Dubai notes – 1
April 25, 2008
After a quick incursion into Shimla, your dashing, jetsetting, and hopelessly inconsistent blogger was called to Dubai at a moment’s notice. So here we are then, looking progress in the face.
In the six months since I last visited, the pace of progress seems to have slowed. The papers are full of news about changes that aren’t cosmetic. Routine stuff like the price of cars and registration going through the roof, the push to get a very status-conscious people to use public transport. There’s news about a rice deal with India because of the shortage here. The price of vegetables has just about doubled (Which still does not explain how these guys can possibly pay Dh7.5 (roughly Rs85) for a packet of button mushrooms! You get the same weight for Rs25 in India), and other rising costs have forced schools to outsource bus services (It costs parents more). It’s somewhat alarming to see an entire class of workers squeezed out. I don’t know what the thinking is, but ‘squeezed out’ isn’t an exaggeration. It has happened in the past once before in the 90s, when a rule was passed to cancel the visas of workers who earned less than Dh4000 a month (or something like it). A little later those silly comparisons with Monaco started happening.
Anyway, so this is what’s happening: road rage, murders, outrage at costs. I’ll bet the planners didn’t take that into account. They did the cosmetic stuff, and that’s more or less ready. The real stuff, the real change, that you can’t see but can only feel, is currently underway. I’m being opaque at the moment, but the next few posts will illustrate what I mean.