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Drinking Gin In A Bar In Dubai.

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on November 6, 2008

At the end of Day 1 in Dubai, the day before the Summit On The Global Agenda begins, I am dazed and delighted. Here are some superficial observations:

I was just drinking a gin and tonic in a bar as heterogeneous as the one Han Solo walked into in Star Wars. Dubai is an amazing collection of cultures and colors, textures and tastes, native dress and undress. I saw as much plastic surgery in the time it took me to down the gin as I see in New York in a month (and that’s a lot).

Dubai is Las Vegas on steroids (or maybe Disneyland). There is an artificial/fantastical feel to the place. But then again, it’s probably my provincialism to compare it to what I know—Las Vegas. They have been doing beautiful fantasy in this part of the world for centuries (genies, flying carpets, etc.)

The architecture is breathtaking. I am looking at the Burj Al Arab (Tower of the Arabs) right now, the tallest hotel in the world. It is shaped like a sail of a dhow, the traditional Arab sailing vessel, built on an island right offshore, and looks like it will sail off into the night. The architect is Tom Wright, a Brit. I usually focus on the people inside a building when it comes to architecture. Are the spaces good for their work or living? But this building is inspiring just to see.

There are lots of Russian tourists in Dubai. It’s only 3 hours to Moscow.

There are lots of Kenyans working in Dubai and they’re all happy about Obama.

There are large numbers of empty apartments here—the real estate bubble is popping in Dubai also, despite all the wealth in the area.

Did I say that the food is incredibly delicious? And the coffee is, well, the best I’ve ever had.

Enough. Work in the AM.

Reader Comments

john taylor

November 8, 2008 2:04 PM

How about Dubai's human rights record? How about the illegal arrests by the dubai police devision known as state security where they keep anyone they wish for as long as they wish without any rights. Its all nice for a visitor like you, try living the selective application of the laws in a real life and you will see why people leave dubai after some years.

James Mason

November 9, 2008 11:59 PM

John Taylor is whining and moaning about human rights. No surprise there. Would he raise Guantanamo Bay or the other American abuses of human rights with the US government? Not a chance. Much easier to pick on Dubai or China. Meanwhile the Bush administration gets a free pass from John. In the old days Westerners used to come to the East and ram their religion down the throats of the locals. Now ‘human rights’ is the new religion. Convert to what we tell you or be damned for eternity, seems to be the message from these hypocrites. If you are so keen on human rights, perhaps you should try living in the US as an undocumented alien and see how much you get in the way of rights?

Vishal Jadhav

November 15, 2008 5:54 PM

@James Mason
You r perfectly right Sir........they are nothing but hipocrites. 50% of the world's problems today (including poverty and terrorism) are nothing but after effects of the so called Colonialism. These Jerks went and invaded those culturally and commercially rich countries for their selfish need, exploited peoples innocense there to satisfy their greeds and created attrocities worst then todays highest level of human rights abuse. And Now they are hiding in their holes, watching the world suffer for their creations and wearing the human rights masks to protect their wrong doings. They are nothing but like the same old snake with new skin.

john taylor

December 19, 2008 4:01 PM

Excuse me guys,
How do you explain sheikh maktoum hasher of dubai the soon of the well known sheikh hasher maktoum otherwise locally known as scisor sheikh, misrepresenting the public with ads about buildings that are shown as under construction and after 10 months of paying the investors find out that there is no contractor on board? RERA, Public Prosecution, Court & all other dubai authorities turn a blind eye to the investors complaints. Sheikh maktoum hasher then goes ahead and threatens the investors with deportation if they talk!!!! We are not defending a criminal like bush.... but covering the truth in dubai is part of the governments style... the laws are great its just they get implemented selectively and one can not fight for his/her rights in dubai judicial system. Corruption exists because sheikh mohammed is surrounded with people who hide everything.


March 4, 2010 1:34 AM

Don't point your fingers at the western bankers, they never forced Dubai to take on these loans. It was the greedy, hedonistic and shallow lifestyle that Dubai dwindled into, trying to attract only the wealthiest citizens of the world, while workers from nearby countries are treated like rash and remain underpaid. As the old saying goes, what goes around....comes around....

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