are not careful. Smuggling illegal substances will end you up in jail. In Dubai, kissing, dancing and being intoxicated in public spaces is also illegal.
The city also doesn’t allow sleeveless tops and very short dresses to be worn in public. The Dubai government is stringent in upholding morals and cultural behaviors. Once you get to Dubai, you must behave properly; otherwise, you’ll have some problems.
Dubai Miracle Garden
Did you know Dubai is among the driest cities in the world? The mystery of the miracle garden in Dubai city will give you a different perspective. The Dubai Miracle Garden is the most substantial natural flower garden on the globe.
The Miracle Garden has more than 50 million flowers and 250 million plants. In addition, it offers you beautiful scenery and a world of floral wonder. The Dubai Miracle Garden is a must-see destination and one of the only of its kind in the world.
Playing Tennis 1000 feet above the ground
Dubai city has one of the highest tennis-playing grounds in the world. Imagine playing a match of tennis 1000 feet above the ground. The experience and view on this tennis court must be both incredible and a bit frightening.
This tennis court can be found at the top of the Burj-al-Arab hotel. The tennis ground hosted a friendly match between talented tennis players, Roger Federer and Andre Agassi in 2005. The Burj-al-Arab hotel stands in water on its own artificial island. You need to come and witness this magical court.
There are ATMs That Dispense Gold
Gold ATMs might sound unreal, but the fact is they exist in Dubai. Dubai has some super-rich people in the city. If you’re into walking around the city with gold in your bag, you may find it to be rather heavy and too precious to have out and about.
The gold ATMs have been placed all over the city for easy access. These gold ATMs spit out pure gold nuggets and coins. Emirates Palace Hotel in Dubai was the first to install a permanent gold vending machine in the world.
There Are Artificially Created Islands
Dubai has one of the most creative minds in the world. While flying on an airplane into Dubai, you can get a clear view of some of these manufactured islands from the sky.
The construction of these islands was not a cheap thing at all. Ninety-four million cubic meters of sand had to be moved from the desert and deep sea beds. In addition, there were 5.5 million cubic meters of rock that had to also be moved from different areas. The Palm Islands in Dubai are among the most famous islands.
The Dancing Fountain in Dubai
At Burj Khalifa, some magnificent fountains have been constructed. These fountains dance to both local and international songs. The fountains were created to entertain the tourists who visit the regions. Burj Khalifa fountains cover more than 200 square meters in area.
Source: Kent Tupas/ Unsplash
The Dubai fountain mostly dances to tunes at night, creating a dazzling display of movement and lights in the water. If you visit this fountain, you are bound to be entertained. It’s a beautiful sight that should not be missed.
The Dubai Mall
The Dubai mall is one of the most magnificent buildings in the world. It is the largest shopping mall across the globe, covering over 5.4 million square feet.
The mall is incredible. There is an aquarium inside of it with so many exotic fish and over 300 ocean species in a zoo. The Dubai mall also has two amazing parks on the premises. If you come to Dubai, then this must be on your list to take a day and explore.
Penguins in Dubai City
You might be used to penguins living in the South Pole or maybe at your local zoo. For the most part, penguins live in areas with a cold climate to match South Pole temperatures. Dubai is a desert city; having penguins might sound unbelievable, but it’s the truth.
Source: What’s On Dubai
Dubai city has created a means for these penguins to survive in the region. Artificial snow and cold temperatures are the pillar for this significant milestone in the desert of Dubai.
There is Skiing Despite the Desert
Dubai city has a significant amount of land covered by the desert. However, the people of Dubai often seek out creative solutions. For example, in Dubai, people have created artificial snow for skiing. Snow in the desert might sound crazy, but this ski resort goes beyond one’s expectations.
Source: Viator Travel/ YouTube
You can visit Dubai city and enjoy skiing in natural snow. Snow skiing is among the best family and friends’ attraction sites in the city. So when you visit Dubai, make sure you experience this creativite wintery solution.
People in Dubai love animals. There is a man who enjoys collecting and interacting with endangered species of animals. He is most known for collecting desert turtles all over.
The incredible thing is that once he collects and rescues the desert turtles, he piles them up. The tourist enjoys watching these turtles perfectly stacked on top of one another according to their size.
Robots Participate in Sports
Many people across the world enjoy camel racing. We bet you have heard of people riding and racing camels, but Dubai takes the sport to the next gear. The city has gone as far as to introduce robots to camel racing.
Robots racing on the camel must be quite interesting to watch. The owners are just relaxing safely in the stands watching the race unfold. These robots are super programmed for camel racing. How can a camel racing sport get better than this? Robot camel racing in Dubai is truly exceptional.
Keeping of the Traditions
In Dubai, families have created a culture of coming together. Family bonding has existed for a long time. In the early ages, a father and son could spend their time on camels looking for work.
Due to the change in times and the dynamics brought about by technology, people in Dubai have enhanced more ways of spending time together as a family. Many families now spend leisure time standing up paddling in the Persian Gulf. The Persian Gulf is a wonderful place to create some family memories.
