Dubai..better late than never!

Disclaimer: The photos in this post are all mine, for all you photographers out there, please..be kind..I know they aren’t the best!

For the longest time, I’ve been trying to motivate myself to write an entry about Dubai – after all, it remains an awe-inspiring destination to people the world over, and I am thankful of having had the opportunity to visit..but having been there,,and for two weeks at that – I can honestly say, I don’t share their same enthusiasm – and this is even more the case after coming to Lebanon.

To me, Dubai is like a unfinished product which has been put to market before having all of the kinks worked out, or an apartment complex that has failed to come out of preconstruction – but has moved everyone in anyway. At the time when I was there, Dubai housed something ridiculous like 90% of the world’s cranes..

Dubai Cranes

CRAANNNNEEES.

Sheikh Zayed Road Dubai

Sheikh Zayed Road

Sheik Zayed Road was quite impressive, as were a few of the shopping malls, complexes. and hotels..specifically The Mall of the Emirates, Festival City, Wild Wadi Waterpark, Dubai Mall, Madinat, Mercato, the Burj Al Arab, Jumeriah Beach Hotel and the tallest building in the world.. The Burj Dubai, now the Burj Khalifa,,but in my two weeks there..there weren’t many instances that I felt compelled to share, to write about (excluding time spent with friends and family of course) “but how will I create the scenery, the backdrop on which to stage my play?” I thought.., which is why it has been a year and a half since my trip there, and I’m only now feeling the urge to write something..anything..

Digital Religious Products Dubai

The "Religious Products" section at an electronics store in Dubai Mall

Digital Qur'an

Digital Qur'an?...Bizarre.

Perhaps one of my more memorable moments was when I was having high tea at the Burj al Arab overlooking the Palm Tree Islands and “The World”.. Oh, and I cannot forget to make mention of the annual Dubai film festival, which showcases films from all across the Middle East in an attempt to forge cultural understanding..so appropriate for me…I relish any type of foreign film and documentaries..

Burj al Arab Dubai

Whoa! Close up, Burj al Arab..

Burj al Arab Dubai

Close up! Burj al Arab, on the inside!

And, admittedly, I did enjoy speaking and mingling with the expats, the majority of whom were friends that my Aunt and Uncle had made since their move to Dubai from Sydney over a two years ago..I believe that Emiratis only make up about 10% of the current population of Dubai, and expats the rest, but in any case, my family had made an exceptionally good group of friends..I had the pleasure of meeting people who had spent their entire lives as Expats – Scots who lived in Jeddah, Brits who lived in Hong Kong, Indians who lived in Nigeria – whose lives had all converged, bringing them together in Dubai..you can imagine the richness of the conversations.. I guess Dubai really is all about the people.

I will never forget going to the famous gold souk, and being asked if I was a star in Bollywood, or getting ready to head to the beach on “women’s only” day but being told not to bathe in the water because it was polluted, or one of my few nights out in Dubai at the Grovesnor Hotel to the ever so sexy Buddha Bar..or learning that developers, like Nakheel, would lay off 6,000 workers in a single day without newspapers getting any word of it, the same workers who lived on the outskirts of the city in slums and were given a pittance for sacrificing their lives to build buildings like the Burj Dubai – Dubai’s blatant extravagance was nauseating at times – How many times can you be on E!’s top 100 list?..ohh and how could I forget, I was there when the infamous English couple was detained for having sex on the beach! Man those Brits..

Everything in Dubai was just SO new, that I really had to go out of my way to try and get a sense of the Dubai that existed only a few years ago..I did manage to make it to the Jumeriah mosque, the Dubai Creek, and to a museum that shed light on the region’s bedouin past..Dubai has lost most of that history, and is now a destination for pleasure seekers and big spenders..and nothing more. BOOOOORING.

My favorite part of the trip, was when I went to Dubai Yacht club..just hours before my flight back to Miami..

Dubai Yacht Club

Dubai Yacht Club

Dubai Yacht Club

Dubai Yacht Club

However, perhaps my perception of Dubai is quite skewed – and I wasn’t there long enough to truly make a proper judgment, and I have a problem with writing things that are so obnoxiously one sided..According to my friends in Lebanon, who grew up in Dubai..Dubai, and Jumeriah was once a very different, memorable place..and a joy to live in..

I will close with the lyrics to a song by one of those people… Which paints a vivid picture of what Dubai once was to some..

Lyrics :

I’d like to look out my front window
To an empty field
I’d like to build a new sandcastle
Not a seven-star hype machine

I’d like my usual taste of your summer
Without worrying about the fee
I’d like my usual taste of your winter
Without the need of an ID

I’d like to come back and come back and visit
Without the doubling capacity
I’d like for you to keep my little secret
I liked you better when you were with me

You were the rollercoaster
The coolest ride in town

Tell me is it worth the sacrifice
And worth the compromise
And worth all the glam shock news
Is it worth all the headlines
And worth the not-so-white lies
And worth all the things we’d lose?
Is it worth it
Is it really really worth it?

I’d like to speak on your telephone
Without reversing your technology
I’d like to spend some time alone
Under an actual palm tree

I’d like a peaceful walk home
Without the revving ferrari
And I’d certainly like to have my presence known
Mr. Bouncer I was here long before your scene

You were the superhero
The coolest guy in town

Now tell me is it worth the sacrifice
And worth the compromise
And worth all the glam shock news
Is it worth all the headlines
And worth the not-so-white lies
And worth all the things we’d lose?
Is it worth it…
Is it really really worth it?

I’d like your gold standard to drop, drop, drop
I’d like the name changes to stop
Don’t you know your very first identity
Was fine by me

It was fine by me…

It’s not worth it
It’s not really really worth it…is it now?

3 Comments

Filed under life in Lebanon

3 responses to “Dubai..better late than never!

  1. Amr

    nice work dani! and photos as well!

    liban is always different, and beirut will remain the middle east paradise

  2. Nick

    Beirut is a warzone

  3. Lisa

    But you didn’t mention the best thing that happened at DOSC (that’s the yacht club to you but the Dubai Offshore Sailing Club to those who live in Dubai) – we were singing Christmas carols. I love that in a Muslim country you can have the freedom to gather and sing to welcome another religion’s festival, with people from all over the world. It was a truly special night.

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