I am back in Singapore.
I wrote about Dubai to a friend:
“It is certainly a spectacle. Man-made glass green spires jutting out of this desert straight up into the sky. World’s tallest building (looks like a twirling minaret), huge indoor ski park, and an ocean where the water is as warm as a hot Japanese spring. I like the contradictory tones of the city… walking through the Mall of the Emirates I see teenage girls wearing the skimpy spaghetti-strap Western clothing pass next to girls perhaps of the same age… but covered from head to toe in their burqas. Surreal.
I know it sounds cheesy to use the word “mirage” while I’m in the desert, but Dubai really does seem like a mirage. It shimmers in the heat, in the spaces where there are no skyscrapers, I can see across the endless flat land. It all feels very temporary. A gold rush mentality and right now it’s the middle of the boom. People are clamoring to come here, setting up shop, grabbing at the billions of electronic dollars whizzing around in the shipping, oil, and sky around me. But one day all will come to a screeching halt and the city will empty.”