Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The future is here... Dubai

Remember those episodes of Simpsons which are science fictionish and show the future? Vast expanses of land with air bubbles for humans, located far from each other.

Dubai reminds me a lot of that. Long roads and highways snaking all across. With futuristic, gleaming steel buildings cropping up suddenly. And buildings like you have never seen before… towers reaching into the sky, sailing boats, pyramids, spheres, lakes… as if Picasso had been given an open canvas.

Many of these have amazing malls. Huge. The sort of space we can’t think about. The price of most of the stuff, INCLUDING the food, is the same as Switzerland. A country which the Lonely Planet says even Westerners would find expensive.

We’ve come a long way from the time where the whole of India would head to Dubai to shop. But the scale of the place makes you imagine what the future could hold.

And the malls are welcome oases of air conditioning which protects you from the desert heat.
The new Metro takes you from one mall to another.

The steel and chrome modern wonder of Dubai is a complete contrast to the Swiss cities with their 19th century stone buildings, fountains, narrow cobbled streets… all in a concentrated area. Cities like Zurich, Lucerne, Geneva represent the old order.

Our cities in India are like gangly teenagers trying to get there.

Does Dubai represent the future? Cities created on an architect’s elm?

Are we ready for it?

4 comments:

Legal Alien said...

My parents have recently moved to Dubai and much of what you say here echoes what they tell me about the place. I am yet to see Dubai but it sure sounds like something out of the Jetsons!

The knife said...

Do they like it here LA? Doesnt seem very cosy to me. I loved Switzerland. Shubho Bijoya

ba-xi said...

dubai - or dobuy (given its pure mercantalist outlook) - is as dependent on footfalls as its vaunted malls. tourism, financial services and till recently real estate have powered whatever bubbles (or jetpods) are visible today. the biggest challenge however is national identity. nationals are far outnumbered by expatriates and there is an increasing lack of skilled workers to take on the lag since the current workforce has been trimmed thanks to the recession. this city looks like a cleaner Bombay and you can spend your entire stay here without meeting any other nationality but indians. This is especially true of people from God's Own State who treat this place as their own.
The disparities are visible plainly in food and drink: you can have a full meal for as little as a dollar or as much as 10,000. But its a happy compromise between 1st-worldism and 3rrd-worldism, and the fact that you are in a different world just 2 hours by air from Bombay is comforting sometimes!

The knife said...

Baxi...I love your term 'Doo buy'. We've been at Bur Dubai and hopping across malls. So seems like India's 26th state.

It's amazing to see what man can create if he puts his mind to it.

Still searching for a 'natural' buzz though. Blame it on my tourist eyes if you must

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