Dubai

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Dubai really is an affront to civilisation; an obscene and tasteless expression of unearned wealth.  With a population of 1.2 million, 80% (the ones who do the work) are expatriates!  It is materialistic and superficial with no regard for anyone else anywhere in the world or in history.  Ironically they say that if you do not remember your history you have no future, then create a fake Disney "old town" with wind towers which were originally designed to capture the wind for natural cooling, now housing air-conditioning plants, because they have forgotten how to build proper buildings. 

Their entire architecture is a fraud with tatty 1980's western trash and islamokitsch tower blocks and, to cap it all, of course, the highest, most pointless skyscrapers imaginable.  The Burj al Arab, housing the world's only 7 star hotel is perhaps the epitome of this flamboyant excess, for now at least, but shortly to be overtaken by the mile-high Burj Dubai; I suspect they never read that Frank Lloyd Wright's design for a mile-high skyscraper was a joke!

Sadly they have no concept of irony and believe they are investing their oil wealth in a sustainable economy for when the oil runs out.  Their future will be built on tourism, luxury tourism in flashy apartments, hotels, and even an indoor ski slope.  Just how the tourists will get there when the oil runs out they seem to have overlooked.

Like all aberrations of common sense, taste and morality, just under the surface is a stinking cesspit, in this case literally, and they have been forced to close the Jumeirah beach (beside all the glitzy hotels) because the raw sewage keeps popping up inconveniently along the sand and, after all, if you have paid 1000 a night you do not expect to go swimming in shit!

Still, if you want to indulge in pointless excess, this is the place to do it.  You can squander your fortune on gold, diamonds and other trappings of fashion, and enjoy some of the best food and wine anywhere, albeit at exorbitant prices, and stay in faultless, if sterile hotels, with generally excellent service.  Just don't go during Ramadan when nothing and nobody works...apart from the poor infidels!

Dubai Gallery Burj al Arab Dubai Creek Dubai Heritage

 

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Jeremy Harrison 2005-2013