There are Beaches for Families
Many beaches are not suitable and enjoyable for women due to many perverts who gaze at them. The Dubai government has set up distinct beaches in the city just for families. The government has set up policies to scare away any creepers from family beaches.
The policies set out by the government give you time to enjoy the beauty and uniqueness of the beaches without worry.
A City of Givers
The people of Dubai are the most cheerful givers in the world. Individuals who cannot get food are catered for by citizens of Dubai City. If you ever find yourself in Dubai, it’s worth interacting with locals for a friendly experience.
All across the city, there are refrigerators with food at strategic places. The less fortunate do not sleep hungry in this city. Most interestingly, the people who offer to donate don’t do it cheaply; they give good and expensive food they use for their families. Where else can you find lovely souls like this other than in Dubai?
Amazing Birthday Bill
You might not be afraid of splurging on your birthday or your partner’s birthday. After all, how much can one single birthday cost? Well, we think you need to see a Dubai birthday bill. People in Dubai are incredible when it comes to birthdays.
The bill shown here is around $100,00 for a typical birthday. You might take it as too much, but to the people of Dubai it is something they are used to. Plus, birthday cake is mandatory on their bill.
Means of Car Delivery
You are used to cars being delivered by a heavy truck, right? In Dubai, it is rather interesting how cars can be delivered. When you visit Dubai, you may see sights of car deliveries like this one.
Sometimes cars are delivered to the top floors of tall buildings and parked in the lobbies. This excessive method of delivery is seen as a goal by many. Who wouldn’t love having a vehicle personally delivered by means of helicopter? Some people in this city are rich; they engage themselves in lucrative business such as oil. They can thus afford to have luxury cars delivered in this way.
Availability of a 7-Star Hotel
Most cities across the world have established 5-star hotels. Perhaps you might have visited a 5-star location somewhere around the globe. In Dubai, nothing leaves them satisfied, hence they desire to go the extra mile.
The Burj-al-Arab is one of those 7-star hotels in Dubai city. One night at Burj-al-Arab hotel costs $24,000. The Burj-al-Arab has space for parking your helicopter and has a personal butler along with it. The 7-star hotel is on the bucket list of many. Better start saving up now.
Falcons Have Special Seats on Airplanes
Being the national bird in the United Arab Emirates, the Falcon has won people’s hearts all over the country. The Falcon is more notable in the region than any other bird. As a result, the Falcon bird has been allowed to travel on commercial airplanes in reserved seats.
You might be surprised to see these Falcons seated among regular passengers, but that’s just some of the charm the city of Dubai has to offer. You most likely will not encounter falcons on your plane ride to Dubai, but the chance is never zero.
Rooftop Boxing Ring
The world of sports in Dubai city is on another level, literally. This surprising boxing ring has been constructed seemingly in the sky. Did you ever think of watching or playing a boxing match on a rooftop? Dubai has got you covered.
The boxing ring has been built on top of a tall building in Dubai city. This ring has hosted British professionals and Anthony Joshua. How can a boxing match get sweeter than this? Experience is the best teacher, so might as well see it for yourself.
There are Private Concerts in the City
It’s obviously common for celebrities and world stars to perform for crowds in cities. In Dubai, the scenario is different; some rich people hire celebrities to come and perform in their own households.
Sheikh Mansur, a rich man in Dubai city, has hosted Kanye West and Jay Z to perform for him on his birthday. Money can get you a great deal in this city; rich people just want to enjoy life.
Dubai Is Not a Country
Most people in the world fancy that Dubai is a country by itself. However, if you also believe this, that would be incorrect. Dubai is a city within the country of the United Arab Emirates.
Dubai is an Emirate and is joined together with six other emirates to form the United Arab Emirates. The magnificent structures in this city have made it known across the globe as one of the favorite tourist destinations for many. But before you visit, you may want to brush up on your facts.
Languages Used in Dubai
In Dubai, most of the residents are familiar with the Arabic language. However, Arabic has not limited the citizens of Dubai to one language. The rapid growth in the number of tourists in the city has resulted in many learning of English to accommodate tourists.
In Dubai, Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Tamil, Malayalam, Persian, and Mandarin are also spoken. The diversity of languages will make you comfortable no matter where you are visiting from. Accommodating other people and languages is one of the significant boosts to the industry of tourism in Dubai.
Dubai Is Not a Capital City
You must be surprised yet again. Did you think Dubai was the capital city of the United Arab Emirates? You’re not alone. Despite Dubai being the most well known city in the country, it’s not the capital city; the capital city of the United Arab Emirates is Abu Dhabi.
Dubai is the largest city and most populous in the United Arab Emirates. Dubai is also one of the most prosperous cities in the country, contributing thoroughly to the overall development of the country.
The Exotic Cars
People in Dubai have a lot of money which they like to spend on expensive cars. This is because people in Dubai love a luxurious life.
