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06 December, 2003

Walking on Water

Faced with the obvious failure of Abu Dhabi to remotely resemble Monaco in any way, shape or form, a PR supremo hosts an impromptu focus group to determine how to market the UAE capital.

After considerable earnest thought and discussion, a tagline is achieved:

"Abu Dhabi: compared to Riyadh, it's not that bad."

The next idea is to quietly sweep away Abu Dhabi and a few hundred miles of sand and instead reposition Al Ain, the Oasis City, as a suburb of the capital.

This enthralling brainstorming takes place in a far more likely candidate for the Middle Eastern Monaco: Manama, Bahrain. (It has a Grand Prix and starts with an "M" at least). What is most endearing about Bahrain is that it is too small. So rather than invade any neighbours for more lebensraum, they have simply increased its size by reclaiming acres of land from the shallow Gulf.

Which leads one to imagine a day when Bahrain will usurp Australia as the world's largest island, stretching from Kuwait to Oman like a sort of sandy banana.

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