Don't fall for the Dubai story
If, like me, you prefer to meet your loved ones looking and feeling (and smelling) like something other than the stuff that you flushed down the toilet the morning you left, then you're far better off paying some extra money to fly Emirates or Etihad and take a pit-stop in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, or Qatar.
Certainly one can find evidence to support this assertion. After all, if you stopped by Singapore's Changi Airport, you'd probably come away convinced that the city itself is a marvel of innovation, architecture, and human capital, and is a shopper's paradise.
|This sort of thing, for instance, isn't quite so common|
Dubai only had a dribble of oil compared to neighbouring Abu Dhabi – so Sheikh Maktoum decided to use the revenues to build something that would last. Israel used to boast it made the desert bloom; Sheikh Maktoum resolved to make the desert boom. He would build a city to be a centre of tourism and financial services, sucking up cash and talent from across the globe. He invited the world to come tax-free – and they came in their millions, swamping the local population, who now make up just 5 per cent of Dubai. A city seemed to fall from the sky in just three decades, whole and complete and swelling. They fast-forwarded from the 18th century to the 21st in a single generation.
If you take the Big Bus Tour of Dubai – the passport to a pre-processed experience of every major city on earth – you are fed the propaganda-vision of how this happened. "Dubai's motto is 'Open doors, open minds'," the tour guide tells you in clipped tones, before depositing you at the souks to buy camel tea-cosies. "Here you are free. To purchase fabrics," he adds. As you pass each new monumental building, he tells you: "The World Trade Centre was built by His Highness..."
But this is a lie. The sheikh did not build this city. It was built by slaves. They are building it now.
- Two scrambled eggs
- Two large grilled tomatoes
- A large helping of sauteed button mushrooms
- Two pieces of sourdough toast with butter
- Three different kinds of sausage
- Two large rashers of bacon
- A heaping helping of potato wedges
- An Americano with milk
This is characteristic of life in America- when it comes to food, you'll be hard-pressed to find anywhere else in the developed world that comes anywhere close in terms of value for money. You'd have to go to Southeast Asia, to Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia, to enjoy the same kind of quality at the same price range or lower.
|She probably didn't go just for the hummus|