DXB X 2

The bus ride back to Dubai was quiet, it was a week day this time.  Before barely tapping The Fountainhead, we were on Sheikh Zayed Road heading toward the bus stop in Bur Dubai (toward to center of the city).  I was excited to finally see Burj in daylight…but the local weather had other plans.  There was a thick haze in the air, a sort of sandstorm, that enveloped the city – Dubai’s version of San Francisco’s fog.  The tower, when we passed, was nothing but a dark blur through the haze – a shadow representative of a brighter time in this city of speculation.  That night was the coolest it’s been on my entire trip to the UAE, had to wear a jacket in the desert.  The locals thought it was freezing.  It reminded me of the Bay.

Article on the current state of Dubai:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/12/world/middleeast/12dubai.html?_r=1&em

Met an electrical engineer here who said his company lost all work in Dubai and now has projects in Qatar and Abu Dhabi….but they are slow.  Another British expat just lost his construction job and is going home.  The static cranes and uncompleted projects are the real showstoppers.

The roads are still congested as all hell, you would never guess it was a ghost town from the amount of traffic on the streets….or the number of people at The Global Village on a Friday evening, or the tourists at the Jumeirah Beach sheesha bars.

The apartments for expats (depending on what nationality possibly) are huge.  Space is abundant here.  I was just in Spain where the bedrooms were slightly larger than a full-size bed.  Here, 3 or 4 king-sized beds could fit comfortably in one bedroom….you might have to cut one in half and rotate.  The kitchen here is extraordinarily large and a weird, really long proportion, it makes you wonder who designed these residences.  The thing here, is, that everything was designed and built at unprecedented speed, which means that a lot of bad architecture went up.  On the flip-side, a lot of things we’ve never seen before, and a lot of new techniques, and a lot of experimentation was possible.  Masdar, and it’s drums of peripheral parking, is being built.

I still have a lot of this city to see.  More later this week.

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