Sunday, May 06, 2007

Desist Already!

I have this idea in my head that a year or two ago Sheikh Mohammed announced a bit of a moratorium on announcements of new development projects. The moratorium was supposed to last five years, and the idea was that it would give the people and various gubment departments time to catch up with the new shape of things. I must have dreamed it.

This week is the monster exhibition, Arabian Travel Market, and since Dubai is basing a large chunk of its future on Travel and Tourism, this is when lots of announcements get made. So far we've had news that both the Jebel Ali and Deira Palms have been put on hold pending re-design (possibly related to the fact that if these projects get built as 'planned' there would not be a grain of sand left on the seabed of UAE territorial waters, and desert sand just will not do the job). That seemed like good news: after the experience of the Jebel Ali Palm it has become very clear that chucking a load of sand and rocks into the sea in the shape of a four-year-old's idea of what a palm tree looks like is somewhat more complex than you might imagine.


Announcements of more new stuff. The final phase of the Dubai Creek Extension that connects the Business Not-Much-Like-A-Bay body of water back to the Arabian Gulf. This effectively turns Bur Dubai and Jumeirah 1-and-a-bit into an island. [irony -->] I have no doubt whatsoever that the effects on water flow and ecology have been studied in great depth[<-- irony]. Gulf News had a diagram that shows the exact course of the Creek Extension. Apparently this stretch will be only 100 metres wide. 100 metres! Are you kidding?! It's not the Suez Canal or anything: the only traffic will be little motor boats, the odd rowing boat, and maybe a few abras (water-taxis). So, you lucky buggers who will still be in Dubai when this comes to pass: if you ever need to go west of Safa Park (or you live/work in West Dubai and need to go the other way) you will face the simultaneous buggeration of the newly-beautified Jumeirah Beach Road, Al Wasl Road and Sheikh Zayed Road while they build 100m bridges to span the Creek Extension. OUCH! Oh, and don't forget the Metro: that will have cross the water also. That was a minor announcement. Today we've had the news that Sheikh Mohammed has instructed Bawadi to have the biggest shopping area in the world.

Bawadi is a monster development of hotels, and hotels, and, er, hotels, out in the desert somewhere. The proposed shopping complex is slated to have more than 40 million square feet of GLA (Gross Leaseable Area). This is unimaginably horrible vast. I was at Mall of the Emirates yesterday, a mere tiddler of a mall with only 2.4 million square feet of GLA. After half-an-hour wasted trying to find a parking space, followed by a fair bit of walking around the mall trying to find various shops, I was overwhelmed, lost, disorientated and fed up.

Somebody, please tell me: what on Earth is the big deal about shopping malls? Yes I know, you go to a shop, it might have something you want, you might buy it. Or, in this region, it has free air-conditioning, the possibility of hanging out with your mates, etc. There never seems to be much actual buying of stuff going on (except at Carrefour).

Anyhoo, mustn't grumble: outta here in 2 months and 1 day. Jajaja.

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Blogger Mme Cyn said...

Indeed. And you know the newest, biggest shopping mall will have the same old tired cr-p. Dubai will never have a patch on Hong Kong or London or New York for shopping, so they might as well just give it up.

It would save on traffic, at any rate.

7:22 pm  
Blogger Jin said...

The company Hubs slaves for is involved in the Mall of Arabia, which is a staggering 1 million square metres & it'll probably house the same old same old shops as all the other huge malls.

2mths & 1 day keef - not like you're counting hey? I got the Hogfather DVD a coupla weeks back..........have you seen it & if so, wotcha fink?

7:40 pm  
Blogger Keefieboy said...

Jin: Nope, ain't seen it, but judging by the cast it looks like it should be fab, yesno?

7:47 pm  
Blogger Jin said...

It's a bit 'slow' but it sticks to the book & that surely can't be easy! It's a 2 disc set & I've only seen the 1st one, but will let y'know when I've had chance to see the 2nd disc :-)

1:57 pm  
Blogger Amrit(raj) said...

hey keefieboy... long time
you are as cynical as ever - love it ! :D

tell me keef whats your email address? is it still the webmaster address ?

12:30 pm  
Blogger Dubai said...

Navigate in Dubai


the best

4:15 pm  
Blogger Lou said...

5:13 pm  
Blogger said...


Really love your blog, its a fantastic read for those that love Dubai like myself.

I would be delighted if you would signup to our Dubai Forum which concentrates primarily on UK expats in Dubai and those looking to move out to the region.

The URL is

Again thanks for the blog and I will certianly come back.


4:33 am  
Blogger LoneTraveler said...


I am not sure if this is the best way to solicit your thoughts, but I am relatively new to Blogger, and not sure how the best way to exchange thoughts with people is. I have read your blog quite a bit, and, as a British expat in Dubai for so long, you may have some valuable perspectives.

I am an American who is considering a job posting in Dubai. I have read as many blogs as I can to get a feel for what it's like, but I thought I would ask you and your readers directly. What is it like being a Westerner, particularly an American who every bit looks the part, in Dubai? Is there any tension? Should I be weary when trying to integrate socially? Would it be hard to bring a young family there?

I know those are wide open questions, but I am not sure exactly how to ask to get a general feel of life in Dubai for an American. I work in finance, and I have lived and worked in the US, Caribbean, and Singapore. Now considering Dubai. Any comments from you and anyone else would be really great. (or suggestions on other blogs or message boards I should visit). Thanks for the time.

7:40 pm  
Blogger Keefieboy said...

Lone Traveler: tension? None whatsoever. Or at least, I've never seen or felt any. Despite its proximity to some pretty scary places, Dubai is one of the safest places on earth for everyone who lives here. Especially for kids.

Go for it!

8:24 pm  
Blogger LoneTraveler said...

keefieboy, thanks for the feedback. That is great news to hear that Westerners are able to mix easily and without tension in the society. It seems I was just over-concerned, knowing that I look like the typical blonde-haired American. It seems that Dubai has become very cosmopolitan, becoming a melting pot of sorts.

A couple points that I would love to hear more of your perspective on:

You mention that Dubai is one of the safest cities in the world, and all the crime articles and statistics I have read confirm this as being true. Of the little crime that does occur, is it petty crime? What type of "violent" crimes are ever committed? Would Dubai be comparable to say, New York, where it is safe, but you don't really want to be walking alone at night? Or is it like say, Singapore, where violent crime is almost completely non-existent?

The second topic would be how Dubai is for families, since you alluded to how safe it is for kids. Are there expat clubs, community groups, etc. that are very family oriented? And beyond that, what are the best social/member clubs around town for Americans/Brits/etc (with family focus being a plus).

Thanks again for taking the time to share your thoughts. My job posting in Dubai would like be a fairly extended one, so figuring out the best I can on how daily life goes is a huge plus.

1:50 pm  

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