Dubai thinks of itself as a tourist destination, as well as a trading center, so they’re big on name brands. Right next the outlet mall, just a few miles from our apartment in Silicon Oasis, there’s the beginnings of a Universal Studios theme park. Like lots of things here, it’s merely been sketched out. The surveying lines have been drawn, there’s some lines on a map, and maybe the beginnings of some roads that have been blown over with sand since they were first scratched into the terrain with machinery.
So they’ve got the famous arch from Hollywood, the one that Paramount Studios in Hollywood had, and maybe Universal as well, though in my time in Los Angeles I don’t remember ever seeing a Universal Studios arch. But I can report that they have one here in the Arab Emirates, as well, just waiting for a theme park to sprout in the sand behind it. But there are a lot of half completed construction projects still waiting for the economic slowdown to speed up, and this one doesn’t seem to be going anywhere too soon. There’s a camel racetrack just down the road a bit that seems to be getting business, and the Outlet Mall next door isn’t doing too badly. But it seems positively spartan compared to the lavish Emirates and Dubai Malls ten miles north.