Arrived in Dubai

Well I made it to Dubai last night, here is a rather bad night picture of Sheikh Zayed Road. Yes I did have a few pints on me at the time. And bleedin hell its hot. I got a taxi last night with some Syrian guy, we drove past the American Hospital, and I half jokingly said that Osama Bin Laden had stayed there at some point before September 11. (Conspiracy theory alert). The friendly Syrian taxi driver was not sure whether to believe me, but then I said he had definately stayed there. And the Syrians reply? ”Allah akhbar, allah akhbar Osama bin Laden good man.”

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Fears growing for British hostage

From the BBC:

An Islamist website claiming to be linked to the group holding Ken Bigley and two Americans says one of the Americans has been killed.

The website carries a nine-minute video purporting to show the man being beheaded.

Earlier, Tony Blair said Britain would not give in to the hostage takers.

The Reuters news agency reports a US official has confirmed the body of one of the American hostages has been recovered.

A statement on the website said: “The group will next behead the others”.

Expats bask in Dubai's boom

Another article on Dubai, the “rising star” of the Middle East. A good article too, I see the hack in question had pints down in the Irish Village in Garhoud. The property markey in Dubai is booming, but I would always be sceptical about buying property in a kingdom with no real property rights, and limited to 90 year leases. Who knows what might happen down the line, it seems other people have similar concerns. Curiosuly there are now some 100,000 Brits living in the Emirates, and some 10,000 South Africans.

“There are no consistent laws to follow,” said Andrew Small, a South African who moved to Dubai a little more than four years ago, over a beer with a business colleague at a faux-Irish pub.

Although he sees himself staying for at least another 10 years, he can’t get himself to purchase property. “I’d rather buy somewhere I have political confidence,” he said.

The piece continues:

Jones Lang LaSalle, a global real estate company, recently named Dubai as one of the top three “rising urban stars” in the world, together with Las Vegas and Shanghai, in an assessment that took into account a variety of factors including population and construction growth.

These kinds of assessments have helped keep overseas interest high, said Saeed Chinoy, managing director of Dubai Shows Ltd., which hosts property fairs to introduce real estate investments to foreigners. “We’re selling the dream,” he said.

Recently, though, the target market of that dream has become increasingly local. Arab investments are withdrawing from the United States and moving to Europe and the Middle East, Chinoy said. American companies, which used to come to market American real estate, have all but disappeared.

Chinoy reported that trade show attendance is growing for now, but he is worried about the way the Saudi Arabian economy collapsed once Westerners no longer felt welcome.

“What if Europeans and Americans were advised not to come to Dubai?” Chinoy asked. “It would be brutal.”