In Dubai, you will find a wide range of sports cars around. Many citizens splurge on their vehicles by purchasing the most costly and luxurious cars in the world. Money in Dubai is spent more freely because the citizens are not taxed on their income.
The Highest Viewing Deck
Have you ever wished to experience the highest observation deck in the world? Then head on over to Dubai city. The public is allowed to access the deck and experience the highest view of the city. This attraction provides visitors with a magnificent view of all the incredible buildings and features Dubai has to offer.
This tallest observation deck is found in the Burj Khalifa. In Burj Khalifa, the super view is at the 124th and 125th stories of the building. Thus, for a view like no other, plan a visit to Burj Khalifa during your stay.
Zero Income Tax on the Citizens
Where else across the globe can you get zero income tax? The Emirate of Dubai does not collect any income tax from its residents. This policy must be incredibly enjoyable for all of the city’s citizens.
The citizens of Dubai city enjoy all their total salary bearing only 5% value-added tax (VAT). This policy has been stretched to all other Emirates in the United Arab Emirates. This enactment is only restricted to foreign banks and oil companies.
Individuals in Burj Khalifa have Longer Fasting Hours
In the month of Ramadan, the people of Dubai following the Islam faith fast from sunrise to sunset. People who live in Burj Khalifa tend to experience longer fasting hours than the rest in the city. The Burj Khalifa is too high above ground level, hence it has longer days than those at ground level.
It might sound mysterious that people in the same building have different hours on the same day. However, this is an experience you’ll need to find out for yourself during your visit.
Crime Rate is Almost at Zero
In Dubai, the crime rates are almost insignificant. In 2018, Dubai was ranked the 8th safest city in the world. So if you are bothered about your safety, then Dubai city is the place to be. In 2018, the total crime rate in Dubai dropped to 33.4 per hundred thousand from 58.6 per hundred thousand in 2017.
The institutions responsible for safety in Dubai city have put malicious people on their toes. The institutions have ensured that significant crimes are not experienced in the city despite minor crime.
Dubai Has the Most Extended Automated Metro System
The metro line in Dubai now accounts for 75 kilometers of area coverage. In addition, the metro line is expanding significantly as the city itself continues to expand. Across the world, Dubai has the most comprehensive metro system.
You might desire to experience the automated metro system, then Dubai will get you covered. The metro line is fully air-conditioned and designed to accommodate the climatic conditions of Dubai city. The trains move at around 95km/h, hence a very reliable means of traveling.
A while ago, Dubai weekends used to start on Thursday and end on Saturday. However, international standards have pushed the United Arab Emirates to push the weekends in Dubai to start on Friday and end on Saturday.
Have you ever thought of going to work on Sunday? In Dubai, Friday is considered a holy day, while Sunday is a typical working day. If you love spending your weekends in recreational areas, Dubai offers you various options. You can visit Dubai and have a fantastic weekend.
The Largest Airport
In Dubai, you will find the largest airport terminal in the world. The Dubai international airport has been transformed gradually from a rough runway in the sand to the world’s most extensive and busy Airport. The Dubai international airport has been in existence for over 50 years now.
Within the Dubai International Airport, there are super services. They offer travel to most of the countries around the world. At Dubai International Airport, you have access to comfortable cabins and five-star suites for sleep if you need time to relax and refresh.
Dubai’s Minister of State for Happiness
The minister of happiness must be an exceptional position. Dubai city has a genuine concern and passion for its citizens. The United Arab Emirates wants to ensure the citizens are happy; hence, it has created a position in the government responsible for citizens’ happiness.
The tremendous responsibility of the minister of happiness in the United Arab Emirates is to harmonize government plans, policies, and programs to ensure they bring happiness to their citizens.
The Gender Ratio in Dubai
In Dubai, there are more men than women. As of the latest demographic statistics, the ratio stands at 2.3 males for every female. The ratio difference is due to large numbers of men migrating to Dubai from all over the world for business.
The high birth rates of males and low birth rates of females in Dubai have also been the cause of this difference in the sex ratio. In addition, jobs in Dubai are majorly male-dominated, hence contributing to the increased imbalance between males and females.
In Dubai, There are No Street Addresses and ZIP Codes
Across the world, Dubai is the most growing city in most respects. This fast growth rate resulted in the government choosing not to have street addresses and zip codes. Instead, the people of Dubai primarily use landmarks, maps drawn by hand, or verbal illustrations for directions.
On the other hand, it might sound challenging to move around without street addresses if you are a visitor, but with time you get used to the system. Addresses are provided only to a few companies and under specific situations.
Citizens in Dubai are Paid to Lose Weight
Being paid is always desirable, right? In Dubai city, you are paid 2 grams of gold for every kilogram you lose in weight. Healthy weight loss is always a good goal, especially in terms of helping citizens become healthier with a payment program.
