Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Dubai or no Dubai?

The plane touches down in Dubai and within seconds there is na chorus of beeping mobile phones throughout the aircraft. Welcome to Dubai where big is small and bigger is not quite medium.I have arrived in the future, and Jordan feels like I was far far far in the past now.
This morning I sat at breakfast in one of the four Ibis hotels in Dubai and watched businessmen from India, the middle east and perhaps even Europe eating a mixture of rice crispies and coco-pops. It was hard to fathom. Surely they are all doing million dollar deals, buying property and investing in the world's latest extravagent metropolis.I feel so out of place, a phony, the lone backpacker in a city of business men. A city of excess - of shopping malls that no place can rival.
Yesterday I visited the Dubai mall. It has an ice rink. It has a giant aquarium, various waterfalls, and the biggest food court I have ever seen. Oh yes, it also has a theme park.But wait that is hardly enough, is it? The Mall of the Emirates, a way down the road, has Ski Dubai, an indoor snow park. And I went to that. How could I not? I went on a bobsled run and marvelled at ice scultpures.
Outside the mall it was mid-thirties and humid. Inside Ski Dubai minus four degrees.
Giant cinemas, and giants cups of coke. Virgin Megastore and computer shops, a department store slash supermarket called Carrefour which has to have been the biggest I have ever seen.And yet little ol' me has a budget to keep to. Somehow, so far I have resisted the urge to buy everything in site which is what the place is designed for. The candy shops.... hasnt anyone told them that large amounts of sugar mixed with kids is a recipe for disaster? In the words of bumble-bee man, Ay Carumba!Perspective. Please. Rampant consumerism gone wild or wild consumerism gone mad? Too many adjectives?How can there be a market for so much stuff. There are plenty more malls you know.
Jordan left me tired... in need of a few good night's sleep. Well, I have a nice hotel here where they regulate the temperature there are two bars and three places for eating. I was most happy to find they have just opened a new slick metro which will take me most of the way to places I might want to go. And it stopped at my airport terminal. The heat is easy to escape, which is a good thing - the humidity is damned high too. It does mean spending much time in malls though. Oh well, won't go hungry. Candy close by if I need a sugar rush.How do I equate this? It is really futuristic here. Like something from another world. It's one of those places which feels like anything is possible. And then today I crossed the Dubai Creek on a small passenger boat called and Abra. It just crosses the creeks day after day. I went to the museum, inside an old fort. Very impressive. I've still had to walk a fair bit, and internet is not so easy to come by either.Saturday I venture to Ethiopia. It's going to be very different.

Ski Dubai.

View of the city centre from an abra, on the Dubai Creek

The ice-rink in Dubai Mall. Every mall should have one.

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