Cruising towards The World is the first time you can really get your head around what the development actually is. It’s fine to talk flippantly about a conglomeration of 300 artificial islands a few kilometres off the Jumeirah coast, but it’s not until you’re in a speedboat facing towards them that you realise they’re exactly that: lumps of naked sand jutting from the blue ocean; in short, deserted islands. Deserted because despite construction being finished by state-owned developer Nakheel back in 2008, The World’s completion faltered in the midst of the largest global recession since the Great Depression. Gradually, we drifted from waiting with bated breath for the first opening to, well, forgetting all about them.

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