The GoGlobal Blog

Those Other Cities (II)

Those Other Cities (II)


Dubai. Dubai, Dubai. Okay I gotta be frank here. I’m a city kind of guy. Muscat isn’t what I’d call a city, it’s more of a bunch of suburbs encircled by the same border. Getting around without a car is possible, but it is a p-a-i-n in the butt. There’s giant patches of desert throughout the city, and goats – goats and kids and dogs running around. Cats too.

Coming to Dubai I expected a similar set-up. Fancy pants buildings and malls, but not really urban. Boy was I wrong.

Dubai could be New York. Dubai could be Chicago. It has that same big city feel as places like that. It doesn’t yet have the culture as those cities, but – come on, the whole damn city isn’t even more than forty years old. Most of it isn’t more than ten. Dubai is an easy target. They think they’re all that, they build their own islands. But give ’em a break. They built the most beautiful metro system I’ve seen in just under two years. It’s arguably the most international city in the world. Arabic’ll get you nowhere in Dubai, you’d be better off trying English or Hindi – Tagalog even.

I’m confident that in twenty years or so this diverse mix’ll start producing some innovative and unique cultures and subcultures.

Oh by the way – last semester I had a good view of the Willis (yeah right, Sears) Tower from my St. Louis Hall window. I first saw the Burj Al-Khalifa from a comparable distance, and I can say – that thing is a monster. It is the tallest building I can even comprehend being built. It’s so much taller than anything in Chicago. It’s quite tall.

On a more negative note: The Emiratis, the ones I met at least, are kind of jerks. They pushed past foreigners in the malls so they could order their carrot juice, they were impatient, I got the vibe that they felt like they were more entitled to stuff in Dubai than the rest of us. Now that’s a sweeping generalization and I’m sure it’s not true for all Emiratis, but, first impressions are important. And for me, they dropped the ball.

Okay two down, one to go – next time Abu Dhabi.

…..actually….I’ll just do it now ’cause it isn’t too complex.

Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi: Take an older,more lived in city, add in equal parts Dubai and Doha. Mix it up, let sit. Add one (1) Ferarri World for garnish and, if you’d like, a big circle building. Boom. Abu Dhabi.

Little bit of this, little bit of that. That’s Abu Dhabi. It’s a nice city, and the bus is only one dirham (think about 30 cents). Not to mention it basically owns the rest of the Emirates. It’s the political capital, plus Abu Dhabi, the Emirate that is, takes up about 80% of the whole country.

So there’s the rest of the Gulf. Now back to Oman.

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