I went to Dubai a few weekends back. I know, I know, I already live there. But we decided to hit up Atlantis for the night, and I have to say, wow, it’s a thankful world away from my version of Dubai. Hot pink super cars, middle aged men in Cavalli beach throws and cowboy hats, and fake tits thrusting their way out of teeny bikinis every which way you turn. The hotel itself is a heaving, seething mass of tourist. Massive groups of families waving cameras, too many selfie sticks to count, and queues of overdressed, over made up women wobbling in ankle breaking heels and bottom-skimming outfits waiting to be let in to stuff their faces with brunch. This is the place where a doubter could find everything they wanted to hate about our city. It’s over the top, garish and full of people who think they are all extremely important. Of course, the same could be said for a lot of places in Dubai. This is a city where there are chandeliers the size of a small country hanging in every hotel lobby, and if you aren’t wearing gold or silver on you, or carrying a decent handbag, you are cast out from society like an unwanted verruca. But visiting a hotel famed for its 15 minute, 100,000 fireworks launch right smack bang in the middle of a global recession, you realise just what the rest of the hotels have achieved, gold horses and all. This place should be amazing, but it makes my brain hurt. There’s a level of noise so incessant that you don’t even realise is there until the thankful hush of your room envelopes you. The people are friendly but overwhelmed by the sheer turnover of guests. No one gives the impression they could care less, because you’re just another face to add to the thousands that grace the corridors of this gigantic hotel every single day.
Maybe that’s the point; maybe it’s so big and so preposterous that no one should go there caring about the things I care about. I’m sure its a match made in heaven for some people. But for me, I was just glad to be able to drive away to my Dubai.