Funny, Dubai LOOKS and FEELS pretty much the same as it did when I left just about three months ago for a summer romp around the world. Kinda’ frozen in time as it were.
Traffic’s still here, irritatingly. Likewise, I couldn’t find a convenient place to park at Mall of the Emirates the other day, and people were shopping in reasonable numbers. Sakura, my favourite sushi bar, was doing a brisk trade when I dropped in for sake and sashimi last night.
Yep, things appear normal for the most part…
But the headlines in my morning email from Maktoob Business look a little grim, at least with respect to the real estate sector, which seems to have taken on a distinctly un-boom-like patina: “Cityscape attendance tanks,” and “Top Dubai Developers Give Cityscape A Miss,” they claim from my inbox.
The only positive amongst them is “Emaar, Nakheel u-turn on Cityscape pullout,” and that one is mixed at best, causing more than one cynical commenter to speculate on why two government owned entities would reverse, at the eleventh hour, decisions not to take part in the event, attendance for which was down by 88% as late as last week, according to the Maktoob articles.
Random personal observations support the veracity of the gloomy headlines.
The villa next door to a friend’s in Jumeirah 2 has been vacant since the last tenants moved out in late June – it needs a lot of work, and the price, which would have been a bargain 18 months ago, may be scaring people off.
Another friend, who bought an investment flat in one of the newer developments, isn’t able to cover the mortgage with the rent, and so, instead of reaping returns is having to plough more money into the property.
On the positive side, real estate agents seem to be cautiously optimistic and many feel the market may have bottomed out.
The downturn may be good news for me. Perhaps I’ll finally be able to find a reasonably priced place in which to deposit myself for year or two, instead of moving from pillar to post like a Bedouin. I might even get my belongings out of storage (she wrote hopefully).
Meanwhile, my guess is that images such as those that captured the Palm emerging from the sea in the video below are probably at a bit of standstill…. At least for the moment.
But don’t dismiss Dubai just yet. It’s not the kind of place that’s likely to stay frozen in time for long…
Here’s a bit of background on the video, courtesy of NASA’s Earth Observatory:
To expand the possibilities for beachfront tourist development, Dubai, part of the United Arab Emirates, undertook a massive engineering project to create hundreds of artificial islands along its Persian Gulf coastline. Built from sand dredged from the sea floor and protected from erosion by rock breakwaters, the islands were shaped into recognizable forms, including two large palm trees. The first Palm Island constructed was Palm Jumeirah, and the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite observed its progress from 2000 to 2009.
Susan notes: to click through the time-lapse images one by one, and read the helpful explanation which accompanyies them, go to NASA Earth Observatory.
Fireworks Open Dubai’s Burj Khalifa
Dubai Frozen In Time (But Likely Not For Long)
Views From Top Of Burj Dubai Spire – SCARY!!
2010: The Trailer, A Creative Concept Well Executed
A Little Behind Schedule, But Oh-So-Spectacular On Video
Metaphor For Love To Hate Dubai Debate
How High is
High in Dubai?
Towers: Who’s On Top And Who’s Not
Why Blame It On Dubai?
the Ground in Dubai, and Taking Baby Steps
Letter to Johann Hari