A Dragon In Dubai

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Never in my entire life has it taken me so long to visit a desired location. As just one example, I’ve had iconic images of the Burj Al Arab and/or the Burj Kalifa as the background on my phone or my laptop for over seven years. I’ve always wanted to go to Dubai. The problem is that unlike places in Asia or Europe, Dubai isn’t close to anything else. If I go to Asia, Europe, Australia, or just about anywhere, I can always go to multiple places and get a lot of things done in one trip.

-By Caleb Jones

However, Dubai is a tiny oasis within a land of chaos, surrounded by places too dangerous for me to go (Iraq, Iran, the ISIS faux-caliphate etc) or places I can’t easily go (foreigners can’t go to Saudi Arabia unless invited). So if you go to Dubai from the USA, it’s pretty much the only place you’ll visit, at least easily. Therefore, this is my first visit to Dubai, as well as my first visit to the Muslim world in general and the Middle East in particular. My expectations were very high. Fortunately, they were met. What a fantastic place this is! Very similar to China, Dubai has the goal of being the “greatest country in the world” (although it's not a country) and unlike Collapsing USA or Suicidal Europe, they are very serous about this. That’s why they have (or recently had):

The tallest building in the world (Burj Kalifa) The tallest residential building in the world (Princess Tower) Largest man-made island in the world (Palm Jumeria) Tallest residential block in the world (7 out of the 10 tallest residential buildings in the same block) The only 7-star hotel in the world (Burj Al Arab) A fucking ski slope (with snow and everything) in the middle of the desert Largest mall in the world (Dubai Mall, and no, abandoned malls in China don’t count) And so on. (Nitpickers are free to fact-check everything above since I don’t care; even if it’s not 100% correct at this time, it was at one time or is very close.)

They aren’t screwing around in Dubai; they’re very serious here. New construction here is insane; you can’t go more than two blocks in any of the downtown areas (and there are multiple "downtowns") without bumping into a construction site of a new high rise going up. Seriously, the construction is so ubiquitous that it's actually hard to walk around. To be fair, much of the money in Dubai is actually money from the real store of wealth in the UAE, Abu Dhabi. So I’m not sure what percentages of all this prosperity and economic growth are from A) real economic growth, B) oil, or C) Abu Dhabi debt. Probably all three.

Anyway, let’s get on with it. This place is awesome beyond belief…

1. The People. If you didn’t already know, Dubai is the primary city in the United Arab Emirates, a very wealthy, but tiny country where its native inhabitants (Arabic people called Emiratis) are vastly outnumbered by millions of foreigners they’ve had to import to support their booming economy. Therefore, only about one-forth of the people you see walking around are actually Arabs. Everyone else are whites, Indians, Pakistanis, dark-skinned Asians like Filipinos and Malaysians, a few African blacks. Much like cities such as Vancouver and Singapore, it’s multiracial as hell, far more so than the melting pot of the USA.

I was surprised to see that there are a lot of white people here. Usually when I travel, I feel like I’m the only one, but there are white people all over Dubai. However, “white” does not mean “American.” I seriously am starting to think I’m the only North American in the entire city. I’ve been here almost a week, been all over the place, and I’m the only white person I’ve encountered who speaks English with an American accent. Most white people here don’t even speak English as their native language, hailing from various parts of Europe or Russia. Only twice have I ran into native English speakers so far (two guys from Australia and an old couple from Scotland).

That being said, everyone here speaks English, and I mean everyone. Sometimes it’s hard to understand the English (even when spoken by the white people!) but the prevalence of the English language here is impressive. I have not encountered anyone here, of any race, who doesn’t speak English. Even cities like Hong Kong can’t say the same. Many Muslim men here are dressed in those long white gowns (called thobes), and many, though not all of the Muslim women are dressed in the female versions. Some women wearing full-on burqas are present, but not the norm. If you didn’t know, a burqa is a a female-only black robe that literally covers her entire body, head, and face, only showing her eyes, like some kind of weird ninja. For the first day or two, seeing women like this would momentarily shock me until I became accustomed to it. (It’s quite a shock to Western eyes to be in a convenience store and suddenly have a fucking ninja come around the corner.)

Most women are not dressed like this, however. Again, most women here are not Muslims, so they dress as normal and as sexy as they do in the West. Most Muslim women who are dressed in traditional garb wear a hijab, which simply covers their hair and head, but leaves their entire face exposed. Some of these women wear their Muslim-appropriate hijabs on their heads while also wearing tight, sexy jeans and tight shirts with their big boobs popping out. Ah, Islam. The most hilarious couples I see are when the Muslim wife is covered head-to-toe with a burqa and the Muslim husband is dressed perfectly normal with a T-shirt and shorts. Fucking hilarious. A classic representation of men’s insecurities when it comes to women. Societal Programming is so stupid.

