I knew going into this trip that Dubai is unlike anywhere I’ve visited, but I’m shocked at how different. The city itself looks fake; it’s all glass and metal and intensely Brand New World looking. And everything in it is a superlative - from the world’s tallest building to the worlds largest aquarium to the worlds only 7 star hotel.
The city area is super new, about 25 years old, and it’s as if people have had time to observe both ancient and more recent cultures and societies, and then fashion this one to be ‘perfect.’ It’s entirely tax free, but conversely it offers no unemployment or retirement benefits. Only about 10% of it’s inhabitants are citizens, and getting your citizenship here is one of the hardest to get in the world. If you marry a citizen, they wait ten years before granting you citizenship… Ya know to make sure the marriage is real. Children born in the country adopt their parents nationality so there’s no loophole there.
There’s emergency medical care free of charge for anyone: citizen, permanent inhabitant, expatriate, or tourist. And the whole city is made up of immigrants; Indians, other Middle Easterners, Europeans, Australians. A confirmation on a widely held stereotype - it is true, there’s an intense focus on luxury goods and appearances; the ratio of plastic surgeons to people is the highest in the world. And it’s one of the safest places in the world since, most or all people already have money. In fact, there are no law enforcing police officers - just traffic cops and cameras. Cameras! The average age is 30, and it’s about 75% men and 25% women. And yes, men can still legally marry up to four women. Like I said, ‘perfect’ society.