My family lived in Dubai in the 1970’s, when employees willing to move there received an additional wage called “hardship pay.”
Sheikh Rashid Bin Said Al Makhtoum was the benevolent ruler who only had one wife, by choice. He was wise in his dealings and generous to our Girl Scout Troop, allowing us to ride horses from his stables.
Jumeirah Beach was a lovely stretch of beach where our company hosted “seafood bawls,” a Louisiana cuisine staple. Shrimp, crabs, potatoes, onions and corn on the cob were boiled in huge pots. Newspaper was spread on makeshift tables made from planks of plywood on sawhorses, and the feast was piled on the newspaper.
We, the “younguns” would venture away from the lights around the tables to explore abandoned buildings, now only foundations. We heard nothing but the wind and waves as they lapped the beach. Oh, and our laughter, filled the night as we played.
New Dubai is a parody, a facade, truly castles and industries built on the sands of an artificial playground. Nothing left of the once beautiful and old world charm. It saddens me, because I see behind the mask.
If you read the news, you know how even wives and daughters of the rulers of Dubai are treated. How those of the servant class are treated, virtually slaves. Glamor on display, but squalor and degradation behind the glitz and glamor.
I mourn the “hardship” of my Dubai. It was home to me and this new Dubai is a transient place with a false face.