Dubai is a staggering place. Twenty years ago a small , unremarkable city, a clutch of low level buildings gathered around a few dusty roads, now it is fast becoming a vast and thriving metropolis, with unique and iconic skyscrapers and attractions, extravagent shopping arcades and some of the most luxurious hotels the world can offer (above photos show Dubai in 1991 and 2005). I was told yesterday that the city now boasts seven star hotels. Sounds a bit like Spinal Tap’s dial going up to 11 or footballers routinely giving 110% but hey ho, I won’t be staying in one so no matter..
For an interesting recent perspective on this unparalleled growth see Letter from Dubai: Head-Over-Heels Race to the Future Causes Growing Pains
We’ve got a booth at DEAL (k6) and plan to have a few boxes of Devon’s finest fudge on our table, our "freebies" for the show. Should last a few hours, if in fact they make it that far.
This is just about the busiest time of the year for parks across the world (at least in the Northen hemisphere) as peak season approaches and those that have lain dormant over long, cold winters spark into life with a flurry of new rides and attractions. The TVs are full of ads, the papers of stories trumpeting the latest coaster’s arrival. Opening Tuesday, it will be interesting to see how Myrtle Beach’s Hard Rock Park does and whether it lives up to the expectation of business leaders (see Leaders hope park leads to new tourism) 30, 000 a day are hoped for in the summer.
Speaking of music, good news for film fans recently, with reports that Madonna is to remake Casablanca with, wait for it, the good lady herself in the Ingrid Bergman role. One has to wonder, has she seen the film? Does it need "reimagining"? Didn’t any of her entourage think to delicately suggest that a lady of , ahem, advancing years and one not, errrr, particularly renowned for her thespian talents, might not be the best option? Brings to mind Cliff Richard’s casting of himself as Heathcliff in the musical -yes, the musical- version of Wuthering Heights in London years ago; an act of hubris serving to highlight a misreading of both book and self.
I hope Dubai’s taxi drivers hold me in higher esteem than those in Mumbai. It must be something in my manner but I am constantly offered digressions on my route. "Handicrafts sir? Massage?" Erm no actually, I’m going back to my hotel. "Just the massage then sir?" No, I’m exhausted, I need to rest back at the hotel. A long pause. "Ok sir, then the massage?" No, please mate, I just want to go back to the hotel. "Ah yes, I understand ; just the handicrafts then…."