Category Archives: dubai

Dubai to all that

For those few remaining pollyannas among us who doubt that the apocalypse is nigh, please read this article from the Guardian on the Theme Park Formerly Known as Dubai:

If you drive along the al-Ain highway towards the mountain range that marks the border with Oman, you enter what remains of Dubai’s desert. But before you do so, you pass mile after mile of signs marking the location of what will soon be known as Dubailand. Once completed, this will be the world’s largest theme park, twice the size of Florida’s Disney World. Scheduled to open between 2015 and 2018, it aims to be the centrepiece of Dubai’s tourism infrastructure, attracting up to 200,000 visitors a day. Already, a replica Taj Mahal and Eiffel Tower stand awkwardly in the desert.

Dubai Holding, which is building the mega-project, says that at 278 sq km it will include the world’s largest shopping mall, the world’s largest observation wheel, 29 sq km of themed worlds, including “Women’s World”, and 75 sq km of “Eco-tourism World”, including a safari park, a vast sporting complex and a snowdome six times bigger than Ski Dubai – the emirate’s existing 25-storey skiing centre, where around 30 tonnes of snow are created each night as chilled water is sprayed from 21 snow-makers attached to the roof. Yet, according to last year’s United Nations report Global Deserts Outlook, the United Arab Emirates, of which Dubai is a part, is now one of the most “water-imperilled” nations in the world, while also one of the most water-hungry.

That’s fucking hilarious! And it gets better: the people building this rich person playground are really, really poor! Savor the irony.

An hour’s drive into an area of Dubai that is about as far off the tourist map as it is possible to get brings us to Sonapur, an unhappy place in so many ways. Even its name cruelly teases its residents. The name of Dubai’s largest labour camp means “city of gold” in Hindi, and it also sounds very similar to the local slang word for a female orgasm, as Khaled, my translator, seems to rejoice in telling me.

I doubt that most of the 150,000 male workers who live here (some claim it is as many as 500,000, but there is little official headcounting going on), smile at the irony of living in a place so empty of wealth and women.

That’s just about the worst thing I’ve ever heard. Also, why don’t all languages have different words for male and female orgasm?