Monday, 21 April 2008


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."


Stop right there. Yet another stupid report by a dumb 'been there for three days and know it all' blow-in, yet another useless, two-dimensional characterisation of Dubai from yet another someone who can't be arsed to look beyond the blindingly obvious. And the worst crime of all? She's started the whole stupid pile of ordure with a quotation from the original 'Been there, seen it, done that, gonna write it up and be home for tea' writer, Jonathan Raban. The man that dropped into the Gulf for a week, wrote a silly book about it filled with sweeping generalisations and assumptions and got away with the whole awful episode purely because so few people knew better in those days.

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.


nzm said...

Beneath me, just beyond the coast, was the "World" development, for which sand has been lovingly dredged into the shapes of the continent for property tycoons and A-listers to purchase in their own acts of mini-colonialism.

Going to throw up. Now.

Keefieboy said...

Hmmm. Crap article. But it's reminded me of something. When I first arrived in DoBuy, somebody pointed out the World Trade Centre and said it was not allowed for anyone to build anything taller than that. And then along came the Burj Al Arab - twice as tall, but with fewer 'floors' - because they're mostly all duplexes. The world didn't come to an end, and before you knew it, every bugger was building 50 storeys and upwards.

Dhs 100 for an abra cruise? She deserves it! On expenses of course. That abra boatman must have thought he'd won the lottery.

i*maginate said...

Do u pronounce plastic 'plass-tik' or 'plarse-tik' hhahhahaahaa

I say plarsetick

Thought that might be a relevant comment!

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