It is not unusual to find out that others are planning to join a tour to Dubai. Many of my friends have been there already, having prioritized it as a “must see” now that Israelis are no longer forbidden to enter. The wealthiest of the wealthy have joined on political missions from the United States with a “stop-over” in Dubai as a dangling carrot to encourage their participation.
My hair salon owner and his wife have been there. Two of my closest friends could not resist a four-day trip. Everyone seems to be tantalized by the apparent “need” to visit there. I on the other hand, am not even ambivalent… just not interested. Why? You might rightly ask…and I will gladly share my thoughts. That is, of course, why I write!
When living in the United States, it was exciting to go to Disneyland and see what fantasy could be created for untold sums of profit from the Disney empires. Disney “lands” popped up in California, Florida, Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai. Good fun for the family and the imaginations of children who grew up with Mickie and Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Cinderella, and Donald Duck. We must not omit Snow White and the seven dwarfs (surely the word “dwarf” is no longer woke and must be altered to “little-people?”)… Adults could enjoy their memories of childhood while actual-children are dazzled with the charm and fantasy. Indeed for children of “all ages.”
For “real men” (and women of course), there is Las Vegas. Having been there many times to enjoy the adult fantasy, great food and amazing entertainment headliners,( although I abhor gambling simply because I never win!)… I do know the pleasures of extravagance and glamour. There again, I was in business in Beverly Hills for 25 years… no lack of glamour there. Also no lack of the superficial. A land where accumulated wealth, botoxed lips and cosmetic surgery reign supreme. The Kardashian sisters are idols for reasons unknown to the likes of “moi.” Such a shame to discover that it is now unsafe in Beverly Hills and other US cities, to wear one’s accumulated wealth on their hands, ears, necks and handbags for fear of loss of life from those who envy and have carte blanche to share in your wealth at whim.
Fast forward to Dubai. The new standard-bearer for ostentatious wealth. The tallest buildings. The most exquisite hotels. Shopping malls with indoor sports. Gorgeous people. Amazing clothing. Exquisite Jewels. Glamour for the eye to see. Another opportunity to contribute to the coffers of the wealthy, admire the excesses of mankind, and ignore the “real world”. We all need a “respite” from the war in Russian war on Ukraine, terrorism, Hizballah and Hamas rockets reigning down on innocents, mass school and night-club shootings, growing political angst, hatred and prejudice of every variation, but is this the solution to the pain and disappointments of one’s life?
How exactly does a vacation to Dubai give anyone a sense of deep pleasure, meaning, growth, understanding of history or humanity? Surely travel is intended to broaden the mind? Travel to a nation with a fascinating history, culture, cuisine, accomplishments throughout the millennium… makes perfect sense to me. For some inexplicable reason, the friends who went to Dubai have felt no need to share the experience upon their return. That bespeaks volumes.
My readers might suspect that I have some problem with a Muslim nation. Not at all. This particular Muslim nation wants to be a friend to Israel. We take friendship and savor it. That is not, however, a reason to spent thousands of dollars to “ogle” their materialistic accomplishments. Most certainly, I would accept an invite for any meeting of substance being held there, but not solely to admire the excesses of unlimited oil revenues, to which you and I have contributed unwittingly.
There are still countries and cultures I have not yet had the pleasure of enjoying. Most certainly Turkey and Morocco would be wonderful sites once the vestiges of potential danger to my person have been removed. Should the Mullahs of Iran “fall.” and the “people” take back their historic nation… I would be the first in line to visit. For those who do not know me, let me clarify… Yes, I have travelled extensively: the former U.S.S.R, Ethiopia, China, Switzerland, Czechoslovakia, Hawaii, Hungary, Poland…most of Europe. There is much which beckons to me.
It was my hope that the conclusion of two years of isolation during Covid would not simply make us feel as if we had escaped our cage in order to return to frivolity. I had hopes that the time to reflect would make us appreciate what is most important in our lives- to nurture those people and causes that move us and make our lives meaningful. It is my sincere doubt that a trip to Dubai would assist me in leading a fuller life.
However, Africa on a luxurious safari and sitting with the gorillas of Uganda… would be another opportunity completely…and the offer of a world cruise would not “go amiss.” Bon Voyage!