Nobody's expected that this once small settlement, poor like an African tribe, will become one of the greatest cities on the planet. The Singapore of the Middle East. The City of Now.
But back then, forgotten by the world, perched on the edge of a vast desert and surrounded by the sea of sand, without any major prospects for further development or whatsoever, was left behind everyone's eyes, only for God's mercy.
When other states were testing the latest techniques or inventions, sending rockets with their men to the moon, people in Dubai lived peacefully with camels on their sides, fished, dived in search of pearls or dozed in the shades of date palms to protect themselves from the scorching sun. Unaffected by the passing time.
Only Rashid's contact with foreigners has changed everything. They were the one who initiated the change by telling Sheikh stories about the skyscrapers in New York, or the underground subway in London. Sitting on the floor in a small shop with camels waiting outside, the Ruler, through three-dimensional glasses, was admiring unknown before urban architecture.
- One day, you'll see, beautiful gardens will be here and tall buildings here. - Sheikh Rashid used to say to a friend, the shopkeeper.
And after hearing the news that the world had never heard of him nor Dubai he decided to change it.
He dreamed that everyone, without any exceptions, would know his city; a simple family discussing over dinner the events from the city, British with a pint of beer debated about Dubai. Farmers in India, workers in China, bankers in Switzerland, Russians. Everyone, without exception.
With a little help of oil Rashid's dreams come true. Today, Dubai is all what the rest of the Arab world is not. Over the decades the village engulfed the desert and became a cosmopolitan city of the XXI century, the financial center, a symbol of luxury living and a hot tourist destination for those seeking a luxurious runaway, adventure or cultural trip.
By 2008, it was the fastest growing city on earth, with glistening skyscrapers and cranes working 24 hours a day.
If not because of the tallest building in the world, the fastest growing airline in the world, it was certainly due to the economic crisis, which knocked out the city for a moment and made it being a top discussed city on earth. Despite the past financial struggles, for many it will continue to be a city of dreams, luxury and splendor, where movie stars and music come together at the annual festivals and highways are filled in with luxurious cars.
But beside all this, there is one detail worth your attention... Dubai is not just a fancy buildings straight out of science-fiction movie, beautiful golf courses and castles built on sand.
It's people that make this place so special.