All over the city, there are maxed-out expats sleeping secretly in the sand-dunes or the airport or in their cars.
"The thing you have to understand about Dubai is – nothing is what it seems," Karen says at last. "Nothing. This isn't a city, it's a con-job."
The sheikh did not build this city. It was built by slaves. They are building it now.
I believe this is what you'd call an indictment.
Dubai is either an act of fiction or of the future. I arrived thinking the former; I leave wondering whether it could be the latter.
From the archive, a selection:
Dubai threatens to become an instant ruin, an emblematic hybrid of the worst of both the West and the Middle-East and a dangerous totem for those who would mistakenly interpret this as the de-facto product of a secular driven culture.
... it's clear that the emirate will soon be overflowing with attractions ...
Dubai, with its Disneyesque Arab souks in which you can purchase Arab handicrafts or a Cinnabon ...
The company behind some of Dubai's best-known landmarks is considering a stock market listing to raise as much as $15bn to reinforce its finances.
Read this now.
Back to Johann Hari:
The most famous hotel in Dubai – the proud icon of the city – is the Burj al Arab hotel, sitting on the shore, shaped like a giant glass sailing boat.
The dark side of Dubai