The Sapient Ape

Life as an employed MBA grad during an economic recovery. DISCLAIMER: Everything written here is fiction.

Diamond in the Desert

So my posts have been kinda on the dark and gloomy side lately, or maybe more serious than usual.  It reflects my mood at the moment, but that will change soon.

This is just gonna be a short one — I’m in Dubai Airport right now on the way to Dhaka, so I have some time to kill.  I’m drinking a beer at 930 am local time.  I can’t believe how many immigrants live in this city/country.  I would say 25% of the population is East Asian, mostly Chinese and Indonesian.  About 40-50% is South Asian, most of them Bangladeshi.  And then you have the locals, who perhaps make up about 20%, with white people maybe making up 5-10% (although I can’t really tell that from the airport, but its an educated guess from the number of MBAs I know working here, multiplied by the number of hot stewardesses I see).

I stopped at one of the duty free stores and rocked out some Guitar Hero — I turned around after “No sleep till Brooklyn” and found I’d drawn a crowd — I guess I’m a rock star wherever I go — is there any way I can leverage that?!?!

Before I left I was dreading this trip, but my experience in the airport so far just reaffirms that I need to come back to Asia at some point.  It IS the future.  Infrastructure is so super-developed here — it really does make the US look like a third-world country.  I know this isn’t true everywhere, or even in the majority of places, but its true enough at the major hub cities around Asia.

Of course at the same time, society is more close-minded and conservative, but really, in Dubai at least, I don’t feel that its much more conservative than like Arkansas or something!   Diversity breeds openness.  Some people may dress more conservatively, but like I said, when its only 20% of the population you barely notice.  And multiply that by .4 for the number of women actually wearing that long black thing, and its really not a big number.

I think I could really clean up here, in terms of the ladies.  Ha ha!  Is that a joke?  I’m not really sure.  But I hear there’s a dearth of places where you can go out and meet people/women, which could be  a bit of a damper on the picking-up-chicks scenario.

A friend of mine also mentioned that reports of Dubai’s dying economy are greatly exaggerated — its no worse off than anywhere else right now.

That’s all for now, I guess — sitting at an airport bar is only so interesting.  More tomorrow or the day after… when I finally reach my destination — the hot, sweaty, dirty city that is my semi-home…. Dhaka.

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Filed under: traveling, , , , ,

4 Responses

  1. James says:

    But what does Dubai really have going for it? Their proximity to oil and that they are more hospitable to foreigners than other Middle Easter Countries.

    The locals (not foreign workers) of UAE aren’t particularly creative like in the US or willing to do alot of work for small pay like China.

    Of course Asia is the future. It has half of the world’s population.

    • Sapient Ape says:

      you’re right — dubai doesn’t inherently have much to offer. but the fact that they have had to import large numbers of foreigners, to the point that 50% or more of the city’s population is foreign, means that at some point, they’ll have reconcile with that immigrant population.

      and like new york, or london, and singapore, the conditions dubai has created — high immigrant population, open commerce laws, and a geographic location that is conducive to become a center for trade, are really all that these other mega cities had. its a formula that has worked the world over, and unless our underlying economic model takes a HUGE shift, a formula that will continue to work in the future.

      as far as the locals, you’re right, but as they get marginalized (true — foreigners have yet to gain all the rights that locals do), significant changes will be needed in their immigration law in order to quell the unrest that is inevitable in 20-30 years. dubai is a city that absolutely relies on its foreign labor, which actually IS cheap.

      and if we make the comparison to china — the local labor may be cheap, but in reality, from someone who has been there, there are really two chinas. urban, middle class china, and rural poor china — guess which one does all the labor cheaply?

      i’m not saying dubai is a great city — yet. but i am saying that it has many of the conditions necessary to become a city in its own right with its own culture, its own commerce that is not artificially created by its government, and its own civil society. if the government here continues to make the right decisions, they don’t really need the continued support from the oil economy to be successful.

  2. JGreenz says:

    It’s called a veil

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