In the swankiest new constructions - like the vast Atlantis hotel, a giant pink castle built in a thousand days on its own artificial island, where rainwater is leaking from the ceilings and the tiles are falling off the roof. Suddenly it looks less like Manhattan in the sun, and more like Iceland in the desert.Once the manic burst of building has stopped and the whirlwind has slowed, the secrets of Dubai are slowly seeping out.
The town was soon seized by the gunships and cannons of the British Empire, who held it by the throat as late as 1971.
The ubiquitous cranes have paused on the sky-line, as if stuck in time.
There are countless buildings half-finished, seemingly abandoned.
The wide, beneficent face of Sheikh Mohammed - the absolute ruler of Dubai - smiles down on his creation.
His image is displayed on every other building, sandwiched between the more familiar corporate rictuses of Ronald Mc Donald and Colonel Saunders.