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The Middle East @ Work

The Middle of Anywhere

Meaw Mar 4, 2008

Tonight we ate dinner at a Lebanese restaurant in a fake Moroccan souk, served by Indian waiters. And this pretty much sums up my impression of Dubai so far. Exploring this city, where less than 20% of the population actually comes from here, where “Old Town” is still under construction, where the University of Phoenix shares a campus with Mahatma Gandhi University…it’s easy to find yourself asking over and over again, “where the heck am I?” It could be the middle of anywhere.

Like so many workers here, our waiter came from India to make money to send back home. But after just 19 months, he’s leaving next week. After all the folks we’ve talked to who seem pretty darn happy here (despite the high rents, the inflation, the lack of rights, no path to citizenship), it was surprising to find someone who admitted to not really loving it. He thinks he can do just as well back home. And next week some other South Asian will serve foul moudames to an American visitor wondering where on earth she’s landed.

P.S. Kai and I are in Dubai this week preparing for next week’s live broadcasts. Hope you can tune in!

— Amy Scott

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