Leaving Armenia was made easier by being greeted by my friend Armen, who has now lived in Dubai for 14 years. Having landed in more than 50 airports during my lifetime, I have to say I’ve never been greeted by a friend or person at the airport. This was already quite confusing to me as I did not have to figure out anything on my own. I was told by Armen “it’s ok…don’t worry, just enjoy”.
That has been his recurring mantra as he’s opened up his home to me, driven me around and has given me detailed information about this marvelous city that has had me confused whether or not I like the presence of this opulence and luxury.
The fact is I’ve been feeling quite dazed with the extremities and paradoxical nature of this city. It is a city of superlatives: the biggest, the longest, the fastest, the richest, the tallest (you get the point). It is also a city that practices Islamic sharia law where alcohol is prohibited, but not to expats and visitors who can make it to the resorts, clubs and restaurants that have it readily available like any western destination.
Although one can feel relaxed in the clear waters of the Persian Gulf, the hustle and bustle of the 83% of expat professionals and underdeveloped country laborers who are in the majority and in charge of the glamour and glitz of what 13 million tourists get to witness, is happening all around.
Dubai, a tax free haven, home to brands, hotels and resorts, and restaurants from all over the world is just mind boggling to me. I have felt that I’m in a bubble. But, in this bubble, everyone is employed and those who are here are given the opportunity to make something out of nothing. It has been upsetting at times being engulfed in the materialistic and consumeristic man made culture, with almost no trace of local customs in the “city center”.
But all that said, anything you can imagine you want to do or experience, you can come to Dubai to do it. The first day I described it as “Vegas on steroids”. I truly believe it is in fact, the global markets meeting in 1500 square mile space. So the world on steroids is probably a better description.
Dubai is not for me with cookie cutter replicas of villas and apartments. But then again, who knows? I have one more full day here and that might change. So, I’m off to see the bestest, tallest, most expensive something or another.
Greetings From Dubai