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Drinking and eating gold at Dubai’s ‘seven-star’ hotel
Burj Al Arab’s engineering director explains how gold is used across more than 2,000 square meters of the hotel. We also look at how gold can be an investment, an accessory and even a bridal dowry.
Gold has long been used in a wide variety of industries – from dentistry and medical fields to digital technology and even in the coatings of space crafts.
However, the world’s only supposed ’7-star hotel’ presents the shiny metal in a much more dazzling and exuberant manner.
Guests at Burj Al Arab bask in a golden hue from the second they step through its doors – and duplex suites in the property can cost up to $19,000 a night.
It’s opulent interior prominently features 24-karat gold, imported from France and Spain, covering more than 2,000 square metres of surface space.
Mounir Lakkis, the hotel’s director of engineering explains that gold is present in every five square meters of the 56-storey building.
“It could be in the chair, it could be in the frame, could be in the ceiling, it’s everywhere”, he explains.
For Lakkis, a flourishing artist, gold is a precious metal that’s close to his heart:
“For me personally, the gold is, I can see my shadow in it, “ he says.
“It can take my soul with it. You know it’s warm, it’s like I feel strong when I work with the gold. Especially when it is just a thin paper or leaves something like that. You feel that you are playing with something very valuable.”
Gold as an interior design embellishment is evidently costly. Should a single one of the hotel’s dining room chairs becomes damaged, for example, then the entire set of seats will need regilding.
“The reason of that is the colour [of gold] looks different with oxidation,” says Lakkis.
The ballroom regularly hosts lavish events and guests who hire it are often keen to match their menus to their luxurious surroundings.
Lakkis recalls that a guest once requested the six tiers of their wedding cake be covered in gold.
On a daily basis, the establishment also serves gold dust cappuccinos, 24-carat gold-topped cakes and drinks infused with liquid gold, gold pearlescence and golden sugar cubes.
The golden consumables are a definite hit with guests, according to Sudheera Fernando. The senior mixologist at Burj Al Arab says that the vast majority of the 200 cocktails he makes in a single day include a gold element.
Going for gold: to buy or not to buy?
Whilst some people might prefer to sprinkle gold on their coffee, others would rather use the metal to bolster their savings. And in times of financial uncertainty, ploughing money into the commodity is best practice amongst shrewd investors.
According to respected gold consultant Jeff Rhodes, gold remains the best “safe haven” around. He explains that the commodity has been the standard measure of value for more than 5,000 years.
Rhodes states that the metal’s value has increased 400 percent since the early 2000’s and he predicts that prices will head north of $1,500 this year.
The specialist suggests that if people set aside just 10 percent of their monthly earnings to buy gold, then they’ll reap the rewards in a matter of decades.
“Gold is not an investment, it’s a savings product – always remember that.” says Rhodes, “And when you get paid at the end of each month, put some of that into gold – a small amount and you’ll be happy. In twenty or thirty years’ time, trust me, that gold will be worth a lot more than it is today.”
Middle Eastern gold jewellery trends
Gold financial products aside, the acquiring of gold jewellery is particularly strong in the cultures of the Middle East.
And whilst Indian nationals are the largest consumers of gold worldwide, Dubai stands out as the largest international importer of finished gold jewellery.
In the year ahead, gold jewellery designs will continue to keep pace with trends that have emerged in New York and London, according to the Chairman of Dubai Gold and Jewellery Group, Tawhid Abdullah.
Despite white gold’s popularity in recent years, the veteran gold trader believes that the pure yellow metal has come full circle to resume its place as the number one choice for shoppers.
“The yellow gold is back to be the big hero of the situation and I personally believe that over thousands of years it’s always been the best and it’s back to look so.” he says, “Yellow gold, sunshine, coloured stones and mother of pearl in different colours – they are back strong.”
For centuries, it has been customary to buy gold for wedding celebrations in the Middle East and North Africa. Gifts of the precious metal can weigh as much as three kilograms, according to a Reuters report.
This tradition is still going strong, with Arab millennials requesting bridal jewellery sets in yellow, rose and white gold tones – and with plenty of embellishments.
Emirati designer Fatema Al Daheri created the brand Ruwaya Jewellery three years ago and she caters to the UAE’s affluent wedding segment. General Manager, Jamil Dimachkie, explains that their gold-loving clients are mostly globe-trotting professionals whose tastes are inevitably influenced by their travels and the latest trends on social media.
