Thursday, November 6, 2008

A place in the sun

‘So good to be home,’ I think as I arrive at Dubai’s shiny new Terminal 3.

It's state-of the-art, easy to navigate and when I get into the taxi it actually smells nice. Perhaps it really is just trial and error and the fact that I can see city improvements in the year and a half that I have been based here is very encouraging.

Funny that I have grown so attached to this city. It just shows you how adaptable us human beings can be. Initially I couldn’t identify with anything or anyone and now I have already made friends and discovered places where I enjoy hanging out.

Now I am trapped between two worlds, as often happens with people that relocate to a different country. Every time I’m back in my old hometown I feel like I never want to leave Cape Town and when I’m in Dubai I feel like this is home too.

All things considered, you have to admit that Dubai is a good place to be right now. In an unstable and dangerous world, it provides a safe and financially secure haven for people from all different cultures. My friends are Thai, Brazilian, German, Greek, Emirati, Saudi, French, Serbian, Indian, Maltese, Mauritian…

However confusing and volatile a fusion of cultures could prove to be, it is also enriching and if we allow it to, it may even help us dissolve our mental blocks towards 'the other'. Dubai is Sheikh Rashid’s rainbow nation, just the same way that South Africa is Madiba’s.

However, Dubai is proof that people need rules. Only within a structured society can human beings find freedom. With too many rights and too few rules come chaos as can be seen in South Africa today.

I find it comforting to live in a country where things like gambling and prostitution are illegal. Of course, everything is still to be found everywhere in the world but the fact that the government tries to protect society against their own weakness is something that I have grown to appreciate.

Although I cannot see the sky, it looks like I have finally found my place in the sun and it is certainly the last place that I thought it would be: right in front of my eyes.

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