Head for heights in Dubai
In a city that contains the world's tallest man-made structure, it can be hard to get a sense of perspective. Joy Lo Dico is dizzied by the highs and lows of the planet's most extreme tourist destination.Saturday, 19 April 2008
For his 1979 travel book Arabia: Through the Looking Glass, Jonathan Raban stopped off in Dubai as the petro-dollar boom kicked in. Thirty years ago, no-one in Dubai could have foreseen the seven-star hotels, the extravagant shopping trips of Colleen McLoughlin and her fellow Wags, or George Clooney dropping into town. But its arrogance and aspiration was already evident to Raban.
"We passed the Dubai Hilton," he wrote. "It looked to me like a Hilton but it was marked by one of those singular honours which count for so much and seem – to an outsider – so numbingly unimportant. At that particular moment it was The Tallest Building In The Gulf and Sheikh Rashid of Dubai was apparently doting on it like a favourite child. Looking at its smug, slab-sides cliffs of glass and concrete, I hoped that it would not be allowed to enjoy its pre-eminence for too long."
It is typical of Raban's slapdash, silly little book that he mistook the 33-storey Dubai World Trade Centre Tower for The Hilton, the four-storey building next door. It is even more typical that The Independent's brilliantly insightful journalist repeats the idiocy as she embarks on her shallow, idiotic sprint through Dubai before loading up on duty free and snatching her flight home to show her tan and some yellowish-looking diamonds to her mates.
It's enough to make you puke.
And if it's not, you can find the whole dumb, excruciating 'Paid a ferryman Dhs 100 to take me on a trip on the creek and bought a fake watch that fell apart, too' (Abra fare to anyone with half a brain, Dhs 50) piece of travel writing mediocrity here.
At least it's not as bad as the silly arse from the Daily Mail who wrote up how fun she found it shopping last year in Dubai's 'delightful and traditional old souk' - you guessed it, the Madinat Jumeirah.
The souk that was the inspiration for this blog's name, in fact.