Sunday, 19 September 2010

Reality Check

Some of my friends have been getting very excited about Camp Rock 2. My kids love this stuff. When they watch it though, I have to remind them that there aren't really people like that. In the canteen at secondary school, no-one is suddenly going to break into song; everyone does not turn up to high school dressed to kill with perfect hair and perfect teeth. Life isn't quite like that.

In the same vain, I try to remind my students that Dubai is not typical of the rest of the world; or in fact the rest of the Middle East (as a recent trip to Egypt confirmed for me). The rest of the world doesn't have malls that are cleaner than your home bathroom; for most people the highlight of the week is not getting a manicure and a pedicure at the beach club or attending the 'all you can eat and drink' brunch at the Atlantis Hotel for 70GBP. The rest of the world doesn't make 40000 aed a month and have a maid to clean up after them. Dubai is situated in a bubble - a bit like the Eden project - there is no reality here - a bit like Camp Rock. There is no freedom of the press here either - this is toytown. A good example would be the report that only 83 cars were stolen here in Dubai last year - who are they trying to kid? There are an estimated 3000 cars dumped at Dubai airport, because the outstanding finance on them is more than the value of the car - is that not stealing?

 In a real world like the US, 37 million people can't afford healthcare - 37 million people who can't afford to see a doctor if they are sick. Most people in Dubai spend the equivalent of the healthcare premiums at brunch once a week, or on a hair cut.

Of course, there are places in Dubai that are like the real world: Satwa and Karama. I love them both. They are full of shops that you walk around OUTSIDE. The streets are dirty and the people, normal. They do, however,  try to sell you 'genuine' fake Brietling Watches and D&G handbags which makes you wonder why people bother with the real thing from the designer boutiques in the malls.

Anyway, I can't stop to chat, I'm off to get a mani and pedi before picking up my D&G handbag, and going for brunch.

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