Monday, February 16, 2009


Dear Robert,

I am writing to inform you that the rumors regarding our demise are greatly exaggerated. Having come across your article(Laid-Off Foreigners Flee as Dubai Spirals Down) the New York Times I thoughts I’d take this opportunity to provide you with some color on the situation out here. First, the Palm is not sinking and the Burj is not collapsing. Also, last time I checked there were no cockroaches coming out of the faucets at the hotels on the island. Not exactly sure who or what entity are the sources of these rumors, but if I was a conspiracy theorist I might just blame the London-Moscow-Mumbai-Hong Kong-NYC Axis of Evil, commonly referred to as the Five Fathers of Fear.( If you don’t know them, you should. Rumors have it that they were intimately involved in spreading the rumors that brought down Lehman…as they were looking to cause a global crash to accumulate all assets on the cheap)

Though I will have to say that we got a kick out of the rumor regarding 3000 abandoned cars with nice little apology letters accompanying the maxed out credit cards. I’d like to believe that Dubai Debtors maintain a high level of etiquette when they skip town, but the fact of the matter is I have yet to see any evidence of such nonsense. Maybe these letters include forwarding addresses and IOU’s too.

As for poor Sofia, I hope she finds a job along with the millions of other people around the world who have been laid off in the past month. I also hope she can hang onto that home she bought just like I hope everyone in NYC who is at risk of losing a home can too. And as far as the debtor’s prison situation goes, it exists for a reason, to deter reckless borrowing. Clearly, it didn’t work very well.

The fact of the matter is that Dubai clearly is facing its fair share of economic challenges as it is not immune to this global economic collapse. The real estate market will suffer, and the booming growth will disappear for a while. The experiment will need to be tweaked, rethought in some instances, and tempered. But at the end of the day Dubai could never have become Dubai if it didn’t over do it. To put an empty desert on the map you need to create a spectacle, and when you create a spectacle you are bound to eventually hit a period were the excess catches up to you.

Five years ago nobody in New York would be writing an article about this city let alone contemplating moving here or buying a home here. So, to a certain extent Dubai has already accomplished its goal. Now, it just needs to ride out the storm.

When you build a dream on sand, you’d have to be a fool to let it slip through your hands…….

P.S. The decline in traffic is something that most of us are enjoying. The situation out here was getting a little ridiculous, but we are nowhere near ‘ghost town’ status yet.



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