There are a lot of little kids and families here, more so than I notice in other cities. Not sure why, other than the fact that like most Alpha Male 1.0 cultures, bigger families with more kids are probably encouraged. Speaking of that, the men here definitely have a more confident, Alpha Male look and swagger than those in the Collapsing West. I suppose this is not surprising.
2. The Women. Oh yeah, it's good. On my city chart of how cities rank in terms of female attractiveness, Dubai places solidly in the low end of the attractive zone, about one notch above Vancouver BC. (As a matter of fact, if I were to describe the women in general, Dubai is much like Vancouver BC, only with more Arabs.) Low end attractive means that, while not chock full of hotties like places such as LA or Miami Beach, lots of very attractive women are relatively common here in Dubai. Many Arabic women are extremely beautiful. Big eyes, big lips, trim yet curvy bodies, with big boobs and nice round butts. So yeah man, praise be to Allah and stuff.

The Indian/Pakistani/Hindu women are also attractive here, provided they’re young. Like Hispanics, Indian/Pakistani/Hindu women tend to gain a lot of weight very quickly, so by the time they hit their late twenties, they tend to be overweight and more or less unattractive. Not sure if this is a biological challenge with the race or not. Regardless, before they hit their late twenties, damn, they’re gorgeous, almost as good as what I saw in Fiji.

There are a few hot white women here, but they’re pretty rare, as most of the white women here are just average, at least to my American eyes. The one exception to this is at the very expensive hotels, such as the Burj Al Arab, where during the evenings, you’ll see a non-stop parade of Russian and European gold digger babes with their wealthy Arab “boyfriends.” As usual, overweight women (and men) are rare here (Indian women excepted), something always strange for me to see. Even older women keep their figures very well here. This is a testament, I think, to the higher income and wealth levels of Dubai residents.

I’ve never had sex with a full-on Arabic/Muslim woman so I have no idea how difficult women like this would be to get into bed. Hardcore Christian women the US tend to be sexually easy (as an overreaction to their oppressive upbringings) so my wild guess is that hardcore Muslim women would also be easy, but this is only a assumption on my part. Those of you with more experience dating native Arabic Muslim women are free to describe your experiences in the comments.

3. Incredible Wealth. Dubai is probably the wealthiest nation I’ve ever visited, and I’ve been to some very wealthy places (New York, London, Hong Kong, Singapore, etc). I’ve never been to Monaco, but I would be surprised if Monaco matched the ostensible wealth that is showcased in Dubai. As just one random example, here’s a pic of a typical parking lot in Dubai: A fucking Aston Martin, next to a Nissan, next to a Porsche, next to a Mercedes. Cars like this are ubiquitous and normal in Dubai. They made a man made island called the Palm Jumerah, shaped like a giant palm tree, and configure specifically so every house on the island is beach front property. It’s covered in nice homes, mansions, and super expensive resorts. The map looks like this:

I spent an entire day exploring the island, including taking a cruise around it. It's ridiculous and beautiful.  From a distance it looks like this: There is a lot of money here. As such, there is a lot of demand for adventurous entrepreneurs. When I told people I was a business consultant, they got wide-eyed and eagerly asked for my contact information. (This could also be because I’m a white Westerner; not sure.) I’ll write more about this at my other blog.

Everything about the city is new and clean. All the buildings are new and amazing, or at least look that way, even the old-fashioned ones. This is also the cleanest city I’ve ever seen; it easily ties with Singapore. Trash is virtually nonexistent, and I consciously looked for it.

4. Is Dubai Dangerous? This was the first time in my entire life where I was actually a little nervous flying out to visit a new land. All the reasons I had were stupid, emotional ones that were more than covered by the 2% Rule, but I’m only human and am still prone to irrational feelings sometimes.

One reason was because I had to fly over the North Pole in order to get here. Most people don’t realize that the Earth is not shaped like a sphere, but more like an oval. This means if you want to fly from one side of the Earth to another “side,” it’s often faster to fly over the top than directly through the equator. Thus, flying from the Seattle airport to Dubai means you’re going to fly over the top of the planet. I’ve never flown over the North Pole and it felt a little weird. Not sure why this would bother me, since I fly over the Pacific all the time, but again, emotions.

The second reason was that we had to fly through Iranian airspace during the final leg of the flight. I have all kinds of American Societal Programming telling me that Iran is a land of evil, and my child mind summoned pictures of our plane getting shot down by a Stinger missile or something. On top of that, my Dubai visit was at the same time a coup was occurring in Saudi Arabia, which is just next door to the UAE. And being just a few hundred miles from ISIS-land feels a little weird.

