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.
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.