I am Dubai
by Lara Matossian-Roberts
I am that shiny gem amongst the Arabian sand dunes
That catches your eye from distances far,
That fills your mind with thoughts of riches
To be made and stored.
I am where spending is made easy;
A designer bag? The “it” sunglasses? “THE” watch?
Expensive fashion is within reach.
A fancy shave?
Why, it only costs a laborer’s weekly wage.
I am warmth, surefire sunny skies,
A harmonious marriage of talcum-powder sand and shades of blue:
Alice blue waves, Maya blue serenity, powder blue crests, sky blue calm.
The view from the beaches marred by
monstrous protrusions of land,
Mammoth dredging machines, waterfalls of sand.
I am tall, glittery towers;
Indoor ski slopes; vast airports;
Sprawling malls and stupendous hotels;
Lavish buffets and all you can drink deals.
I am laborers toiling mercilessly in over 45 degrees heat.
I am desalinated water.
I am billions of dollars…in debt.
I am one massive carbon footprint.
I am the salon dedicated for nails, just around the corner;
The spa you need to go to for maintenance.
I am not one – but ten – new trendy polish colors;
The nail treatment for the little 5 year-old princess;
The spa massage designed for the teenage boy.
I am also quirky, one-off stores,
Off the beaten track creativity in oddball spots,
Culture found outside its conventional definition.
I am the lingering smell of coconut oil in the elevator,
The all-engulfing fragrance of oud in a shopping mall.
I am food delivery services:
Chinese, Italian, Indian, or burgers,
Iranian, Nepali, Lebanese, or Thai;
Supermarket and pharmacy deliveries;
Laundry services: pick-up and delivery;
Personal grooming services at home –
all just a phone call away.
I am affordable luxury.
Don’t judge me.
Don’t judge me.
I am a city.
Like any other.
Unlike any other.
I am what I am.
I am Dubai.