Rumble: Back in Dubai

Burj DubaiI am back in Dubai for the first time since I left one and half year ago. In a way, it feels like I never left, and on the other hand, so much has changed in this city where roads are modified overnight and mega skyscrapers are built in record time.

Talking about sky scrapers: Feb 2005 they started building Burj Dubai, just behind our office. "The Burj" was 15 stories high when I left. It is now already 600 meters tall and has 158 floors. Even though the tower will continue to raise up to 800-900 meters, it is already today the world's tallest building (by about one hundred meters).
There is so much construction going on around our office, just behind Burj Dubai, that we could not find the entrance anymore... The long-awaited metro is being built. There is a new bridge over the Dubai Creek. The world's largest mall takes shape. Interchange #1 is now one big construction site. Terminal 3 is finished at the airport.

Some things have not changed changed. The frequent fog and dust layer over the city. The hectic traffic (if anything it got worse), and its dangers (a guy got hit by a car in front of the hotel while we were having breakfast this morning)...

But I missed the hustle and bustle of this city, its mixture of all the word's cultures. It was lovely to see again so many etnic groups of people, mixed together into one megapolis. When we stepped out of the hotel yesterday, the first thing I noticed was the smell of curry. As we went out for dinner last night, I realized it is the first time I'm having Chicken Tikka Massala since 18 months. Living in Rome, Italian food is great, but the 'foreign' kitchen like Indian is not really "there".. So Korean dinner is next.... Thai to follow. You might think it is silly, but I missed the variation.

The moment I stepped into our office (which we built in 2004 - actually we designed the whole International Humanitarian City with the government from concept to buildings), it felt like yesterday when I closed the door last behind me. Even though since then, I went on sabbatical, sailed in a transatlantic race and in the Caribbean, spent a year with the family, and have now been working in Rome for six months... I knew the crack in the tile next to the stairs. I knew the feel of the door knobs, the squeek of the door leading to the locker rooms, the smell of the office as you walk in. I knew the look in the eyes of the people I worked with for four-five years. Strange how relative time is. Strange how deep some memories run. And there are certainly a lot of memories which connect me to Dubai... So in a way, I will never leave, I guess...

Oh, one thing which has not really changed is the long queue at immigration. Over one hour, and that in the fast lane!

The immigration queue as I arrived
So would I want to live here again? Mmmm. Don't think so. But is great to be back!


Anonymous,  13 December, 2007 22:30  

What? Is that a photograph taken inside the immigration hall?

Don't try that in the US. You could get deported! Strictly no cameras and no cellphones. Hmmm.

The queue was 2 hours and 20 minutes at DFW last month. I felt so safe as I ran to my connection.

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