The highest tower in the world, islands in the shape of a palm tree, a ski resort in the middle of the desert with a penguin: Welcome to Dubai!
Long before you set foot on this tiny corner of the Middle East, you already know what to expect: a megalopolis at the cutting edge of technology and design. You get your money’s worth, Dubai is a city of impressive aesthetics, but it is so much more than that: Dubai is a planet in itself.
مرحباً دبي ، اسمي كريستين ، أنا فرنسية ، يسعدني أن ألتقي بكم. Hi Dubai ! mrhbaan dubay , aismi krisatin , ‘ana faransiat , yuseaduni ‘an ‘altaqi bikum
This type of destination does not appeal to everyone. Adventurers avoid it: too artificial, too modern, an environmental scandal. However, even if all this is true, Dubai has a seductive potential that we need to recognize, and eccentricities between megalomania and futuristic vision.
The modern architecture in Dubai is beautiful
Even if you prefer cities with a soul, a past, a real heritage, Dubai is dazzling. The light, the sparkling towers, the pure, slender design form a futuristic painting is realy successful. Architecture made of glass and steel is omnipresent in neighbouring countries, but it is not the same: in Riyadh it is ugly, in Dubai it is beautiful.
Dubai is spotlessly clean
In Dubai there is a cleaner every 20 meters. Every paper that falls to the floor has a chance of survival of a few minutes. Everything is permanently cleaned, it is shiny, smooth, oiled, free from any waste. Nothing catches the eye. Dubai is the wealth of Mr. Clean and Vizir.
Dubai is big, long and pedestrian-free
A visit to Dubai cannot be made on foot. There are some areas where you can wear your sneakers for a few miles, such as the marina, but not much more. It is impossible to walk to Palm Jumeira, the artificial island in the shape of a palm tree. You have to take the monorail and possibly a taxi to get to the left side. I wanted to go there on foot, but the officials there made it clear to me: it is forbidden to walk. Here everything is done by taxi, subway or car. Point.
We don’t run in Dubai, but we run
Jumeira, to name but one, is a world of its own, planted with palm trees, luxurious buildings where guards solemnly welcome visitors. You can only get there by car, but in the back of this temple of glass and concrete is a large tree-lined driveway where Starbucks style cafes alternate with fabulous soft rubber tracks reserved for tanned Nike runners.
Here is sports like going out to eat, riding the subway or shopping. On every street corner, a futuristic gym makes young girls and playboys sweat together.
Dubai may be big and concrete, but it is incredibly cheerful
It is unexpected enough to say it: Dubai is teeming with life. It is the place to be, and the whole world wants to work there. The quality of life, as they say, is exceptional, everything is beautiful, new, organized and the nightlife is incomparable. Every evening the partygoers are spoilt for choice.
Like all modern cities, Dubai is hyper-connected and it is very easy to find a party to join with just a few clicks. The people are strangely cheerful, ready to go out and happy to have a meal. One does not feel, as in my sad homeland, this exhaustion, this breathlessness, to arrive at the untouchable weekend to finally rest or to enjoy the presence of family and friends. The predominant impression here is that of positive energy. It seems that the inhabitants are happy to live here and that everything is going well.
Dubai is beautiful up to the smallest corner (and even then, only with 50° program)
What would be most surprising in this interstellar city is that there is no such thing as a shabby, run-down and ugly district. Of course there are more beautiful districts than others, but in general the houses are of good quality.
It should be noted that Dubai’s modernization and construction began only recently, in the 1950s and especially in the 1990s, when the emirs considered the city a luxury destination.
I stayed a few days on the outskirts of town in a very pleasant suburb. Clean buildings, of good standing, not too high, with gardens everywhere. This part was inhabited by guest workers, with whom I could talk about what they saw of this El Dorado from a film by George Lukas.
The only thing I heard them complain about was the fear of having to leave the country and the difficulty of saving money for the families at home.
I think the security we feel here is also related. Regardless of the profession, from engineer to waiter, everyone knows that if he or she is skidded, he or she must leave the country. The vast majority of people are therefore forced to behave correctly and respect the rules.
The city of Dubai is beautiful, but it is also very safe
Crime is approaching zero, and although violence must certainly exist behind closed doors, this security record is neither a myth nor a lie. The police are efficient, available and committed to serving citizens. The concept of service in Dubai is simply astounding. Wherever they work and whatever their level of responsibility, you always have the feeling that they have time to take care of answering a question that will never seem stupid to them.
You can drink in Dubai, but the drinking part of the party is not to be found here. It is possible to consume more alcohol than necessary in this 97% Muslim country, but it is strongly discouraged to walk the streets drunk, as in London or Bangkok. The spoiled person will not get very far until he is picked up by the police. And maybe that is exactly what makes this planet so lovable: There is something so pure and hard about the way of life as Burj Khalifas design.
Dubai is a planet that brings the whole world together
The mixture is impressive. All languages, styles and ethnicities meet in the subway. It is a unique melting pot in the world, even Geneva or Singapore cannot compete with. Add to this the fact that all these people live in the same buildings and celebrate the end of a working day at the same table with a smile, and Dubai could be the most beautiful city in the world.
What are Dubai’s weak points?
Of course there are a few, but after careful consideration, there are only a few.
- Life in Dubai is expensive. You would think so, but it’s better to remind him. However, there are hostels with excellent dormitories for 30 € per night. The slightest coffee in a chic bar, alcohol, restaurants are not given, you have been warned.
- Dubai cultivates an eccentricity that borders on indecency. A ski slope in this desert land with penguins to cuddle as a bonus, a huge aquarium with sharks and divers in the middle of a shopping mall? Are you serious?
- The whole country is an environmental disaster and it is often difficult to enjoy all its charms without feeling guilty for killing the earth.
- The city is exciting to discover, but only for a short time. Unless you have a ministerial budget, and then again Dubai quickly becomes boring.