Dubai is falling apart

Couldn’t have happened to nicer people.

[F]aced with crippling debts as a result of their high living and Dubai’s fading fortunes, many expatriates are abandoning their cars at the airport and fleeing home rather than risk jail for defaulting on loans.

Police have found more than 3,000 cars outside Dubai’s international airport in recent months. Most of the cars – four-wheel drives, saloons and “a few” Mercedes – had keys left in the ignition.

Those who flee the emirate are known as skips.

“There is no way of tracking actual numbers, but the anecdotal evidence is overwhelming. Dubai is emptying out,” said a Western diplomat.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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49 Responses to “Dubai is falling apart”

  1. BlueMole says:

    I was at the beach in southern Maine in Julyawhile back, Chilly breezy day with the wind coming off the 55Fwater, a block inland it was 85F. Some guy came into souvenier shop I was browsing around and asked the salesperson if they rented heaters to take out on the beach. The dude gave him one of those priceless New England looks.

  2. BlueMole says:

    I rented a Toyota or Nissan Saloon in the Caribbean several years ago. Right there in chrome attached to the trunk. We thought is was really funny, as we had a cooler stocked with Caribs in the car most of the time. he he

  3. Dubai says:

    Dubai may well be falling apart but a newspaper of the calibre of The Times publishing inaccurate reports doesn’t help those of us who are looking for accurate information. Yes there are cars abandoned at the airport, there always have been. The Times (from where this story spread) misrepresented a police statement that 3000 cars had been abandoned in all of Dubai during all of 2008, not at Dubai airport in the past couple of weeks.

  4. Domino says:

    Shahar Peer is number 48 on the WTA rankings. The WTA rules prohibit banning players for their citizenship. The tournament, the Dubai Open (not really open is it?), may be removed from the WTA calendar next year.

  5. LanceThruster says:

    I’m sorry you feel that way but would welcome you pointing out what makes you think so.

    [was a response to a deleted post that said my comment was thinly veiled bigotry]

  6. evan_la says:

    I wonder if that refrigerated beach will be finished. It think it was to be at the Armani resort.

  7. Except Ken Lay is in a better place that’s a bit cooler than Dubai. In hell, cuz he is dead as a doornail.

  8. Like I said, a great city is borne from it’s people. This city was borne on the vanity of princes. It’s a rediculous experiment.

    Yes, the ski resort thing…Not exactly a ‘green’ forward thinking idea. :-)

  9. LOL….. I forgot about that. There goes the neigborhood. First Gary Indiana, Now Dubai….what is the world coming too…. MJ, The grim spector of death.

  10. Yes, except no one is going to be taking up a collection for some over zealous condo buyers with more money than sense. Give me a break.

    Great cities are borne from it’s people. If you look at the world class Alpha cities in the world. : London, New York, Chicago, Tokyo, Paris. Etc.

    Dubai is not on that list. And for good reason. Read my post above.

  11. Dubai is smaller than the city of Jacksonville Florida.

    The fact that Dubai is falling apart is not surprising in the least.

    I am an Architect, and most of that city was designed by American Architects. From the buildings, to the infrastructure. And that’s great for us. But here is the obviious Dubai flaw: They have NO middle class: The buildings are nothing but veignglorious folly for the Princes. Giant penis’s in the desert. Empty.

    They make nothing, export nothing, and have horrible human rights issues. Women are still second class citizens…and gay people…well forget it.

    The idea was to create a vacation destination. “Thanks, but no thanks for that city to nowhere”

    To try to will something like this from the dessert without any substance that is the basis for staying power is rife for disaster. Heck it took Vegas until this decade to become a ‘real’ city.

    I will gladly take the money and deisgn anything anyone wants. So I am sad to see it fade believe me. But I am not surprised. It’s a prediction I made years ago.

  12. LanceThruster says:

    I think anyone showing support for Gazans who were slaughtered in great numbers recently should be commended. Yes, it wasn’t the tennis player’s fault, but that’s why boycotts get noticed.

    Bernie Madoff and many US investment bankers *should* be in debtors prison, not in a mansion under house arrest.

  13. mike says:

    Americans may not want to gloat too soon. Dubai’s problems directly translate into American ones. Big ones too. Dubai had huge orders for Boeing aircraft, that they are now canceling. Airplane manufacturing is/was one of the bright spots in American manufacturing, with growing international sales. Well paying union jobs too. We could see Boeing take a place on the bailout list soon.

  14. bill__free says:

    The rest of the story included info about why they were leaving like a thief in the night and leaving their cars behind. They were afraid of “debtor’s prison”, since they were upside down in their loans.
    I read it yesterday. It was a very interesting read.

  15. SCLiberal says:

    No, not cars. Just people. Homeless rates are skyrocketing.

  16. bob_h says:

    But I thought the bankers were threatening to go there is their bonuses here were cut back.

  17. Older_Wiser says:

    Bloomberg reporting that oil futures are below $37. So, they’ve been under $40/bbl for about 2 weeks now. But gas at the pump is heading quickly toward $2/gal. again. As if we didn’t know why.

  18. Ian says:

    Yeah, except there aren’t cars being abandoned in parking lots. Nice try.

  19. sparrow says:

    Tide turns and they’re left with their sand castles.

  20. FunMe says:

    read the comments home boy!

    DeppFan 1 hour ago
    I had to ask my son that one – he said in Great Britain, a saloon is what they call a 4-door sedan.
    reply flag
    tbhull 44 minutes ago
    Thanks. I drive a saloon.

