So much has been said about Dubai, a city of superlatives—best, first, largest, highest and tallest. It’s a city of rising skyscrapers and by the look of it, there’s no limit. They have the tallest building in the world, the highest residential tower in the world, the largest mall in the world, etc… The city seems to be obsessed with record-breaking feats and they continue to do so—because they can.
For five days in Dubai, the city didn’t really give me goosebumps, only a handful of questions. I never even had the feeling of “wish I lived here.” And to be honest, I’d be happier living in Havana than here.
Dubai has no soul. There’s no authentic Emirati culture there, unless you consider luxury as culture, then, I rest my case. I walked around Dubai Creek for three hours and a half looking for raw Emirate culture but I couldn’t really find authentic one. But honestly, I didn’t really know what I was looking for, but I was hoping I’d see or catch something that’s uniquely Dubai or UAE.
Dubai has the biggest population expats, but most of them are not white, so they call them labourers or plain workers. Racism in Dubai is very visible, raw and real. And for many people working here, it is a way of life. And yes, I’m aware it’s a first world problem, too. Wait, until you visit Dubai.
Dubai is expensive. Everyone I knew who had been here (and few others who are still living here) told me that. And I know what you are thinking: you didn’t enjoy Dubai because you don’t have money to burn. That might be true. But I don’t measure my travel satisfaction by how many expensive bars and places I’ve been to and branded things I’ve bought but by how easy it is for me to travel or walk from Point A to Point B. Public transport in Dubai is limited, thus, your insatiable curiosity to discover the city is also restricted.
Dubai keeps on building skyscrapers. Construction is ubiquitous and many spaces in completed buildings are unoccupied.
To quote my brother, “Dubai has no money. It survives on tourism. And there’s no oil here.”
Dubai is a very young city. It is anxious to join the ranks of London, New York, Tokyo or Singapore. But if they don’t take care of the very people that help them grow, the city is nowhere to go. Its fame is going to stay where it should be: in the desert.
You asked me if I liked Dubai? Not really. It’s not my kind of a city to live. For now.