Dubai from the perspective of its young, male workers

http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2008/09/22/world/20080922DUBAI_17.html

Link directs you to a New York Times media slideshow titled Generation Faith: Away From Home in Dubai. The slideshow includes 17 photographs of life in Dubai from the perspective of young men who have moved to Dubai recently in hopes for a better life. They give their perspective about Dubai’s take on the economy, religion and culture.

Slide 3 excerpt:

Taj Maarafi, 24, is from Tunisia, and has lived in Dubai for almost two years. He works as a waiter. “I miss my life in Tunisia – but I’m not going back. I have an independence here that I wouldn’t have even if I made more money back home. I’m making my own future. This is one thing in Dubai: you’re not part of a family, or a group. You come here as an individual, and this is how people see you.”

Beyond the Spectacle

The genius of Dubai is that it began as one of the least resource-rich states in the Arabian Gulf. The modest oil reserves discovered in the 1960s were projected to run out long before those of its oil-rich neighbors. That led its ruler, Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, to initiate an aggressive strategy to create a diversified economy that would outlast the oil boom. “Whilst others were engaged in political rhetoric, giving politics priority over the economy and over development programs, creating slogans like ‘No voice should speak louder than the voice of war,’ Dubai was working, distancing itself from the shouting,” Maktoum’s son and current ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, told a Kuwaiti newspaper in 2003. “Progress provides power to politics. Without power, politics is a wretched business. By power, I mean economic power, the strength of economic development.”

Oil now makes up barely five percent of Dubai’s GDP, compared to more than half in 1980. The economy is growing by 16 percent a year, among the fastest in the world. Retail, construction, real estate, and financial services are leading the economic boom, not oil. Five million tourists pass through Dubai every year. Its pop­ulation of 1.4 million, composed of at least 60 percent guest workers from South Asia earning two to three times the average income in their home countries, is growing by four percent every year. “People and materials are the biggest constraints,” says John Braley, a development manager at Turner International, which is overseeing 19 large projects in Dubai. “There are not enough human beings on earth right now to deal with construction.” Most development projects are sold out within days of being announced. They cannot be built fast enough to keep up with demand from buyers in Iran, India, Eastern Europe, and the U.K., and are often paid for by the time they’ve been completed.

Full Story: http://www.metropolismag.com/story/20071121/beyond-the-spectacle

Dubai Nature

​Dubai enjoys an arid subtropical climate, with blue skies and sunshine all year round. The hottest months are between June and September whereas the coolest time is between December and March. There is very little rainfall in Dubai, but when showers do fall it is mainly in the cooler months.

Dubai, with an area of 3,885 square kilometers, is the second largest emirate in the UAE. Situated on the banks of the Dubai Creek, a natural inlet from the Gulf which divides the city into the Deira district to its north and Bur Dubai on its south, the city ranks as the UAE’s most important port and commercial center.

The UAE has 700 kilometers of coastline, of which 100 kilometers are on the Gulf of Oman. Along the Arabian Gulf coast there are offshore islands, coral reefs and sabkha, or salt-marshes. Stretches of gravel, plain and barren desert characterize the inland region.
To the east, a range of mountains lies close to the Gulf of Oman and forms a backbone through the Mussandam Peninsula. The western interior of the country, most of it in Abu Dhabi, consists mainly of desert interspersed with oasis.