  21. FunMe says:

    You can’t blame the Indians. Wouldn’t you do the same looking for opportunity and of course financial reward?

    Americans were at fault for bringing in Indian to Silicon Valley at cheaper rates instead of being patriotic and hiring Americans at reasonable wages.

    As my dad says “barato sale caro” – cheap ends being expensive.

    American companies are at fault for this.

  22. FlyingToaster says:

    Since Dubai decided to not issue a visa for an Israeli tennis player, I think this qualifies as deserving some fallout. Pfeh.

  23. SCLiberal says:

    “Couldn’t have happened to nicer people.”

    I’m sure there are lots of people around the world saying the same about America.

  24. benb says:

    Sharia: a credit card company’s wet dream.

  25. cowboyneok says:

    Doesn’t Michael Jackson and his “boy harem” live there?

  26. Paul says:

    John, I’m a little disturbed by your comment “couldn’t have happened to nicer people.” I have friends (some gay) who live and work in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. It’s a wonderful multicultural mishmash of immigrants and reminds me of a Muslim version of New York at the turn of the century. Yes its conservative, but so is Nebraska (I know I’m from there).

  27. houstonray says:

    I don’t think John is referring to the exPats, I believe he is referring to the country of Dubai and it’s Religious leadership…

  28. clintonista says:

    I was in Dubai over Christmas. I’ve been going to Dubai since 2003 and have indeed witnessed the meteoric rise and now fall of this emirate. It’s sad and scary and it’s the poor (mostly Asians) who are really going to lose out.

    Dubai was oddly quiet. A lot less traffic on the highways and a lot less people in the malls.

  29. What is a “saloon”?

  30. maudgonne says:

    Tony Blair has won a prestigious million-dollar (£697,000) prize for his leadership on the world stage, it was announced today.

    Whitehall devised torture policy for terror detainees
    MI5 interrogations in Pakistan agreed by lawyers and government

    A policy governing the interrogation of terrorism suspects in Pakistan that led to British citizens and residents being tortured was devised by MI5 lawyers and figures in government, according to evidence heard in court.

  31. tbhull says:

    Thanks. I drive a saloon.

  32. ShirleyGoodnessanMercy says:

    The good news is that now you can book a single room at the Burj Al Arab (the world’s only 7 star hotel) for a paltry $2,518.00 per night.

  33. Nick_the_Dog says:

    Dubai Dooby Doo……..Doo Doo Doo Dee Doo!

  34. lucky hussein says:

    me too, except if us banks have exposure, it means we will have to bail them out, judging by obama’s actions so far… I wonder…

  35. Indigo says:

    I’m looking forward to the movie version of the novel.

  36. ndtovent says:

    he sure did…

  37. ShirleyGoodnessanMercy says:

    Didn’t Bush try to give Dubai control of the port of New York?

  38. ndtovent says:

    I’m sure halliburton will be the last one standing.

  39. Older_Wiser says:

    May all those bastards wind up on the dole. ; () I hope they lose it all.

  40. KarenMrsLloydRichards says:

    They left Wall Street and Canary Wharf in search of opportunity. They went to the UAE, where they presided over petrodollar investments for the sheikhs. They made megabucks! They lived large in their compounds, where they boozed it up beside the pool with their Filipina prosses! They gambled to win! To win big! But then . . .

    [heavy doom-laden minor chords]:

    it all came crashing down around their ears. Then . . .

    it was home to mummy and daddy in Long Island and suburban Middlesex.

    They’re “The New Lost Generation”! So lost . . . so tragic . . . !

  41. lucky hussein says:

    aaahhh ha ha ha ha….
    enomous, gaudy, ugly architecture built by peasant labor living in squalor..
    no democracy, pro-corporate, repressive, facist society..
    haliburon moves their hq to dubai.. that should tell you all you need to know..
    raise the top income tax to 90% for americans earning over 7 million in today’s it was in eisenhower’s day, those who don’t like it can move to dubai like haliburton :-0!
    ha ha ha ha ..

  42. frank says:

    The Indians are fleeing Silicon Valley returning home to gated communities in India called Pebble Beach. Greedy Cowards

  43. Older_Wiser says:

    Escaping debtor’s prison…another medieval practice of the UAE, including slavery and the suppression of women and gays.

    Makes you wonder why they went there in the first place. Oh right…to make money. So, what happened to it?

  44. joelb53 says:

    Isn’t Cheney already there?

  45. DannyUSAF says:

    It’s actually much worse than what you see on the news. I went through Dubai many times when I worked for KBR. The place is filled with thousands of Indian men who live in jam packed dorms and work for very little money. I wonder why this is never investigated. There was a reference to this stuff in the movie Syriana, but that is all I’ve seen. People are totally unaware that indentured servitude is alive and well in many parts of the world.

  46. wmforr says:

    And after all the special reports I’ve seen about the giant hotel and the indoor ski resort… Now it looks like the only multi-millionair who will be vacationing there is Osama bin Laden. Assuming he invested wisely. That nine billion that mysteriously disappeared in Iraq should come in handy.

  47. DeppFan says:

    I had to ask my son that one – he said in Great Britain, a saloon is what they call a 4-door sedan.

  48. tbhull says:

    What kind of vehicle is a “saloon”?

  49. Dave of the Jungle says:

    Dick Cheney and Ken Lay will live in exile on the top floor of the Burj Dubai; looking out on a vast ocean of concrete.

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