Date: 4th April, 2010
On my second day in Abu Dhabi, I really didn’t have any plans besides checking out some stores nearby. But I ended up not doing so when my mother told me we had to go pick up my grandmother from our relative’s place in Dubai. And I thought: “Great, road trip!”
So post-lunch, we set off from Musaffah via Emirates Road for Dubai.
There really wasn’t a whole lot to see on the journey besides dry land on either side and heavy vehicles…
45 minutes into our journey, as we entered the emirate of Dubai, things started to get a lot more interesting.
The number of heavy-duty trucks all lined up, heading in and out of Jebel Ali was staggering.
If you want to know what heck is Motor City, check out their official website.
The 25,000-seater stadium is part of the US$4 billion Dubai Sports City project. If you want to… actually, just click here (.pdf document).
(FYI, most Arabs don’t give a shit about cricket. The UAE national squad is mostly comprised of Pakistanis and Indians. Despite that, ICC’s international headquarters will now be in Sports City.)
The Dubai Global Village mostly comes alive during the world-famous Dubai Shopping Festival.
But the sad reality behind the facade and the large signs that advertise these massive projects are that… well, they are either on hold or are lying empty. Some bits are done, but there are still many phases yet to be started/completed due to the financial crisis of last year that put an end to Dubai’s extravagant dreams.
In fact, the Motor City, Sports City and Global Village are all part of the massive (you’ll see me use this word a lot) Dubailand — what they described at launch would be the largest theme park in the world. But all I saw was a statue of a dinosaur near Dubailand’s hoarding. Sigh.
By evening, we were in Jebel Ali heading to a residential complex called LuLu Village where my relatives were staying.
The sights weren’t obviously that different on the way back. More construction…
… completed apartments …
… and Dubai’s new skyscrapers.
All of which now have disappointing occupancy rates.
Regardless, I was still looking forward to my time in Dubai.
Dubai exudes excitement. It is the party capital of the Middle East. I was looking forward to meeting my friends and going around the city.
It’s not for everyone of course, especially the uneducated poor, for whom it can be one of the harshest places to be in.
By nightfall we were back home in Abu Dhabi. The plan for the next day was a visit to Shaikh Zayed Mosque — and as with a lot of things I had planned, I was really looking forward to it.
Also read: Heading back to the Gulf after 7 years (First post in this series)
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