The government has structured the program to allow only two children per family to be involved in the program. The city spends $700,000 in gold on the locals through this program. Many of you probably wish things could work like this in all parts of the world.
Rising Temperatures in Dubai City
The temperatures in the city can be pretty high sometimes. For example, Dubai sees average temperatures range from 67 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter to 98 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. While in Dubai, you can even encounter temperatures of up to 125 degrees Fahrenheit at the highest.
Most people in Dubai have air-conditioned their houses to maintain sustainable temperatures, while the government has provided air-conditioned shelters for public transport. Generally, Dubai primarily experiences scorching climates as it is surrounded by desert.
This image may look like an image straight from a rich individual’s mansion, but no this is just a public restroom you can find in Dubai.
Just imagining some of the nasty public bathrooms we’ve seen in our day makes us a bit envious that this luxurious public restroom was an option this whole time. Moral of the story: never settle.
Do Not Try This At Home
In Dubai, it’s more common than you may think to see a 4-wheeled SUV driving on two wheels as shown below. Drivers enjoy doing stunts in their cars for the adrenaline rush.
As crazy as this image may look, we just hope they’re trained professionals being safe about it. We advise all out readers to drive responsibility and to not try this at home.
Powerful Emergency Vehicles
When emergencies arise, we want our first responders to get to the scene as quickly as possible. In Dubai, speed is their ultimate goal.
This Lotus Evora has been redesigned as an ambulance. This car has a top speed of up to 186 miles per hour and can accelerate from zero to 60 in around four seconds. While the Lotus Evora is mainly only used for racing, Dubai has recruited the car for emergencies.
We saw earlier in this article someone else enjoying the company of a lion. Here we have a man riding in his car with his pet cheetah. People from Dubai have been known to take in exotic animals like lions, cheetahs and tigers as their personal pets.
While this man doesn’t seem to have any fear of the cheetah, at the end of the day they are still wild animals with their own jungle instincts. It’s best to leave these lions wild and enjoy them from a safe distance.
A Tiger in the Passenger Seat
Similarly to how people of Dubai enjoy domesticating lions, here’s an image of a tiger ever-so casually sitting in the passenger seat. As a car on the road, just imagine seeing this strange and unique sight.
Only in Dubai could you see a scene like this. Again, as exotic cats are wild in nature, we advise to keep your distance from them and not try to keep them as pets. Just imagining a tiger sitting next to someone in an enclosed car is scary enough.
A Pure White Gold Mercedes
This valuable vehicle you likely won’t see out on the road too often. It’s just too precious to introduce to the elements and likely is primarily for show.
This shiny Mercedes is covered in pure white gold. Just imagine seeing this thing on the road, reflecting everything back like a mirror. With the sun at just the right angle it probably blinds other drivers, making it unsafe for the road anyways.
Dubai has quite the reputation when it comes to its cars. From exotic cars, race car ambulances, and a pure white gold Mercedes to this Mercedes covered in diamonds. Aside from the base model of the car being expensive enough, the addition of the diamonds sent the car’s value sky-high.
The vehicle’s owner is Prince Al Waleed bin Talal Alsaud of Saudi Arabian royalty. He decided to bedazzle his ride with 300,000 individual diamonds. This sparkling car cost him 4.8 million dollars!
Diamonds on Everything
Aside from adding diamonds to the exterior of cars, people of Dubai have also seemed to add them to old, outdated cell phones.
While Nokia phones are rarely used these days thanks to the prominence of smartphones, these three above might be worth their weight in, well diamonds. Just look at the price tags!
Animals Living in Luxury
While we’ve seen some of the crazy, interesting, and luxurious ways the people of Dubai live their lives, here’s a look into the luxurious lifestyle of the animals of Dubai.
The indoor stables these horses are kept in seems along the lines of a 5-star resort or a fancy casino. Not gonna lie, but we’re a little bit jealous of these horses right now.
Who Ordered the Uber?
While you may think this exotic car is on its way to a car show or something, you’d be wrong. In fact he’s simply on his way to pick up a passenger as an Uber driver. Yes, this is the type of car you can expect to Uber in when in Dubai.
Riding in this Bugatti Veyron is surely a nicer ride than your typical Toyota Camry or Honda Civic. Even just ordering an Uber to ride around town in an expensive car seems like a fun time. No need to have a destination in mind.
The Weekend is 2.5 Days
Most of us are used to the regular two day weekend: Friday and Saturday. But Dubai enjoys a 2.5 day weekend. It starts at noon on Friday and goes through Sunday. Interestingly, they also don’t abide by the usual 9 to 5 working hours.
Instead, normal working hours are from 7:30 to 3:30 and then 7:30 to 12:00 on Fridays. In the past, Dubai’s weekend was actually on Friday and Saturday instead of Saturday and Sunday. But this has changed so that they are more in line with international work schedules.
20 Years Ago, Dubai was Basically Just Desert
Looking at the incredible architecture of Dubai today, you would never know that it was almost completely desert only 20 years ago. Dubai is known for being an ever-changing city. Every time you visit you will see something new.
