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Tag Archives: art

I’m always interested in the displays on the fourth plinth at Trafalgar Square. Because I’m in London once or twice a year, the art changes nearly every time I revisit.  This time exhibit is somewhat different.  It’s changing constantly.  When I was there earlier this afternoon, this man was reading various messages from the people at the square.

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I visit Dubai almost monthly and I’ve never seen it this quiet.  The airport, the roads, the shops and restaurants – all seem to be looking for disappearing trade.  Taking into account the financial crisis around the world, and how much Dubai relies on foreign trade, it’s not a surprise.   The place has been exploding into something much larger than its own foundations, and this was simply unsustainable.

There are challenges and many projects are being shelved, but this is a breathing time for Dubai that is well overdue. There is also a shy positive feeling when you talk to business leaders.  I saw a manufacturing company, a petroleum terminal manager and a banker.  All agreed that this is not a collapse but a correction.  A correction that Dubai has needed for some time.  A moment for reflection to avoid going too far (more than now). 

Signs of progress are as visible as the cancelled projects.  I saw a train moving on the tracks at Sh Zayed Road.  On Monday, there was a visit  by the leader of the UAE to all the major Dubai projects.  It was a clear signal to the region, and the world, that Abu Dhabi stands behind what Dubai is doing.  Sure, they will probably buy a nice portion of it, but I hope it’s a clear indicator that this magnificent ship on the Gulf will continue to sail.

 

This is Mr Haitham Elarab from Syria.  He is a master at making ‘Igal’ or ‘Egal’ and he learned this from his late father.  I walked into his shop this afternoon after having lunch at Souq Waqif.  Although the souq is a tourist area, with many shops selling antiques made last week and useless ugly house decorations, they do have a few shops that in my opinion, are little gems.  The three that I remember well are a shop that specialises in making Uud, the gulf’s number one musical instrument; a photo shop that sells images of the area and has a small studio to take photos of foreigners in local dress (he has a fantastic collection of antique cameras – but not for sale); and this tiny Igal shop.

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