Tuesday, February 17

Oasis Or Mirage

What would Bond say?
I return to the land of the weird and the strange. A gold Porsche Carrera greets me at the Abu Dhabi airport along with a third-world scrum.  It is a most inglorious welcome to the wealthiest city in the world (2007), according to Fortune Magazine.

Once outside, the temps are a pleasant 80 degrees in the late evening. In several months, during the daytime, the thermometer will climb above 130 degrees. I think of this as I jog, the only pedestrian for miles. It takes me two hours to stop sweating afterwards and the dude at the gym looks at me as though I have taken a shower in my suit. In fairness, it looks like I have taken a shower in my suit.

Abu Dhabi is under construction, fueling its economy, as buildings compete to reach the highest mark (the Khalif's benevolent terrifying face looks down upon us from twenty painted stories on many building sides). None can compete with Dubai's Burj Khalifa yet my hotel room, on the 37th floor, looks up a further 33 stories.

Next to the four magnificent Etihad towers, where I am staying, is the ugliest building I have ever seen : gold plated, ten story exterior atrium on the middle floors, a Battlestar Galactica design. 60 floors of pure shiet. Towers, it seems, are in such high demand that anyone can build one. I can't imagine that Abu Dhabi's real estate is anywhere near half filled.