Saturday, August 31, 2013

DUBAI - Ugly Duckling

To be fair, I knew Dubai was going to be pretty remarkable. The biggest this. The tallest that. The shiniest, most gleaming, diamond encrusted one of these, all thrusting unapologetically from the desert like an amped-up Oz. And until recently I could kind of take it or leave it. Dubai, to me, seemed contrived. A constructed freak show. A grotesque, urban, Frankenstein's monster. Bits of this and that mashed together and forced brutally onto a culture desperately trying to create the future at all costs.

I should declare a bias here. I was for a time employed by the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, and the look-at-me-ness of neighbouring Dubai was, I felt, tolerated in the way an older, more conservative sister might a brash, attention seeking, superficial sibling. What has she done this time? So, when I visited to attend Arabian Travel Market 2013 (courtesy of the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing) my expectations were, I guess, framed by that experience.

Sunday, August 11, 2013


Small Town, USA. Easy to miss.
I know you shouldn't have regrets. But there is that saying about only regretting the things you haven't done. You know the one.

Travel lends itself to those. Opportunities that present themselves fleetingly on the road. Sometimes repeatedly. I understand there's no possible way to embrace every temptation that crosses your path. And I'd say I've grabbed onto more than I've missed over the years. But, peering into the rear-view mirror, I wish I'd done a few things differently.

So, it's time to air them. To fess up and offload the weight I've been carrying around in my day-pack of travel regrets, stuff-ups and missed opportunities, and up-end some of them onto the pavement of Get Over It Street.