A few quick thoughts on Dubai where I stopped over for 2 nights.
This was my first visit here.
I imagined the city to be a place where people are never outside and just go from one air conditioned place to the next. A very „artificial “ place for lack of a better word.
It turns out that’s not necessarily the case. At least not in late March. From what I hear things are different in summer when you really cannot be outside anymore.
Dubai feels like a mixture between New York, Las Vegas and a theme-park.
The city has all the retail and fast food chains you would find in a major American city. People in the streets feel similar. Equally diverse and equally obsessed with cell phones, looking cool and consuming.
All in all a stark contrast to the genuine friendliness of the Sri Lankan people. However, I think this contrast would exist between any large Western city and Sri Lanka.
You can actually walk outside. The dry heat is very bearable and at night temperatures are very pleasant.
The city doesn’t feel like an organically grown organism because it hasn’t. Here, the location with the currently highest building in the world, was nothing but desert not even 50 years ago. Now there is a man-made island the form of a palm-tree, some of the best restaurants in the world and a indoor ski arena here. Unreal.
It is clean and seems safe. You pay almost no taxes. Salaries are high.
So settling in here is probably not a difficult thing to do. (I had a job offer here 5 years ago but turned it down without having seen the city)
Nonetheless the desert seems a place that would not offer many of the things I am fond of. No biking throughout the city. No boating on the river in the summer. No mountains in arms reach. Almost no old building substance. Limited public transport. Not a lot of green.
Not that it would be impossible to adapt.
Dubai is definitely a good place for catching some sun and living lavishly for a few days – however not recommended at the end of a sabbatical 😉