Some of my UK-based colleagues and friends have assumed that I must be on something of a Dubai ‘jolly’, but that’s a long way from the truth. Perhaps because I was on a short, intensive visit, I started Thursday with an early meeting then jumped into a taxi to get to the next meeting – a process I repeated twice more without stopping for lunch. So, by 3.30pm, I was starving hungry and ready for a restful evening. Except that I had the Gulf States Building Awards dinner to attend.
However, it was an excellent event. Translating an industry dinner from a UK context to Dubai meant a few changes, mainly regarding the serving of alcohol (those tables that wanted it could order wine once the event was under way) and the choice of comperes (Shiulie Ghosh and David Foster from TV network Al Jazeera – Shiulie is ex-BBC, of course). And while many in the audience were UK expatriates, the sporting celebrities (England rugby union internationals Will Greenwood, Neil Back and Jason Leonard) will probably have been completely unknown to some of the locals – judging from the local newspapers I’ve read during my stay perhaps cricket stars might have been better.
After the dinner, many of the guests quickly disappeared, which was a shame as Building had laid on some post-dinner entertainment (the wandering magician was fantastic!).
(I am writing this blog post using free wifi in the newly-opened Terminal 3 at Dubai International Airport.)
Update (17 November 2008): The Gulf States Building Awards are covered here, and you can read the shortlist and the citation for the Downtown Burj Dubai project that won the BIW-sponsored “Mixed use project of the year” category here.