Today is my 20th evening in Dubai and in a short span of time I have been lucky to experience the different tastes this city offers. Having visited middle east a couple of times I had thought Dubai also is not going to be any different to me but to my surprise it happened to be poles apart from all the other places I have visited so far. Barring the similarities with Middle East of extreme weather, endless desert and wide roads, the city differentiates itself in umpteen aspects. Let me bring to you the aspect of globalization in Dubai from a very different perspective of a change it has brought to every person in the city, with my own firsthand experience.
As I landed in Dubai, my journey here started with meeting an Arabian lady at the visa collection center at the airport followed by an Egyptian guiding me to the immigration counter where an Indian approved my entry in the city of Dubai – A city where 83% of the population is of expatriates. And guess what, the address where I first placed myself was the China cluster (Cluster - A decent word for what we call ‘mohalla’ in northern India). Out of curiosity, when I googled my location, I learnt that I am adjacent to France, Persia, Morocco and Greece clusters, that are not just named so, but the architecture of those clusters too exactly resembles the respective country. In no time, the count of countries that I learnt about in a span of 90 minutes was surpassing my finger count.
The story doesn’t end here. Next day, the ‘Academic City’, the place where my college is located, added one more flavor to my experience. The moment I stepped out of college bus, I came across the sign board to Heriot-Watt University (UK), American College of Emirates and Hult College (US). So again I was surrounded by the colleges from different parts of the world - the cultural experience of which I enjoyed in the common food court.
Now was the time for a city tour. It was really amazing to see the obsession of Dubai with the ‘BIG’ factor. Big roads, big mansions, big offices, big super markets, big malls and what not! How many of us can imagine a home with the personal beach. Dubai has made this possible with its launch of ‘The Palms’ – An artificially developed island on the sea with big homes and personal beaches. But this is not yet the limit. Next what the city is doing is beyond the expectations of many of us. Soon we will have “The WORLD” in Dubai – A 28+ billion dollar real estate project comprising of a set of islands by the name of each country, developed on an artificially reclaimed land that is 4 kms from the sea shore, in the shape of the world map. Just imagine your address as Mr X, India Island, Dubai. Truly unbelievable.
Of late, I happened to be at Ibn e Batuta Mall which to me is not just a mall but a classic architectural representation of 7 countries of the world, including India. Each block of the mall was giving a feel as if you are roaming in that country. You could just walk past the mall to have the feel of the whole world. To my best of the experiences, during Ramadan days, when I was sitting in the food court of one of the mall at the Iftar time, starting from my left I had an African, American, Egyptian, English, Arabian and Bangladeshi sitting one after the other in a single row enjoying their meal from the restaurants serving the authentic food from their country. I just wish I had the camera at that time.
I am wondering how come this city makes everything go global. At one point the threat of vanishing of oil reserves was taking a toll on the country’s economy but soon Dubai came out with a large-than-life idea of becoming ‘locally global’. What less would be that city, than a country, that has its own unique flag. We just have Maha-rashtra in the Rashtra (India) for the sake of it but Dubai is constantly making it happen with Cities in cities, countries in Malls making Dubai a mini-world in itself.
Desperately waiting for what next I am going to experience here.
A truly global city indeed!