15 April 2011

Style police blast Dubai's Meydan

Brutal assessment of Dubai in Vanity Fair zeroes in on the al Maktoum family's racing obsession, saving special scorn for Meydan racecourse on Dubai World Cup night:
"The track sits in a wasteland surrounded by the exhausted squirm of motorways. I walk around it and look not at the galloping horses and their bright jockeys but back up at the stands. Here in one long panorama is the Dantean vision of modern Dubai—the Arabs huddled in a glass dome, looking like creatures from a Star Trek episode in their sepulchral winding-sheet dishdashas. Next to them are the stands for Westerners, mostly British, loud and drunk, dressed in their tarty party gear. The girls, raucous and provocative, have fat thighs that wobble in tiny frocks. Cantilevered bosoms lurch. The boys, spiky and gelled, glassy-eyed and leering. In the last enclosure, the Asians, packed in with families and picnics, excited to be out of the Portakabin dormitories and the boredom and the homesickness of Internet caf├ęs. In front of them all are the ranks of wired-up security guards, making sure the layers of this mutually dismissive society don’t pollute each other. After the horses have run, Elton John will perform."

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