Saturday, March 19, 2011

Land of the Emirates

To break up the trip back to Australia I decided that instead of going straight home (which would be just too simple) I would make a stop in Dubai for a few days.
I’m not really sure what to write about Dubai. It’s a very… interesting place. I had no expectations or prior knowledge of the city before I went but from looking at a map I was getting ready to skip the metro and walk because everything seemed to look so close. Yet after taking a metro to the hotel and seeing the sheer size of everything, I put my walking shoes away because unless you want to walk for hours, it’s near impossible to get around Dubai without your own car or a taxi.
Having said that if one has sufficient money to stay in one of the big hotel chains like Sofitel or Hilton, one need not leave the vicinity of the hotel complex at all. In Australia I guess I’m used to a hotel having a pool, maybe a sauna and more often than not, a restaurant. So forgive me for thinking that a “hotel” that contains 6 high rises, its own beach, a water park, shopping centre, numerous restaurants of varying nationalities and several nightclubs (all of which require you to take a buggy or boat to access) seems a little excessive.  Luckily for all the plebs who can’t afford to stay in said hotel chains, all of these extravagates are open to the public.
In addition to the mammoth hotels, the buildings in Dubai are incredible. I’m fairly sure majority of architects there are suffering from “Small Man Syndrome” because every building is a weirdly shaped monstrosity, designed to outshine its’ neighbour.

Dubai seems to lack any sense of fixed culture. There is such an obvious distinction between the rich and the poor and it’s not uncommon to be in a restaurant or shop where the staff outnumber customers.  I found it hard to relax in Dubai because it felt like the lower class locals have been repressed and forced into working for minimal income in jobs that ooze consumerism. I have no idea if the city itself has always been this way but it seems to me like the Middle Eastern culture has been pushed out of the city to allowed expats to feel more at home.

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