Source: travel advisor
They continue to build fascinating architecture and tourist attractions to grow the city’s economy. It all started with a man named Sheikh Rashid, the ruler of Dubai. He was concerned about what would happen to the city when oil ran out so he began to build it into the destination it is today.
Kissing in Public is Illegal
Dubai has some strict rules that are important to familiarize yourself with if you are considering traveling there. PDA is generally frowned upon in the UAE and can even be seen as illegal. You will see couples holding hands but will not see people kissing in public.
Hugging is sometimes seen as inappropriate as well. Dubai is typically less stringent than other parts of the UAE when it comes to these rules, but it’s better to just respect the culture while you’re there. Better safe than sorry!
There are no Personal or Income Taxes
In terms of taxes, Dubai is actually a very fiscally responsible place to live. They do not have personal or income taxes. Essentially, the state won’t tax you on your wages and you’re able to save more money faster.
The entire UAE does not charge individual income taxes; however, they do tax oil companies and foreign banks. Additionally, there are some taxes on specific goods that are particularly harmful to the environment.
At Least 10 New SkyScrapers are Built Everyday
Dubai is well known for having the tallest building in the world: The Burj Khalifa. But they’re not stopping there! They build at least 10 new skyscrapers in Dubai every single year. They built a record-breaking 41 buildings taller than 100 meters in 2007.
They are ranked in the top 5 cities with the largest number of skyscrapers alongside Hong Kong and New York City. It seems that they will continue to grow upwards with their city until they break every record there is!
License Plates Reflect Wealth
Cars are a major statement piece in the city of Dubai. They are used to reflect wealth and status. We’ve seen that even the policemen and Uber drivers share in the enjoyment of luxury vehicles.
License plate numbers are not just a random assortment in Dubai. They actually reflect your wealth. The fewer digits on a plate, the richer you are, and therefore the more sought after the car. For example, someone bought the No. 1 license plate for $14.5 million in 2008!
They Have the Highest Water Consumption in the World
It’s no secret that it gets extremely hot in the UAE. Dubai falls right in the middle of a desert. In the summer months it often reaches temperatures over 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Staying cool at these temperatures is not easy, so people drink lots of water to stay hydrated.
Source: dubai travel planner
The average water consumption per person per day is about 550 liters. This is the highest in the world and almost 80% higher than the global average!
In 1968 There Were Only 13 Cars Registered
To put into perspective what a rapidly growing city Dubai is, there were a mere 13 cars registered in the year 1968. It’s hard to believe that this was the case in recent memory, only 50 years ago.
Source: tires & parts news
Now, there are six lane freeways and incredible cars driving all over the city. In fact, today, there are close to 3 million cars registered in the UAE. That’s a huge leap from just 13! This kind of rapid growth and development is a huge accomplishment that cannot be observed in many other places.
The Palm Jumeirah Can be Seen from Space
The Palm Jumeirah is the largest manmade island and it is so large, in fact, that it can be seen from space! This island is home to luxury villas and private beaches as well as luxury hotels and restaurants.
Source: fans share
Since this is not a naturally occurring island (although it would be awesome if it was) it took tons of dump trucks to carry in the sand that makes up the beautiful beaches. In fact, it took 10.5 million trucks to carry in the sand necessary!
Dubai Holds Over 130 World Records
The city is constantly changing and the people of Dubai work to improve the city each and every year. This has resulted in the city being awarded over 130 Guinness World Records. 3 of which are for the Dubai Miracle Garden.
Source: trip savvy
The Burj Khalifa has more than 11. And it should for being the tallest building in the world! They also hold the record for many other random facts. They have the fastest police car in the world and they hold the record for the most people to parachute from a balloon together.
The Burj Al Arab’s Interior is made of Gold
The Burj Al Arab is the world’s first 7 star hotel. And since it costs $24,000 per night to stay there, it does offer some insane perks. One of which is that about 1,790 square meters of the interior are made of 24-carat gold leaves.
As if the personal butler and private island that it’s located on weren’t luxurious enough, the building itself is made of gold! If you’ve got a couple hundred thousands of dollars hanging around, this might be a good place to take a vacation.
More Than ⅓ of the Burj Khalifa is Uninhabitable
While the Burj Khalifa is one of the most interesting buildings in the world as the tallest building in the world, much of it is actually not fit for living. Only 160 floors of the 830 meter high building are actually habitable.
Source: Guinness world records
The other 29% of the building is actually so thin that it cannot be a realistically livable space. They designed and crafted the building to be one of the most impressive buildings in the world. Livability was not the main concern of the project. Other skyscrapers have some of the same problems as well.
Dubai has the Tallest 4 and 5 star Hotels
The Burj Khalifa is not the only notably tall building in Dubai. In fact, there are many other skyscrapers that are built each year in the city. Dubai is also home to the tallest 4 and 5 star hotels in the world.
