A year ago, I would have never thought that I would be writing this; now.
To Dubai and the other emirates, I have to admit that the start was full of stereotypes.
I joined your melting pot when I was just turning 29 years old.
I have never intended to be here, as I thought, looking from the outside and after having lived for a short while in Europe and for my life in Beirut, that this city is solely a destination for whomever is seeking a regional professional growth.
My eyes were having hard time to see clearly behind the tall buildings, the endless floors, the resorts and the high temperatures of your summer.
Few weeks passed before you started to prove me wrong, gently, subtly; few chitchats were enough to prove me that the skyscrapers do not eradicate the feelings, that malls and human created palm live along with local traditions and beautiful, genuine souls.
I started to take pictures and slow motion and fast-track videos of you; some memories were formed in your desert, in your parks, in your hidden gems. I took some pictures of you to save your qualities, to remember what I like in you and what you represent to me.
I started to engage in road trips, sometimes on my own, to go to random destinations here and there, revealing the real you, to discover the –you- that was born 46 years ago and that grew with confidence in order to be the rising star of today.
We had an eye contact, Dubai, I swear we had. Do you remember when we went out to Kite Beach for sunset? A relation was then born and since then, each time I look at you, you refuse to be but a Cynosure and I must say, (if I did not say it before) that it fits you perfectly. You are a cynosure when hosting the prominent conferences of the region, when awarding the “creators of hope”, when creating your own font, when hosting the couch potato cinemas of Alserkal, the golf tournaments, the equestrian sports, the free-entry theater of the courtyard playhouse, the concerts that know who to welcome, what message to deliver, how to be organised and how to end, the barber of Fahidi Street, the luxurious lifestyle, the 1-to-10 dirhams street shops in Deira, the design district, the city walk, the Karama district, the smart city of justice and of services.
In the blink of an eye, a year has already passed, UAE, and I cannot erase from my mind your highest peak, your greatest mosque, your shimmering sun on the Creekside, your kite beach, your magical fountain, the sunset on your desert, your zaabeel greeneries and weekend pop up markets, your opera night jogging, the flyboard sessions along your shore, the walk along the boulevard or the beach, your clean and neat metro, your one-dirham boat ride along the gold souk, your maze streets of Bastakiya, your youngster side, your mature side, your cosmopolitan side and your street side.
You have to understand, Dubai, that I come from a country that lacks a clear vision and solid infrastructure, and I cannot but look with admiration at you, standing on your feet with a clear vision and sustainable resources attracting the potentials and talents from all around the globe.
I do not know how long I am going to stay here but even if I have to leave tomorrow, you succeeded in proving right the say “do not judge before you see, before you live”. Irrespective of how long our relationship will last, I am sure that you know already my opinion about you: you are mellifluous, you are ineffable and, as long as your nationals and your expats will continue to refer to you as one of the safest and most promising countries in the world, you will shine, high enough so that Burj Khalifa with its mesmerizing fountain will look up to you with admiration, from down.
A lot remains to be seen, to be unrevealed during this year [to be followed].
Until then, Happy First Anniversary Dubai!