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30 March, 2007

The fall of the wall

The land northeast of the Burj Al Arab has long been the subject of trusty old expat rumour. Allegedly Mohammed Al Fayed owned it, and the government was reportedly having a devil of a time getting it back from the wily pharoah for development. But the fact that land in Dubai can be CPOd from any UAE national at any time for any reason rather files this legend into the unlikely folder.

Either way, Dubai's last decent stretch of public beach (the Russian beach in Jumeirah 1 is too overrun by perverts to qualify as usable without body shields) appeared to be under threat earlier this month. A huge great wooden barrier was put up, with construction of yet another yawnsome bloody beachfront development project set to begin.

But then suddenly this beachside Berlin Wall is to come down by order of Sheikh Mohammed, with construction work to cease:

"The good news came last night when Shaikh Mohammad instructed Dubai Municipality to stop the construction work immediately and remove the boundary wall erected to cordon off the beach for a construction project.

"The beach should be left open for the public, the municipality was told. A major part of the Jumeirah beach in Umm Suqeim near Burj Al Arab was blocked by the developer for construction work earlier this month."

What could be the reason for the sheikhly change of heart? Surely not the thousands of angry surfers, sunbathers and swimmers firing off emails and signing internet petitions. Last year's tepid tourism figures may be a likelier bet.

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Blogger Unknown said...

If you didn't link GN, I would probably consider this post as an early classic secretdubai April fools prank. ;)

30 March, 2007 10:12  
Blogger meeja tramp said...

What a cracking result - and thank you Sheikh Mohammed for stopping the construction. Whatever led to this decision (logic, compassion, or response to the petitions), we should be grateful.

I wonder what plot of land the developer will use now?

30 March, 2007 10:18  
Blogger ann said...

To be frank, I love what Sheikh Mohammed is doing with Dubai. I admire his visionary leadership and damn, wish that leaders of other nations would show the same passion and sensitivity that he does.

Sometimes absolute power is not a bad thing.

If he's reactive to tourism stats, that's a good thing in my opinion.

30 March, 2007 10:55  
Blogger Mme Cyn said...

Can't quite say I agree with you, Ann, since we really don't need the world's tallest/biggest/most/ only/first anything adding to the chaos and construction zone, but I will applaud the decision to keep the beach open to the public. THIS is the kind of 'vision' I can respect.

30 March, 2007 14:28  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We've just had a 40 comment blog post on the topic this week and there are loads of skeptics refusing to belive the petition made an ounce of difference...

K9 yes...!

Beach wall - politics?

30 March, 2007 16:22  
Blogger Seabee said...

Considering who the directors of Zabeel Investments are, this is a decision that many would have thought wouldn't have been taken. So much for wasta!

I also think the decision is about tourism, plus the reported objections from Emirati beachfront villa owners. And a good decision it is on both counts.

30 March, 2007 16:29  
Blogger Slagothor said...

A couple of months ago the Times had a "Top 100 holiday destinations" feature. Guess which city didn't make the list.

Dubai is now passe for western tourists. Abu Dhabi is doing a smarter thing by trying to cater to Arab tourists. I mean, you're more likely to get some repeat business fom them. Who comes to Dubai twice?

30 March, 2007 17:02  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

humans are so greedy, while living they want this and that!

When Dead, They still want a Land and Coffin.

There is really NO-END to Human Desire.

30 March, 2007 20:39  
Blogger ann said...

Mme Cyn and others, here is my prediction.

(Use it, don't use it.)

One day in about a decade or so you will be living wherever, in your home country or in another emerging city.

And you will look at Dubai and feel proud somehow, even if you can't put your finger on why, and you'll say to your friends that you were a part of that.

Whatever you are doing now is making a difference. And you're playing a part in evolving an astonishing global urbanisation story.

30 March, 2007 21:24  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why would anybody want to visit Dubai? I last went there in 1997, and
that was enough. Does Dubai offer anything apart from tacky super-malls
and thousands of acres of shiny Arab marble? Not to mention the awful
humidity. I do remember a couple of decent Mexican restaurants serving
absurdly large portions of food, and a mousy librarian type hooker from
Slovenia I met in a disco. That was Dubai in a nutshell, really.

31 March, 2007 00:13  
Blogger BuJ said...

I'm not surprised to be honest.. I'm happy though.

With such an ever mushroom-cloud-growing city, it's normal for one part of the system not to be talking to another..

dis-economies of scale.

So when the Sheikh Mo heard of it, he dealt with it. Good work me says.

It's for the "greater good".. and if u've seen Hot Fuzz you know what I mean.

31 March, 2007 03:07  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To be honest I think this is still going to go ahead. They'll probably remove the fence, start reclaiming the land and only at the very end close off the beach.

31 March, 2007 23:24  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why are you worried about more beach when The World is creating 232 kms of new beachfront? hehe:

01 April, 2007 14:12  
Blogger JoeBlogs said...

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Name :
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What did you learn from your first love?
Are there any blogs, you enjoy reading?
What's it like living in Dubai?
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Tell us about a good deed you have done recently.
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(please include any picture at all that you want to add to the interview)

15 April, 2007 18:25  

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