Dubai cornucopia


So many unrelated things happened over the past week.  Just wanted to jot them down before I forget.

Things I’ve grown accustomed to in Dubai:
-Nespresso tastings in Dubai Mall
-Discovering new neighborhoods in the world’s biggest malls.  A mall is not complete without a food court.  I found a second, less crowded, quieter one today in Dubai mall….lower level.  Go there despite warnings from the information staff that it is not quite finished.
-Many people (on the street) answer “yes” to every question you ask regardless if they understand you or not.
-“Dew -baye”: The correct way to call the city by name.
-Mohd’s Arabic coffee and lessons on how to make it.  (Nick, how is your caffeine fast going?)
-In spain, like the bay area, there were many dog-walkers.  One day in Madrid, I actually stepped in crap twice.  Here, there are almost no pets.  A cleanliness culture thing?
-“Where are you from?:” The first thing everyone asks a person he or she has never seen before (precedes ‘hello’)
-This is a city of foreigners.  This is not a city.
-Weekends are Friday and Saturday here.
-Why is the world obsessed with fried chicken?

-Abandoned cars at the airport.  Everyone back home was super-intrigued by the NY Times article that mentioned thousands of cars were left at the airport by those fleeing the country.  The Arabic Economist reports only 11 abandoned cars.  Did the government clean up the mess?  Went out to explore the long-term parking lot at the airport.  Found a few cars with tickets, covered with dust, and one with windows left open.  No notes….no thousands of cars, no real answers as to whether I was even looking in the right place.

-“We’re weaving humanity into the urban fabric:” Billboard on Sheikh Zayed Road by Limitless.  I met with University of Michigan College of Architecture and Urban Planning Dean, Doug Kelbaugh who is currently Executive Director of Design and Planning for Limitless.  Limitless is planning new cities in China, the UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and beyond.  The recession has slowed their work as well.  Kelbaugh is interested in sustainability issues and is in touch with UC Berkeley CED former Dean Harrison Fraker.

-It is possible to accidentally hitch-hike for two consecutive days in a row.

-It is so hard to find routes here, but it’s because the roads are always changing.  They call detours “diversions” and construction has forced so many alternate routes to confuse all drivers in the city.  There are no real addresses here either.

-‘Film everything, you need the fourth dimension.’ (Veronica De La Rosa on traveling and documentation)
-‘We don’t wait for events here, we create them.’ (Sheikh Mohammed on the concept of spectacle)
-‘This city wasn’t designed, it was engineered’ (John Madden on Abu Dhabi)
-‘It’s living, but it’s not life.’ (Anonymous, on living in Dubai)
-‘Why not?’ (Sheikh Mohammed on 60 minutes, in response to the question, “Why are you doing all of this in Dubai?”, 2007)


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