dubai the aerotropolis

the views in this blog are purely my own from my experience and in no way is meant as an offence to anyone. some statements might not be facts but just well-known rumours; so take it easy people.

the fountains of dubai mall

IMHO dubai is an interesting city. this place used to be unheard of, just some desert in the middle east, yet the past few years have seen a major change and now there’s a guide book on it, and even a music video based on the city itself. dubai has popped out of the middle of nowhere, history-less and incomprehensible. it is like an empty canvas, and here comes people playing god, creating and shaping to their liking. if you can imagine how much money is needed to kick start a building development, imagine how much capital would be needed to actually kick-start an actual city. dubai had little oil, little resources and a tiny population. but by sheer determinacy, it built itself as a flight hub  the world. the timing has never been any better, as air travel was booming, bringing the world a little closer and the next time we know, everyone is flying into dubai for connecting flights. so then the ‘fake city’ is created. there’s manmade islands, manmade rivers, and manmade green parks. downtown dubai is filled with fancy skyscrapers that defies the natural climate and the favourite hangout place is the soulless malls for excessive capitalism.

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burj dubai/burj khalifah and the mall’s aquarium

everything here has to be bigger and better than the rest of the world. there’s the world largest shopping mall; dubai mall. in it theres a olympic sized ice rink and an aquarium with the worlds largest single acrylic panel. next to it is burj khalifah, currently the tallest skyscraper in the world, where it also becomes the backdrop for the dubai fountain, modelled after the one in Las Vegas only 4 times bigger.

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one of the souks in bur dubai; trying out the abra to get across the creek

Dubai in a certain way overwhelming to me with its ambition and excessive ‘plastic surgery’, but when you lose yourself in its little ghettos you will find loads of traditional charm with its souks, abras and local food. The social strata here is very evident; in one area you would have the expats and local emirati population, and the other the huge labour force brought in to facilitate the city’s construction projects. The working rights here is a major social issue, where there are reports that some are forced to be in living conditions “less than humane” yet not able to return to their home country for having their passport taken away.

DSC_0288 towards the dubai creek and the restaurant converted dhow.

Dubai has always been portrayed as the glitzy cosmo destination. the 7-star level lifestyle, shiny malls, elegant skyscrapers and glamorous hotels. However I’ve been enjoying myself more exploring the different scene in the areas of Karama, Diera, Naif and Al Quoz. There are people pulling carts, mini stores selling abayas and pashima scarfs, restaurants that don’t look like they pass the health test yet filled with patrons. Theres an abundance of cheap authentic cuisine from Pakistan, India, Lebanon and more for less than 10AED/3AUD a meal. Compare this to one in burj al-arab where dinner starts from 350AED/90AUD, with even smaller portions. Local character and cheap food in dubai is aplenty, now i’m just hunting for them.


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