Dubai impressions

Having spent the last week in Dubai a destination I visited after seven long years a sojourn by any standards let alone Pakistani I must say I am overwhelmed. That is the best way to describe this city in my humble opinion, its got too much of everything, too much wealth, too much power, too much flamboyance, too much of a rotten underbelly and too much of a sense of fantasy.  In fact it is so hard for a visitor to Dubai these days to remember that these monstrous skylines and malls are all built on the blood and sweat of thousands of underpaid, often abused expat south Asian workers that it is a darn shame.

Top reason for forgetting the grim realities of a city which is expanding like the proverbial bubble and glinting and buying its way all across the globe? Beauty…simple and stunning perfection. You can see it in the pink stucco of the 100 floor skyscrapers and in the perfect sunsets over the Burj, you can open your eyes a bit wider when taking in the Atlantis a hotel half submerged in an undersea mammoth aquarium or try to close them a little to avoid the frostiness of the Ski Dubai Dome in the Mall of the Emirates, the result is the same you are knocked back every single time by the perfection at work here. Too bad it comes at the cost of 18 hr workdays for the poor who build these palaces or their meagre 400dhm salaries a month,  when a swim in the dolphin cave at the Atlantis costs 800dhms for half an hour.

Yes Dubai is also a city of stunning inequality and marvellous opportunity both. It hardly has a culture of its own obviously as the “watanis” as they like to call themselves are all emiratis or in short sheikhs with distasteful appetites for chauvinism and disgusting leering smiles which tell you to stay away. So it is basically buying up every bit of culture, tourist idea and attraction it can think of and inventing some on the own all by itself or I should rather say all by the grossly overpaid engineers from the west. It is a mirage in the desert it is a vegas on steroids and it is so expensive one has to almost pay to breathe in that hot stifling air.

All that aside it is also an oasis of true pleasure and I found this out to the various squealing fits my daughter had wherever I would take her in this city. It has a hell of a lot of things to do whether you are a family traveller a single clubber or a playboy with a bank account the size of the sphinx. It will soon also have the tallest building in the world (near completion) an amusement park the size of 4 Disney worlds and if they have their way according to cityscape 400 new gleaming residential projects in the shape of almost a thousand new towers. I shudder to think of how many will fall to the deaths in this next episode of largesse and abuse, and yet at the same time I want to be there when it has these towers up just to look at this paradox in the desert and lose my breathe again!! I now totally understand the myth of boomtown and vegas after this visit. You can feel it in the sultry air, and almost hear the hum as you sleep at night in peace in this city. A constant hum of energy, moving shifting transforming coaxing chipping breaking making this myth of the perfect place slowly into reality.

  1. The institutional racism and bigotry of Arabs has put me off Dubai or any other country/state/emirate in the Arabian Peninsula

  2. i really doubt if they would be racist towards any woman who can utter any english…i would think they would go nuts though

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