Monday, 5 December 2011

The sand, the sea, and the air pollution

Strange place, Dubai. Awake to wondrous light and cheerful chittering of birds. And plenty to do -- this morning the Christmas concert in Isaak's school. He's in Class 1 (Kindergarten) comprising about 40 extremely energetic small people. They sang (mostly a capella, to train their self-reliance, we were assured by the Music teacher) some cheery songs about snowflakes. Really strong sense of disassociation -- outside 28 degrees Celsius. Lovely kids, multi-ethnic, not a child who is not bi-lingual.
Back home I read the International Herald Tribune and genned up about the euro,  the new government in Egypt, the changing attitude of Turkey towards Europe, and many other snippets worth contemplating.
In the afternoon we dropped Isaak for his Dutch lesson at Raffles School, and went to the Mall of the Emirates, an astonishing construction, about six stories high, vastly glassy, and boasting every kind of shop I have ever seen, from Carrefour to Boots, and strongly leaning towards the Italian sartorial elegancies...but also Fortnum and Masons, Selfridges, Debenhams and many such familiar emporiums!
We paused for an elegant refreshment on the top floor, beneath the glass cupola, and above us the warm blue sky.
Had speculaas cookies (delicious; note to all Dutch readers!) and fresh squeezed apple juice.
It does seem true that you can buy absolutely anything here, not just food.

Judy told us about the district where the Indians and Singhalese have their restaurants and food of excellent tastiness at a very low cost.
David and I plan to suss that out soon....

Ah yes -- the air pollution. Somewhat tempered by the winds that blow, but certainly there -- I taste the woolliness on my tongue, and get a headache from breathing the unclean traffic fumes. Few people walk very much here -- the car, taxi, bus and monorail are much used.
I have seen pictures of Dubai in the 1970s and later. A handful of low houses lining the shore.
Now humming with eccentric skyscrapers (largely uninhabited).

This place, scraped out of nothing in twenty years.Well-intentioned but no paradise -- yet...?

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