I’m not going to lie. I didn’t like it. I can’t find an all encompassing adjective to accurately convey the superficial, sanitised, soulless, moneyed, empty sham that is Dubai. It was accurately described to me as one large airport terminal and that is pretty spot on. It’s not fun if you’re not into shopping, or a member of a special club, and you spend most your time wondering when you can leave.
Even ‘Old Dubai’ is a Disney-esque reconstruction of what it once might have looked like. A bit like Yorvik but without the little train. And no amiable scruffy dogs or waif-like cats, not even any birdsong that makes it over the roar of the 8 lane motorway that cuts through the temples of wealth.
You can always find an air of the ridiculous if you look hard enough though: a live pianist plays a jazz rendition of ABBA’s Money Money Money as we check in, the ever-so-friendly staff greet everyone indiscriminately with a ‘Hello Sir’, enormous fountains ‘dance’
to ‘A whole new world’, in the restaurants they’ve panicked about choice, realised they don’t need to make one, so have served up everything they could think of – Macaroni cheese nestling alongside chicken Dhansak… It’s just not right but at least it raises a slight smirk.