Dubai – Dividing Opinion
The city of Dubai has become one of the world’s favourite topics of conversation, in a way that no-one could possibly have foreseen a decade or two ago. This remarkable part of the world has surely caught the attention of us all at one time or another, for reasons that may be considered good or bad, but which nonetheless provoke debate. It has to be asked – is Dubai the world’s most dividing city in terms of opinion?
To begin with, it is worth looking at a reason why people love Dubai. There are many reasons, and among them is the blatant ostentation of the city. Although liable to turn off as many people as it attracts, the immediacy of Dubai as an attention-grabbing city cannot be denied. Huge towers like the Burj al-Arab and the soon to be completed Burj Dubai are not, to put a fine point on it, necessary. But then, the same could be said of a lot of smaller, less opulent buildings. These towers astound, and captivate, a great number of people. They make us talk about Dubai, so they serve a hugely important purpose.
However, there are many who complain about the processes that get buildings like these built. Dubai was not a busy, glittering metropolis in the middle of the 20th century. This has happened at very short notice, and the way it has been done is always going to raise a question or two. A lot of people who visit Dubai for a holiday come back and say “well, the room was comfortable, the food was great and the entertainment was marvellous – but that construction noise spoiled the whole thing!”. Dubai is still building – and that is not without its problems for those who enjoy the quiet life. Murmurs about the working conditions on these sites also abound.
However, if working practices in a construction industry are now reason enough to hate a city, you might say that London, New York and other major destinations should be boycotted. There are very few places in the world that were built using altruistic processes by benevolent construction companies. That there are questions about Dubai even today is not encouraging, without question, but there is also justification in the claims of the people of Dubai who consider much of the criticism to be due to envy.
At the heels of the hunt, you are either going to love Dubai or hate it. There are clear reasons for both conclusions, including the fact that ostentation is something that draws strong reactions. If you like glitter, a buzz and an experience that will astound you, Dubai is a place to go. If you want peace and quiet in a centre of cultured gentility, then it may be best avoided. Either way, people are not going to stop talking about this fascinating city any time soon. Any city, after all, which makes it snow inside when the temperatures outdoors are shooting to uncomfortable levels, as seen at Ski Dubai, is worth taking notice of.
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To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the Travelnowsimply.com website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to Entrepreneur Journey site. This article originally published on the above website on June 13, 2009.