Its skyline erupting from the desert in just two decades, Dubai is a cautionary tale about what money canâ€™t buy: a culture of its own.
"Here in one long panorama is the Dantean vision of modern Dubaiâ€”the Arabs huddled in a glass dome, looking like creatures from a Star Trek episode in their sepulchral winding-sheet dishdashas. Next to them are the stands for Westerners, mostly British, loud and drunk, dressed in their tarty party gear. The girls, raucous and provocative, have fat thighs that wobble in tiny frocks. Cantilevered bosoms lurch. The boys, spiky and gelled, glassy-eyed and leering. In the last enclosure, the Asians, packed in with families and picnics, excited to be out of the Portakabin dormitories and the boredom and the homesickness of Internet cafĂ©s. In front of them all are the ranks of wired-up security guards, making sure the layers of this mutually dismissive society donâ€™t pollute each other. After the horses have run, Elton John will perform."