Thursday, 17 January 2013

We go to the desert, and it floods.

I think many would agree that Dubai is quite an impressive city. Artificial, but impressively so. On our recent trip to Sri Lanka we decided to stop over for two days to explore another new corner of the globe and add a new Customs stamp to our growing collection. (I'm very proud of my bad-ass, inked passport!) And it did not disappoint. It was exactly what we expected, just  more exaggerated and overpriced. We saw many incredible things in Dubai, all of which made my mouth gape like a monkey spotting a lion...

There were foreigners, foreigners galore! Not tourists mind you, but ex-pats who live and work and play there like they own the place. It's also clear that they don't.

Dubai was gearing up for the celebrations of the UAE's 41 years of existence, and so there were many, many UAE flags adorning streets and malls and entire buildings. It is said that on the day of the celebrations (which we unfortunately missed by a full 24 hours), "you can see many Ferrari's out on the street."

Which brings me to big and impressive buildings such as the Burj Al Khalifa and Burj Al Arab, and the man made islands of The Palms and World Islands - which to be fair, isn't nearly as impressive from land as it is from the sky. And malls that boast huge aquariums, ski slopes, water fountains and candy stores the size of wonderland. Equally intriguing is the overwhelming amount of lingerie stores filled with Arab women in traditional clothes, twirling around delicate pieces of floss underwear.

We went to the beach in search of a good spot to photograph the world renowned sail boat building, but only found lobstery-Russians in skimpy swimwear. I even got a glimpse of a hairy ass in a g-string speedo. Oh, Lemony Snicket, if only you knew...

A trip to the desert was fascinating! We spent an evening under the stars with hordes of tourists in an artificial desert camp where we witnessed a belly dancer shake what her mama gave her. She was blonde. And not at all very good, which I'm guessing, is made up for my the fact that she's blonde. For a brief moment I wondered if at any point in her life she was traded for money.

We spent a morning scouring the souks around the Creek; the markets filled with salesman pedalling gold items, spices and textiles is possibly my favourite part of Dubai. I even found a real Genie outside the Arabian Courtyard Hotel!

I shit you not, he's the doorman! Pointy shoes and all!

But by far the most incredible thing we saw in Dubai, even more spellbinding than the genie... rain. Rain in the desert! According to the locals it only rains about once or twice a year, and even then it's only fifteen minutes of light drizzle. It's so rare it is romanticised by the Dubai youth, like a moonlit stroll. What started out as light drizzle turned into what I thought to be a normal amount of rain for a drizzly morning... but no, for Dubai it's "heavy rains".

Heavy rains that quickly turned into flooding due to the lack of drainage! Rivers of water running ankle deep on the side walks, stalled cars lined the streets. For all the man made splendour that is Dubai, they forgot to give thought to the things they cannot make, or purchase or control. Like an unnatural amount of rain in a world where society daily face ever unpredictable natural elements and disasters.

It was quite the spectacular event, I've never seen so many confused Arabs! There's no use in going back... now I've seen it all!

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