Gevora stands at 356 meters tall as the tallest 4 star hotel and the JW Marriott Marquis is 355 meters tall as the tallest 5 star hotel. For perspective, 356 meters is about a quarter of a mile high and this is still a whole 500 meters shorter than the Burj Khalifa.
It Has One of the Most Diverse Populations in the World
About 90% of the population in the entire UAE are expats and immigrants and most of these people live in Dubai. Combine that with the fact that there are about 70% more foreigners to locals and that makes it an incredibly diverse population.
This makes Dubai an incredibly special place to visit or live because there are a mixture of different cultures and religions. It’s a truly global city. You’ll find all different kinds of schools, religious spaces, restaurants, and cultural events.
The Royal Family is very Involved with Society
Unlike many other societies such as the monarchy in England, the royal family in Dubai is actually very involved in society. The ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum is well known for his down-to-earth personality.
He regularly interacts and makes relationships with the people of Dubai, rather than separating himself off with the elite. He is very well-liked because he is basically credited with building the Dubai we know today.
One of the Largest Indoor Entertainment Parks in the World
Dubai is home to the largest indoor themed entertainment destination in the whole world, called IMG Worlds of Adventure. The park is visited by more than 20,000 guests each and every day. The entire park stretches 1.5 million square feet.
Source: Attraction Tickets Direct
You’ll find 17 themed rides based on Cartoon characters and super heroes such as Spiderman. It’s a really popular spot for foreigners to visit if you’re looking for something fun to do!
Dubai is Home to an Enormous Aquarium
The Dubai Aquarium Tank has the capacity to hold 10 million litres of water. This suspended aquarium is one fo the most impressive in the world and it happens to be located right in the Dubai mall.
It is home to the most extensive collection of Sand Tiger Sharks in the world and is home to thousands of other sea-life as well. More than 200 species live in this incredible aquarium.
The Largest Picture Frame in the World
In a long list of “largest items in the world” comes the largest picture frame located in Dubai. The frame is 492 feet tall and has become a hotspot for tourists. It acts as an observatory, museum, and monument all in one.
Source: so where next
We can’t be sure what inspired them to erect this huge frame but we do know Dubai is known for their eagerness to break world records.
The Dubai Dino
If you’re interested in seeing the bones of something that roamed the earth 155 million years ago, Dubai is the place to go. The Dubai Dino is proudly on display on display in the Dubai mall.
What makes this fossil unique is not just the sheer size of the dinosaur, but the fact that almost all of the bones are intact. This is one of the only dinosaur fossils in the world with this many bones intact.
Dubai Pays it’s Citizens to Lose Weight
Dubai has one of the most unique ways to incentive their citizens to lose weight. They will actually pay people when they shed some pounds!
You can be granted a gram of gold for every kilogram (or 2.2 pounds) lost. A gram of gold comes out to about $42. Gold is one way to get people to slim down.
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PRISON WHERE THERE IS NO PUNISHMENT
In Norway’s Bastoy prison, there are no bars, no armed guards — and no escapes. The prisoners, some of whom are murderers and rapists, live in conditions that critics brand ‘cushy’ and ‘luxurious’. Yet it has by far the lowest reoffending rate in Europe
THE BOY ISN’T crying; the tears underneath his eyes are tattoos. He is standing in the snow, tall and broad, not knowing where to go at first. The guards took him from his cell to the ferry, which brought him to this island—without handcuffs. He is now left to his own devices, surrounded by red and yellow wooden houses and a church tower poking through the treetops.
This is supposed to be a prison. But Raymond Olsen doesn’t want to be here in the world’s most liberal prison, on this Norwegian island in Oslofjord, an island so small that it takes less than an hour to walk around its perimeter. Freedom beckons on the opposite shore, where the lights glitter at night like rhinestones. The 2-mile trip by boat to the mainland takes less than 10 minutes.
The warden, Arne Nilsen, wants the men here to live as if they were living in a village, to grow potatoes and compost their garbage, and he wants the guards and the prisoners to respect each other. He doesn’t want bars on the windows, or walls or locked doors.
The inmates on Bastoy have been convicted of crimes such as murder, robbery, drug dealing, fraud, violent crime, and petty theft. Some 115 prisoners live on Bastoy, and those who wish to stay are required to work and integrate into the community. The idea is that the prisoners should have an incentive to stay, and that they are still there when the count is taken—four times a day.
During the group meal, which is served once a day, the inmates in the room include a man with an iPod who stole two paintings by Edvard Munch from a museum—The Scream and Madonna. There is also a boy with dreadlocks who raped two women.
Jorgen Eilertsen, a former drug dealer, towers over them all. The knife and fork he is holding look like dollhouse cutlery in his enormous hands. He chews his food and stares out of the window. He sits alone at the table by choice.