Lastly, over the years I’ve heard all kinds of horror stories about Westerners getting thrown in jail at the Dubai airport for having things like normal vitamins in their bags. When I travel, I have a veritable pharmacy with me. I have 14 different kinds of vitamins, plus my testosterone needles, and all kinds of other crap. What if, I thought on the plane, when I arrive, they search through my bag and get upset and throw me in jail for a month like that one UK journalist I read about last year?

It was all stupid of course. Dubai doesn’t even have a customs to speak of. You just show them your passport, then throw your bag into a quick metal detector (not an x-ray, just a metal detector) and you’re done. Very fast and efficient. As usual, all the nitpickers and hand-wringers were wrong. The supposedly “dangerous” nation of Dubai was the fastest and easiest entry process of any country I’ve ever visited in my entire life, and I’ve been all over the world. Like I said, Dubai is awesome.
5. The Heat. Awesome doesn't mean perfect. Now we get to a real problem. Dubai is in the Arabian dessert, obviously. This means it’s around 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 Celsius) pretty much year round. I came during one of the “cooler” times of the year, yet it was still around 88 degrees every day at least. The sun is unusually oppressive here, being the desert and so close to the equator, in ways it’s not in other parts of the world. I’ve never used so much goddamn sunblock in my entire life. It was so hot that I had to get a small handkerchief and carry it around with me so my face wouldn’t become drenched as I explored the city.

The good news is that there is very low humidity here, so the air is crisp and dry. There’s also a very nice, near-constant breeze that comes off the ocean, which helps a lot and often feels really nice. When you’re sitting in the shade, it’s actually quite pleasant. Therefore, I place Dubai’s heat in the “irritating” category rather than the “oh my god I want to kill myself” category that you experience in places like Singapore.

I’m not the only one who finds the heat irritating. Very strangely, there are very few people walking around the city during the daytime. There are plenty of cars, but very few pedestrians. Often it’s just you and perhaps one other person walking on a huge sidewalk or open square. However, as soon as the sun starts coming down, the floodgates open and suddenly there’s mobs of people everywhere, and it’s like this until late into the evening. I’ve never seen this happen in any other city, including very hot cities. Interesting.

6. The infrastructure is fantastic. The airport, taxis, trams, buses, and subway system are all top-notch. They’re not perfect… they’re not as good as urban Asia, but they are light-years beyond anything in the Collapsing West. They even have air conditioned bus stops: I always gauge a city’s subway system based on how efficient it is, how clear and easy it is to get around if you’re new, and how inexpensive it is. This creates a scale that goes from mind-blowingly amazing (Shanghai) to shockingly and embarrassingly bad (Australia). Dubai ranks up near the top, just under China and Hong Kong and about tied with Japan. I always knew exactly how to navigate the system very quickly, and it was very cheap; about 80 cents US to travel across town in a nice, fast, and clean subway car.

One very weird and stupid thing about the subway system in Dubai though. One day I hopped onto the subway, and noticed that everyone in my subway car was female. I thought it was weird, but then quickly ignored it. Then I noticed that two of the women were giving me strange looks, like there was something on my face. I checked my face to see if anything was there, and nope, everything was fine. Why were they giving me this weird vibe?

I then saw the sign. It said that this entire section was for women only(!) and that there was a 100 dirham fine for any man standing in it(!). What. The. Fuck. I grumbled and moved down a car length to the “normal” section. Sure enough, there was a pink line on the floor saying that only women and children were allowed on “this side.” Both ends of almost every subway in Dubai are like this. It often creates a weird logjam of crowded men right before the line, and on the other side of the line are women just chilling out with tons of room. What possible fucking reason would Dubai have for this insanity? What a dumb idea. Anyway, that’s my only complaint about it. It’s a great subway system nonetheless.

7. The architecture of Dubai is absolute amazing and creative, as good as anything in the Rising East. Entire skyscrapers shaped like circles, spheres, sailboats, and all kinds of other crazy shapes, not to mention the tallest building in the world, the Burj Kalifa, a building I spent a lot of time in and around. My apartment was right next to it. Simply amazing. As usual, buildings like this are rare and unusual in the Collapsing West. In Dubai they are the norm.

I have a lot more to say about Dubai, but I will write about it at my other blog. Other than the heat, it’s an exciting and near-perfect city. I’m having an absolutely fantastic time here, and Dubai now officially ranks as my third-favorite city in the entire world, right under Hong Kong and Shanghai. My stay here is eight days, and I could have easily added an additional two weeks to that and still found plenty of exciting things to do and see the entire time, as well as get some work done and make some money. I will now start visiting Dubai on a semi-regular basis for both financial and recreation reasons, much as I now visit Asia regularly. What an amazing place.

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