Sunday, August 22, 2010

Bye bye, Dubai....and this time I mean it !

Dubai to JFK

BobOnARoll completed his assignment in Dubai and Abu Dhabi this week. The sports media business is 4 weeks away from launch, and it was time to turn over the reins to a full-time publisher. 'Take me back to Manhattan! That dear old dirty town!!'

I've dissed the place from time to time on this blog, and, like most places I have worked and vacationed, it has its charms and challenges. Though I expect to fly back for the launch parties in late September, I had time for a little nostalgia and savoring some very good memories of wonderful people, on both a professional and personal level. The heat I could do without !

In the late spring, I toyed with the idea of moving there. There are many creature comforts in Dubai, and life is easy, especially if you are an American or European business guy and making good money. Good roads, great airport, fast cars, good restaurants, good weather eight months of the year, tennis courts and golf courses for days. Attractive people of both sexes. And a lot of winking and nodding when it comes to issues of personal privacy. I got along easily with the Emiratis, the Indians, the Lebanese, the Filipinos, and others from 100 different nations. Except, well... the French. But you know what I mean. (my close friends in Paris excepted !!)

BobOnARoll will keep kvetching and groaning about the American way of life and particularly our politics. The fact that we have a politics and a Bill of Rights with a strong judicial system and free elections and laws which protect workers rights and allow them to organize unions---this messy crazy chaotic system of ours, don't take it for granted. Throw in the delis and the subways and the museums and Lincoln Center, I decided I couldn't live without it. And to be far away from family, dear friends, comrades, and companions just was not going to happen.

I came away from the UAE incredibly impressed with the can-do attitude that has completely changed the country in just 25 years. With all the downsides of excess and favoritism noted.

And I came away impressed with their religion and their devotion to it. It's serious stuff in the UAE, and particularly this Ramadan. It is a spiritual experience, and not just for those who fast and pray. One of the Emiratis I became closest to explained to me the other day that of all world religions, the one that has the most in common with Islam is Judaism.

Maybe there's hope for us yet.

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