No Fasting, But Lots of Learning

Now that my busy summer is over, I can review a little of what’s happened.

June’s Kingdom Fast was restaurants. The focus was not so much restaurants, but hospitality. I was on the road for nearly the whole month, so I didn’t fast restaurants or open my home for hospitality. My home was barely open in June. Instead I jumped into the Live Dead value of the month—learning. The point of the value is to better understand the culture and worldview of those with whom we work. So I set my sights on learning more about Dubai.

I started with two books on Dubai. The first, A History of Future Cities (Daniel Brook), looked at the story of Dubai in light of the histories of St. Petersburg, Mumbai and Shanghai. With an understanding of what happened in other cities where East met West, what might be the future of Dubai? Not only did I learn something about Dubai, but three other global cities. Now I want to visit St. Petersburg.

Next I read City of Gold: Dubai and the Dream of Capitalism (Jim Krane) about the history of Dubai from fishing village in the 1960s to international city. At the time of publishing (2009), the author Krane had been a longtime reporter in the region. He arrived in Dubai in January 2005. It looked at the emergence of the city-state on the world scene and the “blowback” Dubai and its leader have received. The final section is about the challenges Dubai faces—from the perspective of 2009, right after the financial crisis of 2008.

What I found most interesting in the book is the conversations the author had with people who remember pre-metropolis Dubai and their feelings toward expatriates, non-Emiratis. The feelings were mixed. So when I become one of those expats, that’s good perspective to keep in mind.

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