it has been a year and a week since i last set foot in dubai, that city in the desert that i called my home for almost two years. rather, i really shouldn't call it home, more like, a long stop over, since i never really programmed myself to settle there. home was where my heart was and in those two years, it stayed where it should always be, with my folks.
i took a job as an interior designer in dubai through an agency here. the company hiring us was the emirate's oldest construction firm, the third largest in the land. they were diversifying their operations and since dubai was a booming city, wanted to capitalize on the potential of providing design services as well. from how the company was introduced to us, it certainly showed much promise. to add icing on the cake, the general manager, who was present during the hiring process, was also filipino. needless to say, he made us all feel comfortable and secure.
9 were chosen from the lot, only 8 of us left. the processing of our papers was quick and in just about 2 months time, we were saying our good-byes and packing our belongings already, flying off to a country where fridays were the sundays, where they fast for a month, where the summer heat can kill, and where dreams are apparently realized for a lot of pinoys. we just never understood the price we had to pay for such dreams.
our first week in dubai went about rather smoothly. all our needs were taken cared off by the company. gestures, now that i look back, were definitely the work of out pinoy boss. this further eased our concerns, more so, helped in our adjusting to the foreign land. work was also not too bad. since the company was new, and us 8, part of the pioneer team, we all were idealistic in making this company become a success and enthusiastically pitched in our inputs. the energy at work felt great. our arab boss, too was pleasant. he was a cheerful man, well educated and quite visionary, soft spoken and not intimidating at all. of all the characters we have met so far, he, i would consider would be the most inspiring. i actually still keep in touch with him till today.
since the work load was not that heavy yet, we took the the time during our free days to explore the city and get to see dubai for the things that have made it world renowned. the chinese have a term, "swah- kaw", which translates as "mountain dog", "promdi" in tagalog slang. basing from our actions, we all looked like swah-kaw's, oogling at the vast riches this country has cladded itself with. skyscrapers stretching up into the heavens rittled the urban landscape, each one trying to outdo the other in terms of height and design. malls sprawled out in huge expanses, filling itself with brands so exclusive and so high end, the prices almost felt unreal. residential developments were everywhere, mansion upon mansion, community after community, condo after condo. then, there are the landmarks. the burj al arab, the world's tallest hotel, perched on its island pedestal, poised like the proud arabic symbol that it is, overlooks jumeirah, the high end district of dubai. flanking it were more exclusive hotels and resorts, mina al salam, al qasr, the souk madinat, the jumeirah beach hotel, wild wadi. all these, playgrounds for the rich and the filthier rich. further up the road is dubai marina and beside it, the iconic palm jumeirah, one of dubai's most ambitious reclamation projects, another symbol to arabic vision and wealth.
not to be outdone however, on the other side of town, near the financial center sits downtown dubai, another residential/commercial complex set to house numerous other condo units, the dubai mall (the world's largest mall) and its crown jewel, the burj dubai, currently the world's tallest free standing structure and the world's tallest building. the burj will house offices, retail space, residences (selling at AED12,000 per sq.ft., which is about P120,000), and a hotel, the armani hotel, the first in the world.
beholding all of these things, you really cannot help but get swept away by the sheer potential living in such a cosmopolitan city can bring. you set a goal that you too will have part in all of this, that with enough patience, perseverance, sweat and luck, you too will be able to enjoy all of this. the bug has bitten, dubai dreaming has officially set in.