Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Dubai Fantasy...Dubai! Dubai! Dubai!


Recently an Egyptian lady from the old Cairo aristocracy was shopping at Harrods in Central London.

Indeed rich Arabs shop there. After all it is the pyramid of luxury owned by the Pharaoh of London, Mohammed El Fayed whose face was used as a model for the sphinxes decorating a large section of the shop.

When the Cairo patrician stopped to buy her perfume from the ladies cosmetics department on the ground floor, a recently hired young and wide-eyed saleswoman asked her where she came from and very proudly the fur-clad Egyptian said: “Egypt” with an Al Fayed innuendo.
Innocently the saleswoman asked with an Essex accent: “oh, lovelay, ees it far frum Dubaaai”.

The lady was shocked, outraged and electrified: “Dubai! Dubai! Dubai! is only 20 years old my child with barely anyone living there, while we, the Egyptians, are a 7 millennia old nation with 70 million people. We are history, they are …you are…” she dropped the perfume and walked away.

Dubai is indeed the best marketed city in the world. It has become a brand thanks to the “product” itself and its very astute marketing policy. Tens of millions of dollars is spent everywhere in the world every year on Dubai, Emirates airlines, Dubai airport and many other ventures.
At least once a week Dubai is in the news thanks to a new mega project or some other mega event or because its government spent a mega amount of money to buy a world known asset or company.
And then there is the flash and the “my skyscraper is taller than yours” syndrome and the “I spent more money on my project than you did” disease, and of course I will not forget the “my malls are bigger than yours” disorder.

Meanwhile, old people are barely seen in Dubai. Everyone is young, full of energy and ambition, most men are horny and a lot of women are loose.
The Dubai Fantasy has beaten the American Dream for many young Arabs, Indians, Pakistanis, Iranians, Russians, South Africans, Australian, Brits, East Europeans and other exotic nationalities.

But in general the Dubai Fantasy ends when you are 60. Indeed residency is not renewable for foreigner above 60. Moreover, there are some who think they are coming to the lands of fairies and they work for no pay under a 48 degree sun, and others, like the small kids who race camels, are sold by their poor Afghani or Pakistani parents to inhabitants of this wonderland.

But on the whole it is a great place for young people from the region. Young men from Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt who want to forget the politics to make enough money to survive the luxuries of Dubai and send a little to their folks back home.




                

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