Saturday, January 30, 2010

Dubai - United Arab Emirates

Dubai - United Arab Emirates: "

Dubai - United Arab Emirates

March 2009

Dubai was a nice trip. We spent 4 days there in route to London. The weather was extremely pleasant, although I was a victim of the Arabian sun, only to leave with more of a tan (burn) than I bargained for.

This is a very unique city… basically devoid of any “old” cultural sites, the city is roughly 10 years old. Sure the sightseeing tours will tell you the city has been populated since 3000BC, and I sure that’s true. But those old Bedouins have long since gone, and their tents are dust in the wind. There are a few modern structures built to look old.. but trust me, Dubai is not the place to go if you want to explore ruins of the past.

My take on modern Dubai… roughly 10 years old, the current city was primarily developed after the Word Trade attack of 9/11. With increased focus on non-US investments much of the Arab’s (and other’s) monies were invested in Dubai. (Although if you think about it, with the US and Europe being the largest users of oil prior to 9/11, I guess you could say the West build Dubai)

My overall impression of Dubai is “Stunning”. Anyone who has ever been involved in a construction project knows how much work and logistics go into building a large building… now multiply that by 1000. It’s unbelievable to see what has been built in such a short time. I was also amazed at how almost every building was totally unique in both design and shape. Unlike New York, Chicago, Houston and most big cities, Dubai is not just a urban center full of square, indistinct, industrial looking buildings with the occasional modern chrome and glass structure breaking the aged skyline. Everywhere you look in Dubai you see a new and unique skyscraper, in shapes that challenge conventional design. Stunning….

I will be curious to see how Dubai handles the future and how the current economic crisis effects this city. As our visit showed, many (and there are a lot) of the current projects have stopped or slowed. The airport is overloaded with abandoned cars from workers fleeing the region as project are put on hold. With very little oil of it’s own, Dubai was a place for the uber-rich to play… and it seems more and more like playtime is over. I’m glad I had the chance to visit, as it seems very possible the Arabian sands may just reclaim Dubai… not unlike other great Arab cities of the past.