Just in case my (semi-) chubby form or the photo details are not clear enough, the quote on the highway overpass (in English and Arabic) is from Disney. I'm not terribly surprised the development company Emaar (builder of some of the big malls and towers in Dubai, including the Emirates Mall, where Ski Dubai is located) didn't take Walt's dictum to heart.
If you ever want to have an OZ moment (your line: '...you know, Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas any more...'), just take a week for a vacation to the United Arab Emirates, namely Dubai. It's the kind of place where architectural historians, or at least mechanical engineers, would scratch their heads in wonder. I modified the Field of Dreams tag line if you build it, they will come to describe the building madness that is going on there: If You Design It, They Will Build.
Take a city like Chicago, or New York. Add financial incentives. Blend with varying degrees of Islamic and Western Asian culture. Drop it into the Arab world. There's Dubai.
Before you begin to think that I have an infatuation with the city, let me balance it out. It's not a town where runners or athletes would feel particularly safe, at least not in the newest sections. The traffic pattern is hideous, the traffic insane, and the drivers very aggressive. Perhaps out toward the older districts of the city and the surrounding environs it might be more tri-geek, runner or cyclist friendly, but even then I have my doubts.
Eating in Dubai for the Western European/North American is a no-brainer. Well, it's actually quite challenging, because you can have either every major restaurant chain known to man or local cuisine, cheek-by-jowl. Once you get out into the suburbs, cities like Sharjah for example, the food is more adventurous and the people a little more fun. Where else can you walk into a coffee shop and be offered some of the best baklava outside of Beirut and wash it down with an absolutely awesome Turkish-style coffee, all for much less than what you would pay at the local Starbucks? If there's a place, please let me know so I can go there.
I didn't get enough exercise in during the week, but this trip was not so much about exercise as much as it was about adventure, about extending a few horizons and (in some cases) hanging on for dear life until the bumpy sections were through...in order to laugh about your own fear.
I hope I figure out before the next visit a good place to go running. Somehow, treadmill workouts in a place like Dubai, or Sharjah, just seem to be a really bad idea.