Eilertsen used to keep his weapon on his bedside table when he went to bed. He sold drugs, snorted cocaine, took speed, swallowed pills, and went to techno parties, losing himself in the beat and the swirling lights. Eilertsen used to beat up customers who owed him money, sharpening his reputation in the gang environment. He has spent more than a third of his life in prison.
But now Eilertsen, 41, has a girlfriend who visits three times a week, along with other female visitors. She’s a good girl, not someone from his old world. She brings him chocolate and wears thigh-high boots, and her blonde hair is always freshly washed. The two agree that they want to have four children.
THIS PARADISE HAS been around for 20 years—and has a warden who loves statistics. Only 16 percent of the prisoners in this island jail become repeat offenders in the first two years after leaving Bastoy, as compared with 20 percent for Norway as a whole. The warden also feels vindicated because there has never been a murder or a suicide on the island—and because no one left Bastoy last winter even though the sea ice was frozen solid.
Olsen, the new inmate, is expected to work. He will earn 50 kroner a day. He is expected to get up every morning, cook his own food, and do his own laundry. He doesn’t know how he will manage.
Eilertsen failed when he came to Bastoy the first time, 20 years ago. After being there for two months, he was told to provide a urine sample—with a guard watching. They found traces of drugs, and he was returned to a high-security prison the next morning. Eilertsen didn’t care. “I didn’t want to get mixed up with the people here,” he says. “My fundamental emotion was hate.”
His job on the island now is to build houses. It keeps him busy, and he hardly ever thinks anymore about how he got here—or about the couple he beat up merely because they were there. He went to therapy and tried to understand what it was about breaking rules that appealed to him. He realized that he had enjoyed being hunted down.
This time, he says, he is better prepared for freedom. He learned carpentry on Bastoy, and now he knows how to work with wood and build small houses. He already has a construction job lined up for when he is released.
It is early in the afternoon. Olsen, the new kid, is finished with his work. Now he wants someone to tell him what to do next. He doesn’t want to go back to his room, where there’s a new guy from Poland. He walks through the village, past the school, the library, and the fields, until he reaches the shore where the little ferry docks. Another 90 minutes before it’s time to be counted.
Olsen got his first tattoo at 16, after robbing the warehouse of an electronics superstore, and after that he got another tattoo each time he did something illegal. The last time was just after he had robbed a kiosk. He has so many tattoos by now that the tendrils of black ink reach up to the back of his head.
There is one man here you don’t play around with, you don’t look in the eye, and you don’t approach—that’s what they tell every new inmate.
“Everyone knows who I am,” says Thorstein Hanssen (not his real name), 31. He was the best fighter in the Norwegian chapter of the white-supremacist organization Blood and Honor. The word “Skinhead” is tattooed onto Hanssen’s hands. He plans to have it removed when he leaves Bastoy. It wasn’t done well, he says. His head is shaved, and the only evidence of his red hair is the goatee on his chin.
He is here because he murdered a black boy. “I didn’t stab him, but the others did,” says Hanssen. The boy was still breathing when they left him, he adds.
The newspapers wrote that the skinheads had played white-power music to get themselves in the mood, and that they went out in search of a victim and found one in the parking garage of a shopping center. The victim, the 15-year-old son of a Ghanaian man, was stabbed to death with two different knives. The murder was planned, cowardly, and brutal, the court said. Hanssen, 22 at the time, was sentenced to 18 years in prison.
His neat room is furnished with a desk and a bed covered with flowered sheets, and there are colorful curtains in front of the window, like in all the rooms. Hanssen is studying history and philosophy at the University of Oslo. He takes his exams on the Internet. He still wants to fight, he says, against globalization, for the separation of ethnic groups and cultures, and for a peculiar idea he calls “holistic fascism.” He says that he intends to carry on his fight exclusively with words.
HEAT RADIATES FROM the oven as the smell of fresh bread fills the room. Hanssen has been baking. He insists on using whole-grain flour, sunflower seeds, and yeast. He reaches for a large knife and cuts off two thick slices of bread. “I don’t like knives,” he says.
He was in a high-security prison for nine years and spent one of those years in isolation. His eyes glaze over when he talks about it. He refuses to go into therapy. “I had a happy childhood,” he says with a smile.
Now he lives on Bastoy, together with people from 20 different nations, with Pakistanis, Ethiopians, Indians, and Iranians. “We get along fine,” says Hanssen. “We respect each other.” He applied for the island four times, and he had to fight to be allowed to live there. “It’s a good thing for me that we have prisons like this,” he says.
Hanssen wants to become a social researcher when he is released in a few years. He believes in the uniqueness of his viewpoint, and that his thoughts have to be worth something. He still hopes that society has a need for him. No other inmate on Bastoy can bench-press 308 pounds.
Night falls, and there are only five guards left on the island. The lights of the city of Horten twinkle on the opposite shore.
In Norway, about a third of prisons are open like Bastoy, and parliament has now ruled that there will be more in the future.
Nilsen, the warden, is a psychologist, but he doesn’t like to dissect people’s pasts. His mission is the future. What’s the point of punishment, he wonders, if revenge proves inadequate and prisons merely breed new criminals?
