July 21, 2011 - Gross opulence or a severe case of vanity it may be, but it's hard not to be impressed by this huge piece of graffiti. Or is it mega-landscaping? Or a new waterway? Frankly, it could be any of the above.
Measuring 1,000 meters high, and two miles wide, the name "HAMAD" has been etched into the island of Al Futaisi just off the coast of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The letters are dug so deep that they form an artificial waterway when filled with seawater and it is so large that it can be easily spotted by satellite - this landmark will be around for some time to come. So, who is Hamad? That would be the 63 year-old billionaire Hamad Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan.
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As a member of the ruling family of the oil-rich nation, Hamad is used to living it large. He built a pyramid to house 200 of his personal cars. He also built the world's largest truck, large enough to build four bedrooms in the cabin. Oh yes, and he has a motor home shaped like the Earth, exactly one-millionth the size ... of the Earth.
Needless to say, Hamad didn't dig this latest extravagance by himself with a bucket and spade. He had some help from a team of his workmen who took weeks to complete the endeavor. There's no word on how much it cost to dig.
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Out of interest, you can see "HAMAD" yourself by typing the coordinates "24.3442, 54.3255" into Google Earth or Google Maps.
-- by Ian O'Neill