Tuesday, July 04, 2006

No more idleness in the desert

Sorry for not updating this blog in a while, I've been running around finalising our preparations to leave. So yes, after a few years out here in the desert we've had enough and decided to head for greener pastures (literally and metaphorically).
This might end up being a long post and I won't be editing it so excuse me if I ramble.

In the last two years, we have seen costs literally shoot through the roof. In 2005 we saw our rent soar, but we hoped this would be an isolated incident. In our minds we thought surely no landlord would hike the rent again on the back of a 35% rise? How f***king wrong we were!

My opinion is that things are not adding up at all, and something has GOT to give. According to an article that came out recently, Dubai ranks amongst the top 25 most expensive cities in the world to live in. Interesting that only last year it was placed at 75th. The fact that it climbed 50 places in a year is just staggering.

A few months ago, Gulf News published an article proudly proclaiming the economy grew by 25% over the previous year. What they didn't tell you was that if you subtracted inflation from this figure, the growth was only around 8%. So yep, inflation was in the double digits. To put this in perspective, most developed countries don't want inflation to be anymore than around 3% a year.

In the first half of the year, the stock market in Dubai lost $76billion dollars. Billion. http://www.menafn.com/qn_news_story_s.asp?StoryId=1093118672. That's 35% of its value. But people are still smiling, as if its perfectly normal. In any normal country, a loss of 10% is considered a pretty bad crash, but don't you dare use the c-word here. No no, it's just a 'correction' according to the powers that be. Are we really living in a bubble so big we can't see the obvious?

Last October, a friend of mine tried to get me to invest in the stockmarket. Thank God I didn't. I did a bit of research, asked why people invested in stock X instead of stock Y, etc. Soon I realised 90% of the people I knew had no bloody clue what they were doing in the stockmarket! For them it was just a game of putting the money (or for some, their lifesavings) into it and watching the numbers rise. Stockbrokers were the worst. When shares in (insert name) company fell, their standard response was 'not to worry, it will go up again after New Years'. Why New Years, I'd ask. They'd just shrug, 'oh it just does'. They had no bloody clue either.

And now the property market. I really think it's bordering on being ridiculous now. I can't see how the value of a villa can rise by Dhs100,000 in just two months. To me, that really isn't sustainable. Don't get me started on rents either. I know people who were considering moving to Dubai but the number one thing that puts them off are the rents. What is worse is you have no clue what the rent will be like next year, so its impossible to know what your housing allowance/budget should be. And I think asking for Dhs200,000/year for a villa is insane. Even Sharjah is getting expensive, rent-wise and families there are moving further afield to Al Ain. A lot of people I know are fed up and are leaving, to me it seems more people are leaving this summer than before.

A year or two ago I would have laughed if someone said there was a bubble. Well, not laughed but I would have been a bit sceptical. But this time I am wondering. When you look around you, you realise all of this really isn't sustainable at all. Something has GOT to give, and when it does, I think it's going to be very nasty.

We'll be leaving Dubai very shortly, like many others we know. It's been fun in many ways, but I don't think I could put up with it for any longer.


Blogger secretdubai said...

Christ I'll miss your blog. All the good people are leaving. If you have time for a farewell drink/coffee before you leave, do drop me a line. Eternal anonymity assured, as ever.

8:54 pm GTS  
Blogger Tainted Female said...

I wonder if you can’t keep your blog up for a while even after you go, comparing the differences you notice going back home?

I know I don’t comment often, but I thoroughly enjoy your blog (when I have the connection to read it) and will be sad to see it go.

And you’re right you know.. something will give and it’s going to be nasty. The question is only when?

1:41 pm GTS  
Blogger Keef said...

Another one bites the dust! Hope you continue to blog wherever you go (Pastures New Idleness!).

2:30 pm GTS  
Blogger moryarti said...

Sad to see you go .. really. but again, one has to move on. Do try to keep the blog running..

7:22 pm GTS  
Blogger halfmanhalfbeer said...

Sorry to hear you are going, have lurked here many an hour and enjoyed your posts very much.

Good luck with the move.

I'll second Tainted's comments about continuing to blog, it would be interesting to read I am sure.


12:18 pm GTS  
Blogger Lou said...

Good luck. I'm sure we'll all be keeping an eye on your blog to see what you're up to. xx

12:21 pm GTS  
Blogger samuraisam said...


best of luck in new pastures wherever they may be.

12:47 pm GTS  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck to all of us since I am one of those leaving too, I would have loved to leave with a sweet taste and fond memories but unfortunately things are getting pretty sour around here and yes you always wonder if someone really stops to think how sustainable is all this development?

12:09 pm GTS  
Blogger Parv said...

I'm sure the decision to leave was a result of varying negative factors...but hopefully, you'll take with you some happy and positive memories of this young city. That and the respect of many Dubtown bloggers.

Good luck wherever the roads take you.

9:26 pm GTS  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do Police officers in Dubai accept “Bribes” ?

Apparently, YES!

So this friend of ours was in a taxi being driven down to Sharjah, the cab guy skips a light at the Galadhari cross roads and changes three lanes in a go. The cab got pulled over and the Cops came over and wanted to arrest this guy. Not the Driver, but the passenger,(Brown passenger).

The cops asked him if he was drinking, (remember he was not in Sharjah yet, still a few hundred meters away from the border),

The guy freaked out so he offers a bribe, AED 1,800 that he happened to have in his pocket. And guess what, the Uniformed Dubai Police Officer accepts it and lets him go.
Now we understand that corruption is endemic in this region, however is it acceptable to fleece the underprivileged? Oh allk right this over paid brown guy we are taling about is not part of the ,”underprivileged”, but WTF? Well Dubai is progressing and ……

Dubai = a wanna be First world country?

Dubai = stereotypical Arab nation with nothing new to offer.


Surprised Sheep Productions

2:15 am GTS  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dubai travel information Dubai travel

1:51 pm GTS  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Would love an update on how you're doing, months after leaving the sandlands. If not here, then via email. Or have you started a new blog somewhere else?

2:00 am GTS  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hi there,
we, Ali & Musaed, started a podcast about our daily lives in Kuwait ... and we would like to invite you to listen to it at:
and then let us know at

3:30 pm GTS  
Blogger Someone in Al Ain said...

all the best luck to you..

11:24 pm GTS  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Acabo de ver tu blog.
Espero que visites mis blogs, son fotos de mi pueblo, de España y de Italia y Francia:




donde encontrarás los enlaces de todos los blogs.

1:57 am GTS  
Blogger The Painter said...

OMG we have a similar blog title and I am in Dubai. your posts makes a lot of sense. I wish you the best wherever you are now.

5:51 pm GTS  
Anonymous mubawab said...

i wll mis you blog so much, really it's very good one:)

9:58 pm GTS  
Blogger Liz said...

Hi how's it all going? Your blog was so bitchy - I loved it so long as it wasn't about me - not

4:38 pm GTS  
Anonymous William King said...

Really nice post. Well it sounds amazingly to convert a desert into a state. I think it will be one of the biggest projects in the world. Business always needs expansions either on the base of capital, or the area. This project is going to give a strength to the economy of that country.

2:16 pm GTS  
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