“I’m not a do-gooder,” he says, fixing his interlocutor with his blue-gray eyes. “I’m just an egoist who wants to give meaning to his life.”
He doesn’t see criminals as victims, but as citizens who will return to society one day. “On Bastoy, everyone has to learn to handle his freedom and set his own boundaries,” says Nilsen, “which is what they have to do outside, too.”
Early the next morning, the sun is still behind the trees, but the lights are already on in the buildings. A horse-drawn carriage rolls from the dock into the village. The poplar trees lining the path stretch their lumpy branches into the gray fog.
Hanssen, Eilertsen, and the others plan to break a hole into the ice once it’s thick enough. Hanssen hopes to go swimming in the icy water, for the first time in nine years. He imagines his pale white body sliding into the water, his heart racing, his breathing speeding up.
“It’s all totally surreal,” says Hanssen, blinking with his pale eyelashes.
The 10th anniversary of his murder came around recently. The people on the mainland held candlelight vigils and protested against racism, just as they did 10 years ago, after that bloody winter’s day that embedded itself in the soul of the nation like a barbed hook.
Hanssen took a bus once when he was on day parole. He had wondered whether people would notice him, whether they would point to him or just look away quickly. “No one recognized me,” he says.
He doesn’t want to live in a big city anymore when he gets out. People in the big city don’t relate to each other, he says. He wants to live in a village, like on Bastoy.
Raymond Olsen is sitting on a tree stump in front of the guardhouse. He is smiling. He filled out an application yesterday evening, he says, and they’ll be picking him up soon. He’ll be taken to the mainland on the little ferry and then driven to the prison in Tonsberg, where he’ll be welcomed by a fence topped with barbed wire. There he’ll spend 23 hours a day in his cell, with bars and Plexiglas outside the window.
He won’t have to be his own guard anymore. He’ll eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the prison. He’ll walk around the prison yard for one hour every day. He’ll have to ring a bell when he wants to go to the toilet.
Olsen will feel free.
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WORLD’S BIGGEST RTD AIRPLANES PARK HOUSES ALMOST 4,000 AIRCRAFTS
This is where airplanes go to die.
What happens when an aircraft is no longer needed and its engines are turned off and allowed to cool down for the final time? What comes after that?
Airlines may put retired aircraft in open-air aviation museums, such as the renowned Concorde or the Tupolev Tu-144, but the majority of such aircraft end up in “boneyards” or “graveyards” after they retire. Thousands of aircraft, for example, are kept in vast boneyards, dotting the deserts of the southwest United States.
If you were to drive along South Kolb Road in Tucson, Arizona, you’d notice that the familiar houses soon give way to something much stranger: rows of aircraft, ranging in size from massive cargo lifters to heavy bombers, stretched out all motionless and quiet in the blazing desert sun.
This is the world’s largest aircraft storage and preservation facility called the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (309th AMARG), often known as the Boneyard, which resides within the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.
Arranged over approximately 2,600 acres (10.5 square kilometers), this place is home to almost 4,000 aircraft and 13 aerospace vehicles from the United States Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Navy, Marine Corps, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), according to Airplane Boneyards.
Although it houses various types of planes, the bulk of the preserved aircraft in the Davis-Monthan belong to military aviation.
While some seem to be brand new, others are shrouded in protective covers to keep sand and dust away. Not all jets are fortunate enough to survive retirement in one piece, as within the hangars, some planes have been reduced to boxes of spare parts, ready to be sent out to different locations around the globe to give a hand to other aircraft take to the skies again.
Although Davis-Monthan is not the world’s only aircraft boneyard, it is by far the largest, so you may be thinking why a storage facility of this magnitude is located in Tucson.
There are some reasons for that. First of all, the climatic conditions in Arizona, with its dry heat and low humidity, mean aircraft take longer to rust and degrade, making them less susceptible to corrosion and making it easier to keep them in proper working condition. Moreover, deserts offer a large amount of space for an affordable price, which means those interested in their service save a lot of money.
The geology of the desert with its alkaline soil is also hard enough to prevent aircraft from sinking into the ground. This way, planes can be parked in the desert without costly new parking ramps.
Although the desert is kind of like an aviation retirement home, some of the planes’ flying days are still ahead of them. If a plane is due to fly again, it’s looked after in storage by the facility technicians who make sure all entrances to the aircraft are sealed to keep out dirt, dust, and wildlife. They regularly operate motors and other equipment to ensure that everything is working smoothly.
More planes have been forced to land in graveyards as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic than any other occurrence in recent history. During one of the pandemic peaks in 2020, Victorville, California, which has one of the world’s largest airplane parking lots, was filmed showing closely parked planes.
If you’re interested in actually seeing the long rows of planes that sit in the Arizona heat with their tails stretching to the horizon in person, you’re in luck, because the boneyard can be accessed via a bus tour.
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