Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Dubai - No Soul

A few year's ago I visited Dubai.  Like most people I walked through the city and was flabbergasted with the displays of everything you could lay your eyes on.  The excessive spending that goes into that city struck me with awe.  I wasn't sure if I should be impressed or totally appalled.  The size of the buildings, the shopping malls and the cars.  The huge amounts of water used in fountains and shopping centers in what is actually a desert location.  The lights, the extravagance.  To me it was just too much. For some reason I felt weird, it felt like there was something missing in that city that money can't buy.

I spend a week in Dubai, met a lot of people, none of whom were locals. Everyone I met was from another country making a living there. Everyone seemed happy in some way or the other, but something still felt wrong.  On my departure back to Cape Town I spoke to one of the flight attendants. As everyone else he was also not from there, just working as a flight attendant for United Emirates.  He asked my if I was going back to Cape Town and told me that he was actually from France, but whenever he gets an opportunity to visit Cape Town he takes it.  He is in fact going to live there one day he said, believes it is the best city he has ever visited. For a flight attended who has seen most of the world that must be a bold statement to make. Curiously I wanted to know why he would want to live in Cape Town and not Dubai.  I was intrigued by our conversation that followed.

He asked me what I think of Dubai. I said it is too much for me and there is something missing.  Everything is over the top and it makes me uneasy. He replied:  "Yes, there is no soul in this city". That is when I realized what was missing. There is no history, no authentic culture, no visible hardship and rewards, no common goal for the people living there.  Yes, they all want to make money but how much soul is there in money.  It is a Muslim country but everything you find there is Western. You can even find alcohol and bacon if you know where to look.  Prostitutes are everywhere and migrant workers work like slaves.  Yet, the image of Dubai is something brought to the world as The Utopia.  Yet everything you see there is fake, artificial with no soul.  It is like a Lego City where nothing was spared to create the ultimate showcase.  Yet the things you can't buy with money is not there. 

I find it quite interesting when I talk to people who has been to Dubai.  Some will tell you the same.  They felt uneasy. Most don't know why and I am not saying that I am the only person who has figured it out because I have heard from more than just one flight attendant that the place has no soul.  Some come back and think it is Utopia. Some actually want to go live there. Clearly the ones who has not figured out what life is about. The ones with fake Instagram accounts or who only post things on Facebook that might impress others. I had a look at some pictures on FB from Dubai's New Year's Eve fireworks.  Yes, it is impressive and it looks good, but where is the joy in that when half the world lives in poverty and fear? I wonder what they will do next to beat this spectacle


1 comment:

  1. Here is my take of Dubai not having a soul. http://www.richtrek.com/2011/10/dubai-big-money-no-soul.html hope you enjoy the read :)