Saturday, April 14, 2007

Dubai - some thoughts.

Dubai is an interesting city. The way it has sprung up from nothing. This is one of it’s kind. The last two or three decades have changed the face of this once barren land. In fact it is a case study for any aspiring nation. A detailed history is available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dubai.

Dubai, the emirate, is divided into two by the Dubai Creek. At one side the old city, Deira and it’s suburbs and on the other side Bur Dubai. Deira is a Flat, horizontal city due to the proximity of International airport. Only around the creek area, it has high rises. But Bur Dubai has tall skyscrapers all around. Construction of many of them going on at full speed. The Ruler of Dubai, Sheik Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has ordered to finish all the construction by the year of 2020. The Maktoum dynasty is the first family and has been ruling Dubai since 1833. It’s their vision and foresight that made dubai from a small time port to what it is today. Unlike it’s sister emirates, oil accounts only 6% of it’s GDP. Trade and tourism constitutes most of its revenue.
It is truly a cosmopolitan city. The locals are a minority, Indian, Pakistani & Philippine citizens constitute the expatriate majority. Others like Sri Lankans, Europeans and Americans are also made Dubai their second home. Dubai doesn’t issue citizenship to other nationalities. Only exception is when the new-borns mother is UAE citizen. Otherwise the Expatriates children will also be expatriates.
Dubai is an Islamic State, governed by the Shari’a Law. Sunni Muslims are majority, though Shia sect can maintain their mosques. Government doesn’t give any grants but Sunni mosques are maintained by the Government. Unlike other emirates, Dubai offer religious freedom and has many Hindu Temples and Sikh Gurudwaras as well as Christian Churches. But distributing religious pamphlets are a criminal offence and will result in Jail or deportation.
The climate is most extreme. In winter it is really cool and the temp touches 10 degree Celsius. But in Summer, alas!, it goes upto 45-50! Air Condition is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. Most of the people own a car, since petrol is much cheaper. Cheaper than parking lots! The biggest problem is finding a parking space. Dubai has Public transport, Buses and Metro railway construction is progressing very fast. By next year end, the Railway will be commissioned, and unlike in India, their deadlines are meant to keep. No extension will be given! Now I am thinking of the doubling of Virar Borivli line. How long that has been going on? Anybody have an Idea as to when that will be finished? May be another 10 years

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