Yes we have the world’s tallest skyscraper and a dragon-shaped shopping mall, but does Dubai have streets filled with out-of-work drama students and unsigned folk singers singing bad Bob Dylan covers to a bored dog on a string leash? No, it does not, and we for one would happily lob a few spare dirhams in the direction of even the most mildly talented street-side singer or mall magician with the courage to perform in public.
9 Unpredictable weather
Guess what the weather will be like tomorrow. And the day after? And the day after? And the… okay, you get the idea. Don’t get us wrong, we love the sunshine, but just once it would be nice to have a surprise. We’re not asking for a sudden freak snowstorm or an outburst of hail, but once in a while we’d like that feeling of waking up and looking out of the window in utter astonishment at what is happening.
8 Deadly animals
The prospect that a great white shark might nudge a screaming stand-up paddleboarder into the water would make beach trips more interesting, and we’ve often wondered what an overcrowded park market would be like if a wild lion appeared on the horizon. We draw the line at deadly spiders, though. They can stay away.
For a nation with such a proud Bedouin history we’re surprised there aren’t more organised camping spots in the UAE. Some of our best nights in the nation have been spent sleeping under the stars and with more organised and accessible camping spots, we’d gladly spurn a hotel for a night of campfire songs, half-cooked food and sleeping on a blow-up bed. This being Dubai, we reckon there’s a market for some luxury camping destinations, too.
6 More old people
Much has been made of the melting pot of nationalities that goes into making Dubai. While we’re thrilled with that diversity, we can’t remember the last time we saw an old person in the city. An influx of a few hundred thousand would improve the quality of tea rooms and reduce the average driving speed on Sheikh Zayed Road. If any entrepreneur wants a free business idea, how about a granny café, where you can go in and have a slice of cake while a nice old lady knits you a scarf? We’d be first in line.
5 Small businesses
On that note, any small business is alright by us. We applaud the pop-up markets and food trucks that occasionally… er, well… pop up around Dubai’s more avant-garde attractions, but we want more. In a city with an obsession with bigger, we reckon smaller is sometimes better. Bespoke boutiques, locally produced nik naks and made at home foods will do nicely.
4 Pod hotels
You’ve got an old friend coming to visit and you need somewhere for them to stay. There’s no chance you want them kipping on your couch and they’re reluctant to spend thousands on a hotel they will spend an average of ten waking minutes per day in. Enter the Japanese-style capsule hotel room where the accommodation has been likened to a chest of drawers and a morgue. We’d consider renting out a room for ourselves to avoid late-night traffic at weekends.
3 Free bikes
Contrary to what you may have heard, the best thing about Amsterdam is not the museums and art galleries. It’s the free bike hire that lets you make short trips around the city without spending a penny. It’s not just Amsterdam that offers this. Cities across Europe, Asia and North America have free public cycle hire. As Jumeirah Beach Road continues to get better and better, we’d love to see the same sort of system operate here.
2 A forest
No real reason. It would just be cool, right?
1 Rage rooms
We’re doffing our cap to Toronto as the latest city to open a room dedicated entirely to destruction. Hand over CAD$20 (Dhs55.50) and the owners present you with a baseball bat, an empty room and a box of household objects you can unleash all of your pent-up fury on. That’s right – a room where you are actually allowed to just go in and destroy things as violently as you wish. All in the name of relaxation therapy of course. Please, please, please bring one to Dubai. Or we’ll get very angry.