Desert Skiing


In The New York Times, Seth Sherwood visits Dubai, the booming city-emirate that's transforming itself into an archipelago of malls and other, stranger proprietary communities. Here's the conclusion:

Across town, in the Moroccan-themed Tangerine, a 20-something woman in a white miniskirt hung on to the sleeve of a 60-something man in an ill-fitting tweed blazer as both leaned jauntily against a wall. Whatever they spoke about, mouth to ear, was obliterated by the deafening, chest-crushing hip-hop beat that resounded off the carved wooden screens and mosaic tile floor.

In a dark corner nearby, a beanpole-like bald man from Liverpool looked at the odd old-young crowd and ersatz North African decor and made a remark that is probably repeated at least once every day in Dubai. "The whole thing is totally fake," he said to his date, "but no one seems to care."

Along those lines: The latest odd project to hit the city is Ski Dubai, probably the world's only ski resort located in a scorching desert. The indoor slopes, AFP reports, are "being built within [the] billion-dollar Mall of the Emirates, partly to lure people to what will be the third largest shopping centre in the world, and to make it different." When completed, the building containing the faux mountains will be 25 stories tall.


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  1. How easy will it be for those broads to ski in burkhas?

  2. And don’t forget the Burj Dubai, which upon it’s completion should dwarf every other manmade structure, including Taipei 101, the Sears Tower, the Freedom Tower, the Shanghai World Financial Center, the CN Tower, the Petronius Compliant Tower, and the KVLY-TV mast.

  3. It’s the Vegas of the Middle East

  4. Renault: “And what is heaven’s name brought you to Casablanca?”

    Rick: “My health. I came to Casablanca for the waters.”

    Renault: “Waters? What waters? We’re in the desert.”

    Rick: “I was misinformed.”

  5. Has trump built anything there yet?

    Maybe that’s where he’s going to send his next Apprentice! 😉

  6. It’s the Vegas of the Middle East

    Someone should build some kind of Frank Sinatra-themed entertainment facility there, just so they can name it the Scooby Dubai Do.

  7. I went to Dubai briefly in 2001. I wouldn’t particularly want to live there, but the Vegas thing must be preferable to going back to pearl diving when the oil runs out, so I’m glad they have customers.
    And yes, they had several Starbucks already when I was there. In fact I wish I’d gotten a photo of the Starbucks in a mall in Abu Dhabi where there were ten men in white dishdashas all sitting at a round table, drinking lattes.

  8. Maybe that’s where he’s going to send his next Apprentice! 😉

    Obviously, you have never been to Dubai. If you have, Trump himself might not be accepted to work as an apprentice to some of the guys building there.

  9. the Vegas thing must be preferable to going back to pearl diving when the oil runs out

    They’ve already seen the writing on the wall and switched over to a service economy. I wonder if Lou Dobbs thinks they should have gone protectionist instead.

  10. a,

    True — he might have to settle for a gig in Bhutan, which as you undoubtedly remember is far more laid back.

  11. General concensus about Dubai: it’s like Vegas, except tacky.

    Ysabella: maybe I can get you that photo next time I go to the Abu Dhabi mall (a ten minute walf from my flat).

    Mr. Nice Guy: they don’t wear burkhas here. The abaya is a different animal. Besides, its optional, not mandatory.

    Thoreau: there is already a Dubai-made version of “The Apprentice.” But the stuff happening over here is on a scale that dwarfs anything Trump has ever done.

    About the most jarring anomaly is the large number of scanty-lingerie stores in the malls. It just blows the mind to see someone veiled from head to toe holding up a translucent lace thong for inspection.

    But it is a great place to live. I drive a car I could never even think of affording in the States. And I can drive it at 120 mph with almost complete impunity after memorizing where the speed camers are.

  12. I’ve got a concept, baby, I don’t know, it’s kind of funny, let’s see, something about a mountain coming to Mohammed…okay send that out to Larry and see if he can come up with a treatment for us.

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