Dubai ¦ Feb 2010
My mate C took me to one of the marinas and out on his twin-engine speed boat. The weather turns weird however. There’s a promise of rain in the air, the sky turns misty, the horizon vanishes. C gives me the helm and I grin like a kid in a candy store as I gun this thing past 4,000 rpm, trim the engines a little and carve great sweeping arcs into the Gulf of Arabia. We head into the bays formed by the vast development of a new palm area… one of the gargantuan man-made islands. Nobody around. Eerie hazy sky merging with grey brown dust and concrete landscape. It was like something out of Yellow Dawn. Very evocative.
In fact, Dubai has had a massive influence on me for my writing within the Yellow Dawn world. Dubai is like the early days of New Tokyo, perhaps.
What you can see in the background are the support struts for a motorway or rail link that has yet to be finished.
That night my girlfriend and I head out to the Atlantis. A monstrosity of a hotel perched on the edge of the original palm… a man-made island nosing far out into the gulf.
A round of drinks. And then the heavens open. We wait a while for the rain to ease up a little. The bar is out on its own. To get back to our car we have to cross a badly lit pleasure area of swimming pool and sun loungers, go through the main hotel and out the far side. I come outside the bar, trot down a couple of steps to the ground area that is reflecting the moonlight back as if it’s a layer of water.
Two steps down and I’m ankle deep.
JESUS! I yelp and jump back, to much laughter from the others. I’m convinced I’ve been a dumb-ass and tried walking into the swimming pool. But no. In the half hour of rain, the Atlantis has started to sink. We reach the hotel and discover the lower floors have started to flood. We take off our boots and wade back through the hotel with bare feet and trousers rolled up, much to the chagrin of hotel staff who are apologising to everyone we see.
Reaching the car we discover that most of the roads are flooding. Some parts of the road barriers (large plastic red and white things) have been washed away and are now floating around in the road. Even off the island, in the city, which doesn’t have the storm drains to cope with the deluge, surface water is causing mayhem.
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