Thoughts on Dubai



Dubai, a member of the United Arab Emirates is located in the Persian Gulf and has become known for its ambitious building projects during the past few decades.

Impressive engineering has produced the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building with more than 160 floors;  the Burj Al Arab, the world’s tallest freestanding hotel with rooms starting at $1500.00 per night;

and the Palm Islands, a construction of three artificial islands in the shape of the date palm.
The Atlantis Hotel is open with rooms beginning at $1500.00 per night. There are other hotels planned and expected development of 500 apartments, 200 villas, numerous restaurants and many upscale shops.

The Plan

The World Islands, a massive man-made group of 300 islands in the shape of the world has begun but only one island “Greenland” is completed. Individual islands were expected to sell between 6 and 37 million dollars. Unfortunately, the erosion of sand and other issues are causing many of the islands to sink back into the sea and the channels between to silt up.

The Actual Result

The current financial recession has affected completion of many of these projects. Money for the full construction has diminished.  In addition, the tourism that is needed to support the ongoing operation of these investments has not materialized to the extent expected.

From its inception, while I could very much marvel at the engineering involved, I was dismayed that the wealth of the Gulf region, once again, seemed to be more interested in catering to the wealthy. There has been considerable government expenditure to provide education, medical care and basic infrastructure for the average citizens within Dubai but not so for other peoples within the United Arab Emirates. Within Dubai there are also clear differences between nationalities and genders.

Typical Dubai Apartment Building

In a way, it is reminiscent of the Pharaoh’s great pyramids and storehouses, amazing to visit in this modern world, but built by the sweat of slaves. The Burj Khalifa itself took almost ten years to build and employed over 20,000 construction workers.  While the workers who provide labor for the Dubai engineering projects are paid, their pay is very low, often only 6 days a week, 10 hours a day for $150 a month. (I am not expecting them to be paid U.S. wages, only what they were promised when they paid their way to come there to provide the workforce for these projects.) They often work long hours in the heat without adequate water and food. Living arrangements are overcrowded with inadequate sanitation and because of the multi-national situation, work groups tend to be segregated and housed in fenced enclaves, not permitted to walk about the city at all and visitors are not allowed.

There are so many places in this world to visit…..I for one do not plan to go to Dubai.

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13 Responses to Thoughts on Dubai

  1. Spencer says:

    I have heard so many great things about Dubai. I can’t wait to get there.

  2. There are amazing architectural and engineering projects there, no doubt about it. I personally was extremely fascinated to hear how the islands were built. The idea of going skiing inside in the heat of that area (36 degrees centigrade and high humidity almost all the time) can be something fun. BUT BUT BUT, it is excessive…it is a playground for the wealthy. While I can perhaps afford this if it was my goal, I really do not value the ethics in this kind of development. My point in this blog is NOT to say it is a bad place to visit, but to raise awareness that this place, as well as others I will be writing about, may not be the place to spend YOUR money if you are a traveler with ethics.

  3. Rose says:

    Real brain power on display. Thanks for that ansewr!

  4. Gus says:

    Can’t agree with you more. Excessive displays like this leave me cold no matter how impressive. In my book it’s simply showing off. I’d be far more impressed if more folks were allowed to live a good life.

  5. There will always be a class of traveler who wants to go to the “newest” the “biggest” the “whatever flashes the most and I can brag about it loudly.” I prefer to go to see how people live and get a sense of who they are. The world can grow to be a friendlier place if we can get to know each other.

  6. Karin says:

    It looks so grand, so marvelous – but it does not affect my core. It is built for the High Society. If I would be filthy rich I would rather ask you to plan a trip into a region of the world where the underprivileged live….I would like to build hospitals and schools there and drill for water instead, including hiring doctors and teachers.

  7. Now THAT would be grand!! I think the me-me-me attitude of the wealthy misses out on a lot of why we are here. It is interesting when you read about someone who has “made it” almost always they say the best part was when they were just starting out, building their dream. So, dream and work towards it. I see from your photo, Karin, that you are not exactly a spring chicken (neither am I) but I hear that your spirit is ready to give and that makes you younger than the “bored” teenagers I see.

  8. Karin says:

    Thanks for your reply! Did you read how my hubby and I live? We live in a camper trailer and travel around in the US. Nature keeps us young. I went through a lot while I was a kid, and now I can take it easy. I am 76 and proud of every wrinkle in my face – and yes – feeling young and energetic. Whatever dream I dream now has to wait for another life of my soul……

  9. RiverFeet says:

    Wow – that is some amazing architecture! I’m a little sceptical about the manmade islands though…

    ps LOVE your webpage banner 🙂

  10. I was lucky to get behind the scene reports biweekly from an engineer overseeing part of the island construction. The information was staggering…how many tons of this and that and the people involved. There is no question that the architecture and engineering in Dubai is phenomenal and worthy to visit, but I personally will not chose to spend my travel dollars there. I prefer to see the way people live and discover the culture in a faraway place. The flash of Dubai does not feed that interest.

  11. Thanks…I change my banner photo each day when I post to pick up on the theme of what I have written.

  12. adinparadise says:

    I’ve watched quite a few documentaries on the construction of Dubai. I’m sure the rich and famous, live very comfortably there when they visit. We might do a stopover in Dubai on our next trip, as I would love to see some of those buildings for myself.

  13. The engineering there is amazing, no argument about that and in a way I would love to see those also. But I, personally, have an issue with the inequities in that region of the world and would not choose to contribute financially to support any more rich people. It is a consideration that I make. I prefer to mingle with the people of a place…like walking back streets in Paris as a very easy example, instead of hitting all the “must see” places.

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