Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Dubai Adventures - A Digression

I had high expectations for my Dubai blogs: regaling readers with detailed and comic descriptions of that little trip; revisiting the difficulty of maintaining an alcoholic buzz all day in 115 degree heat coupled with 85% humidity (difficult) ; 90-minute Thai massage (heavenly) ; snow park (not worth it); playing Spot the Prostitute in bars (easy). But the other night I had a bit of an epiphany that completely derailed my plans; let me explain.
On our last full day, while we were enjoying one of t
he pools and its swim-up bar, I asked Seth to take a couple of pictures of me.

I was disappointed. "No one's going to know where these were taken."
"Well, yeah - no one's going to know where any of these pictures were taken."

And he's right - unless we were to take pictures standing in front of the Burj al Arab no one would have any idea of where we were. We could be taking pictures at the Mall of America for the lack of significant landmarks available. But then, I don't suppose people go to Dubai expecting to experience authentic Middle Eastern life but rather to enjoy visiting an exotic place while being sheltered from contact with any "local" life. Our first morning I was amazed to discover that we didn't even have to leave our resort if we didn't want to: it had 6 pools, 5 restaurants ranging from casual to fine dining, plenty of bars, a spa; all that was missing was that quintessential piece of Middle Eastern life: the mall
. We did leave - to visit the Mall of the Emirates and another resort - but not without the realization that while Disneyfication may have forever changed the American landscape, what are resorts doing to the rest of the world? And why bore people detailing our experiences when I could replace the word "Dubai" with "Vegas" with similar results?

On a fun note: our last night in Dubai Seth and I decided to head away from the beach and its 5-star selections to see what other bars were available. Our taxi driver took us to some hotel, where the prostitutes were much easier to spot, and we approaced the Platinum club. There were two bouncers standing outside and one was arguing with a man about being "on the list" or something and the man was subsequently turned away. Only slightly deterred we approached.
"Is your name on the list?"
"Uhh, no."
And with that the bouncer opened the door and gestured for us to enter, which begs the question: what the hell would have happened had our names been on the list?

Along with shopping malls, massive construction is another common sight in Dubai.

Feel free to play in dirty, man-made snow (well, pay first, then feel free.)


1 comment:

  1. I felt the same way about our honeymoon to Jamaica. There was nothing authentically Jamaican about it. It was a resort for Americans and Brits who wanted to visit the Carribean, but not to have to deal with any of that pesky culture shock. :-)