A pink taxi

A pink taxi

October 17, 2011

Palm Island

I used to be critical about the Palm project in Dubai. I thought this man made addition to Dubai was a symbol of everything artificial, superfluous and uncharming in Dubai. A representation of the "easy-gratification" life-style: you want a beach front home, you get one instantly! I used to even make a joke about cutting the Palm off the mainland at the level of its trunk so that it could drift away, like an unfinished dream.

Palm Island came to mind when my son had an art project that required him to draw and paint a "pirate's map" and antiquate it. I suggested the Palm as a witty anachronism. If the Palm had not existed for real in Dubai, wouldn't a child-pirate have imagined it in Never-never land, Atlantis at its crown?

Drawing the map of the Palm was fun. We made sure the fronds were well represented in scale, even though the picture was quite approximated. By reproducing it, we realized that the Palm looked more like a araneidae specie than one of my preferred trees.

Then we handed the map to my father so he could authenticate it with a perfect Arabic script. We browned the paper with cotton soaked in tea and burnt the contours with a candle.

It was with this fantastic representation of the Palm accomplished that I looked upon the development with a less critical eye. I have been invited to fabulous parties there, have danced on the sand, in the middle of the Persian Gulf. I have listened to Faithless and to Example at Nasimi beach! My children have celebrated countless birthday parties there. These celebrations have given the Palm good vibes.

But what I enjoy about the Palm the most is its destination. I love to drive there: exhilirated by the connection between mainland Dubai and its fronds, the moment my car cruises over the Persian Gulf, that always appears turquoise, when music is blaring...and the thought that it could be cut at its base and drift away!


  1. I'm still quite divided about the Palm. It's growing on me little by little but I don't think it was planned properly. From an environmental point of view, it's a disaster. I still remember attending the Dubai World General Meeting in 2008 a few days after the bashful opening of the Atlantis. It felt like being on the Titanic when it hit the iceberg.

  2. Projects likes The Palm and The Burj Khalifa are extravagant in every way, but it is also what has put Dubai on the map. When you meet an American and you tell them that you grew up in Dubai, those are the landmarks that come to their mind, with such great amazement in the eyes. But the environmental downsides make the Palm problematic, which is a shame. It is always a tough balancing act, I guess.

  3. The greatest problem with the Palm,is the greed of having it followed by two larger palms,that made it impossible for people to digest.The World another dream that is silting into the sea is another example of extravaganza.
    Yet the Burj and the Palm have become icons for Dubai,worth the billions thrown into them.