Learning from Dubai
“The heat was hot, and the ground was dry,
But the air was full of sound.” – America
Dubai, the City of Superlatives, the heat was hot and the sound of commerce filled the air. This is a city state that grew from an airport layover and became the worlds leading tax free shopping center. It is alive with the hustle and bustle of the international traveller. Mixed in there are locals, women in Burkas shopping Victoria’s Secret, tribal families from Africa, mini skirted westerners lounging by Louis Vuitton and more flashy auto metal per square yard than anywhere in the world.
No democracy no theocracy. This is an Emirate and the Emir runs it as a business. The state of Dubai welcomes all. This is the surprise of Dubai, it is a multi cultural mess. Nothing is meaningful when it serves everyone. Faux history on gorgeous white sand beneath a dusty sky is home to every luxury brand in the world and a few that, ahem, aspire to being there. Shopping has been evolved to its highest form in Dubai.
Across the dessert is Oman, Syria, Egypt, Palestine and, of course, Israel and Saudi Arabia. All deeply caught up in a narrative more than a thousands years in the making. Here it is a five minute story. People decry Dubai’s opulence and meaningless grandeur. Yet there has to be something said for a place that creates such a splendid table upon which to feast. The have nots are no doubt hidden and the indentured labor of the cities rich homes unspoken, but there is a calm here, a focus on dialog and an acceptance that the new dialog is between us all, when the heat is hot and the air full of sound.