Monday, November 24, 2008


i received an email from one of my good friends in dubai. she was retelling me about one of her meetings held at the sky bar in the burj al arab. to those of you who are not familiar, the sky bar is that restaurant jutting out of the mast of the 7 star hotel, which now is an icon for the arab city. dining there gives one a full 360 degree view of the jumeirah area, as well as the palm island, that man-made reclamation project the kingdom undertook 5 years ago that added about 60 more kilometers to its costline.

sky bar jutting out from the mast at the upper right of the frame

the jumeirah beach with palm jumeirah, burj al arab is a dot on the upper right corner of the frame

anyway, as she was having her meeting, she noticed that all of a sudden, the patrons of the restaurant suddenly rushed towards the windows facing the palm. apparently, that day was the inaugauration of the atlantis hotel at the palm, a USD1.4 billion project, set to serve as another jewel in dubai's already studded crown. my friend found herself in the best seat of the house for as part of the celebration, the organizers spent USD40 million on a grand fireworks display.

forgive me for the almost hyperbolic dropping of monetary figures, but you should understand, in dubai, spending such great amounts are not really that unsual. why should it be when the kingdom's sheikh can shell out around USD3 million to bring his entourage of 300 to russia to go hunting. when the monthly allowance of a princess can be as much as USD5 million. when, on a single buying spree, the sheikh spent USD30 million on thouroughbred horses, spending USD11.7 million on just one horse. when dubai has spent billions more on creating the world's tallest structure exclusively used as a hotel, the world's tallest building, the world's longest billboard advertisment, the world's largest mall, the world's largest amusement park, the world's tallest apartment, the world's largest man-made marina, with many more world record breaking projects in the works. how prosperous dubai is, don't you think? money there practically grows on trees, to the point that this display of wealth and extravegance has drawn droves of people to visit this small kingdom perched at the cusp of the arabian peninsula.

they come in droves, carrying with them great expectations. wishes to be awed, to be blown away by things that are almost impossible to create or even realize, yet with enough money and sheer stubborn will, was made reality. what a dream it must be to be able to witness the splendor of such a great city. the diadem of the middle east, basking in the glory that it had made for itself.

it has been a year since i came back from my two year stint in dubai as an interior designer.

it has been a year since i last had taste of its greatness and its wealth.

it has been a year.... since my last memory of working for the world's most superficial city.

it has been a year, and i still feel bitter.


Mugen said...

Since I'm just a newcomer and probably have missed it in your earlier entries, but I hope you would tell your story why you feel bitter about Dubai someday.

gentle said...

sabihin ko sana things happen because they are meant to happen.. pero i know it'll just spark a whole lotta debate on fate and certainty of things happening, and personally i too have mixed feelings about it so i'll shut up na. just look at the brighter side of things, like nakkajoin ka ng marathon, or nahaharap mong maghanap ng john williams music, hehehe.

Lawrence said...

i love dubai! ;-]

dabo said...

Dubai is amazing..probably, but it needs at least hundred years to be called great..

sallreen said...

Dubai has taken conservation of its natural resources and bio-diversity very seriously, and its dedicated Environmental Department and all senior officials support this ground-breaking development to the full. The DDCR is an example that others in the UAE and the Gulf region can follow. The Dubai Municipality, as the primary regulator of standards in Dubai, is well aware of the importance of conserving the natural heritage and history of this region for generations to come.

jamie da vinci! said...

@sallreen. read regarding dubai's sewage problem.

i am sure dubai is "trying" to take measures but really, they have to curb their obsession since they stop at nothing to get what they want. the palm islands? the world? what sane ecologist would not have a COW with the damage those projects have done?

dubai municipality and its standardizing? what a bunch of crap!