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Friday, August 15, 2008

Keep rolling on...

Before I talk about the wonders of Dubai, I'd just like to provide you with a couple of images about the pains of "development" as experienced by this city. Don't get me wrong, this is not an attempt to to try and defame this constantly expanding metropolis. It's just a way for me to show you what things are like from the way in which I see them. I mean, who are you going to believe, the media or a poor Malayalee like me?

Traffic jams. The bane of modern man's existence. I apologize for the unseemly, and perhaps chauvinistic reference, but bear with me please. Perhaps the last thing on Henry Ford's mind when he created the assembly line was that one day there would be so many cars on the roads and highways that had yet to be invented, that it would probably make more sense to just walk. That's not going to happen, so you can forget it for this lifetime, at least. But, I have to say that I think in most places where this phenomenon occurs -- a phenomenon that shares its name with a type of sweet, bread spread -- it seems to have a distinct flavor. What do I mean? Well, the traffic jams in each country where one is "lucky enough" to experience them at the moment -- most places in the world, unfortunately -- the nature of the jam is different. In India, for example, the jam is a dead stop. For example, if you're "in a jam" in India you almost always discover God, if nothing else, by the simple virtue of having survived hazardous road and weather conditions to find yourself wasting away in front of the green, amber and red.

Here in Dubai, however, I have had the pleasure of experiencing the "rolling" jam. I say "pleasure" because although you find yourself in some sort of formation with vehicles around you, a la Roman tortoise formation, you are still always moving forward for the most part. In the pictures below, my dad and I found ourselves, as we always do, in the midst of an armada of assorted SUVs, sedans, trucks and vans. The scene in the first picture finds us in a sort of underpass with a long line of vehicles gently curving to the left.
Traffic in front...
This next picture is the line that formed behind us; an attempt at advanced photography by looking in the side mirror. The other element of attempted style in this picture is the fact that most of the cars are still outside the overpass, so as to create an interesting effect with the light. Well, what can I say. You had to have been there, I guess. He he he...
...and behind us
And there you have it. One of the many signs of pains of development as I witness them around the world. It seems to be a necessary evil that the people have to suffer in the hopes of a better future. Sure there are models to follow, like downtown New York City, or perhaps the now opulently modern Beijing city. And the virtues of faster means of intra-city transport, more luxurious living conditions and the visions of an overall brighter future have been extolled ad nauseum. But the question I would like to ask is, how do you define a "brighter future"?
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