Thursday, October 13, 2005

Dubai: "Zany" :: LA Times (reg. req.)

In what is becoming a trend, another major US newspaper tells its version of the story of Dubai. Some quotes:

The zany, ambitious sky. There is a vague consensus here that great cities arrange themselves around ambitious architecture, and Dubai is determined to outdo them all. You feel it when you drive down the highway, eyes assaulted by a string of quixotic slogans: "The earth has a new center." "History rising." "Impossible is nothing."
. . .
Today's freewheeling Dubai is a bewildering stew of nationalities, a place where natives make up less than 20% of the population of about a million. It's also a place where politics is seldom spoken of — people are much too busy amassing cash and spending it as flamboyantly as possible.
. . .
On a recent morning, as Dubai simmers in triple-digit heat, a developer named David Richmond lingers on the details of a massive fish tank planned for Dubai Mall.

"It will be the biggest piece of acrylic ever created," he says soberly, pointing out the front panel of glass that will, theoretically, protect shoppers from being walloped by a deluge studded with exotic fish. "It's going to take a year's supply of the world's acrylic to make the one sheet of glass."
. . .
Hotel wizard Sol Kerzner is building his take on the lost city of Atlantis at the top of the fronds. And in the waters just off the man-made coast, the world's most treasured scuba diving sites will be re-created: the Maldives, the Barrier Reef, the Caymans, the Red Sea.

Another of the palm-shaped islands will be flanked by houses rising from the sea on stilts. Seen from overhead, the homes will be positioned to spell out a poem written by the crown prince: "Heed the wisdom of the wise: It takes a man of vision to write on water. Not everyone who rides a horse is a jockey. Great men rise to great challenges."
Hmmm. Did the reporter get all the facts straight? Murky, like the stirred up waters of the Gulf offshore of Dubai. Some of this is new to me. At least one of the projects was floated, but (I thought) had sunk.


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