TeboPost ahead of the elites’ rendez vous: My journey to Ediki, Ikiliwindi, konye…. Anglophone crisis through the eyes of the ordinary Anglophones
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In my exclusive journey to six villages of South West regions over the week end to talk to the people heads of the planned peace meeting by government deployed elites, the experience was so wonderful, the stories so touching and tearful but the vision strikingly similar for a people in different areas, involve in different economic activities but fueled by same goal.
The 1st October 2017 no doubt will go down in history as one of the most significant day. It marked one of the bloodiest day in 21st century Anglophone Cameroon as the reunification of the two Cameroons in 1961 was celebrated in Yaoundé by lawmakers after an urgent and quick invitation by Marcel and Cavaye in a unprecedented show of unity and celebration of an undenied history
After witnessing and hearing the stories of the people of major towns in the regions, I took to Ekona, Mbanga, Konye, Ikiliwindi passing through Ediki to talk and listen to the ordinary farmers, hear from victims and hear the way forward from the ordinary man whose opinion most at times is neglected
Apart of the people who regrettably lost their lives during the protests in these villages, the population still remains defiant, vowing to move all the way as everyone seem to have an idea of the problem and an overwhelming knowledge of the way forward
As I talked to ordinary people, many decry what they called government massive crackdown, many of them told me they were brutalized by the police forces despite carrying peace plants and some said their relatives were removed from their homes and taken and are yet to be found
I ask one person why gout when the governor has issued a banned on public meetings and the whole region militarize, he told me” we were told that UN is in Buea and we all wanted to be part of the history to have our independence” as he demonstrates being immersed in a massive propaganda campaign on social media, fuelled by secessionist lies which has pushed so many to lost their lives
One woman in Kumba told me “my husband was arrested by gendarmes after they entered our house, shot him and the bullet did not kill him, they accuse him (a traditional doctor) of making bullet proof charms to Kumba boys and he was whisked away”
“I have visited the waiting trial several times with food, each time they ask me to taste the food and I did and then they ask me to go that they will give him the food but I am yet to see him, I don’t know if he is alive” she told me as she moves to tears in a torching and heartbroken story as their kids stir at me as watch their mother heart broken
The lady’s story is similar to many other women who have lost love ones during the protests either through bullet wounds or through imprisonment
And as I drove down to the other villages, the stories were similar, that of horror, arbitrary arrests and detention of civilian as government struggles to contained an increasingly radicalized people of Anglophones
Never before in the history of Cameroon has so many been so (mis)informed about their history or about their future
As I take with one Mr Clement in Ikiliwindi village, an uneducated cocoa farmer of about 55 years old, he told me” We must separate from this government as he watches over his cocoa beans in an oven then I painfully ask why, he told me that “ imagine Dangote wanted to buy our cocao for 2500 frs and the government refused to buy it for 1000frs so we remain poor while they uy those of French regions more” as I tried to tell him that story is so untrue and that cocoa prices same all over the country and those are propaganda of distractors. Adding that the Nigeria Billionaire never attempted such venture
I was however quickly reminded by a 3O year old looking lady by the name Carine that they now takes instructions from the UN and only UN as she vow that the blood of those killed cannot be in vain. Lambasting at me for supporting the government what she calls “la republic” as many now refers to the other eight regions of a country only 11 months ago was so fondly and proudly called home by these same people.
Even as I tried to convince the group of four that there are problems and the government is now ready to talk and have deployed elites to come and hear from them, they quickly rubbished the idea as another failed venture and reminded me that no one will attend the supposed meeting I they do come
As I drove across the different villages, the tone was same, people were singing the 1961 plebiscite like never before, and the district and most importantly the huge amount of wrong information for propaganda motives circulated out there by extremists have caused untold psychological damage in the minds of many both old and young. Presenting a dark reminder of how far government inaction has pushed the people in the hands of “bad guys
One Villager in ikiliwindi testified to me that, “villgagers attacked the gendarme commander in their village because he was so corrupt, usually comes to town, arrests people and jailed them so he can be bribed into removing them hence, the people attacked him, burnt and killed all his pigs, his cars and property to revenge “as I watched the officers car in ruins an ashes, another glimpse reminder of a village in crisis.
…..To be continued
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