Monday, November 05, 2007

Dubai metamorphoses

Next time you have a minute to spare, sit down and count everything around you – impossible – probably! Let’s limit it to the fixtures and fittings – everything that comes with the flat: floor tiles, skirting boards, doors, window frames, panes of glass, light switches – it’s going to be a big list. Right, now multiply that number by 100,000 – that’s the stuff on its way along Emirates Road to Dubai Marina and the building sites around Dubai.

Bumper to bumper lorries, rivers of steel, slow moving some of the time, stationary most of the time, or just winding around the roundabouts on the way.

Now add to that, the thousands and thousands of people traveling by car and bus and you have an idea what is happening in Dubai. – the rapid building of what amounts to another city, no less. Hundreds and hundreds of tower blocks – steel and glass constructions that are springing up almost daily.

If you don’t go down that way much, you’ll be amazed next time you do, and the next after that, on for a year or two, probably for the next ten or twenty.

Step back, if you have the time, the parking space and the inclination of your neck to look at the virtual forest – except this is no computer model, no virtual reality, but the reality of what Dubai is – the mushrooming of an ultra modern, state of the art metropolis.

Next come the inhabitants, tourists, homeowners, prospective homeowners and their attendant agents, financiers. The guys putting the place up are already there – you can see them like so many ants moving up and down the walls, along the floors and driving the machinery preparing ground for new sites.

I don’t know the statistics, but just taking a look at it, I would say they are of the astronomical sort – something approaching the billions of dollars poured in to get it all moving skyward.

Burj Dubai towers over all, its progress upwards slowing as it nears that magic number that makes it the tallest building on the planet – until the next one – in Dubai!

Catering for the families that will people this verticality are the massive malls: Dubai Mall, the Mall of the Emirates, Mall of Arabia – the mind reels with it all.

Let’s not dwell on cars – enough of them already, but how many thousands more are bound to arrive, and where will they all fit in?

The authorities have thought of that; the Metro snakes alongside Sheikh Zayed Road, a serpent of concrete and steel. The trains – unmanned ones, are arriving early next year. Speaking personally, I can’t wait until they begin to flash up to Ibn Battuta Mall. What sort of futuristic sound will they make – will it be heard above the noise from all those cars?

The future is now in Dubai, and elsewhere – the Guggenheim and Louvre in Abu Dhabi, Dubailand – pyramids, the Eiffel Tower, and it will soon be right here, on our doorsteps.
Robert L. Fielding