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Download e-book for kindle: A Diamond in the Desert: Behind the Scenes in Abu Dhabi, the by Jo Tatchell

By Jo Tatchell

ISBN-10: 080217079X

ISBN-13: 9780802170798

Tatchell takes us on a journey of town with an outlook that’s half local, half critic, half wide-eyed visitor. the result's a really unique university of views and photographs, from a regal expatriate whose husband was once one of many first Brits to settle in Abu Dhabi to younger Emirati artists celebrating their newfound freedom of expression. A compelling piece of historical past instructed with an intimate narrative voice, A Diamond within the wilderness is an eye-opening and infrequently haunting point of view on simply how a lot this interesting urban has changed—and, for larger or for worse, how a lot it has stayed the same.

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Extra resources for A Diamond in the Desert: Behind the Scenes in Abu Dhabi, the World’s Richest City

Sample text

Set up in 1948 in Beirut, it had branched into fulfilling the growing needs of oil prospectors in the Gulf. As soon as reserves were confirmed and revenues began to flow, Spinneys had opened a large, air-conditioned supermarket in Abu Dhabi. Reassuringly expensive, seemingly modelled on Fortnum & Mason, it guaranteed the swelling population of expatriates a regular supply of Frank Cooper’s marmalade, Gentleman’s Relish, Bath Olivers and Worcestershire sauce. By 1975 change was well under way. The seaside village of a thousand, living in the old barasti huts, made from palm fronds, was gone.

Outside, the same fake grass and cheap plastic umbrellas welcome customers. A young chef in the window shaves strips of chicken into pockets of flat Arabic bread with the sleight of hand usually reserved for magicians. He wraps up several such sandwiches, shawarma, in seconds. We turn off the main drag and creep through the back-streets. Labourers from Pakistan and Bangladesh squat silently by the roadside in overalls, eating and staring; a Filipina girl in capri pants and a T-shirt runs across the grass and trips over a coil of hosepipe; Indian shopkeepers slouch against bales of cloth inside a line of fabric stores.

They look untouchable, like idealised human forms, not quite real. Haven’t they always said here, ‘Say what you like, but dress as others do’? I feel grimy and under-attired as I slink into the ‘Other Passports’ line and wait my turn. We are a motley lot. Three exhausted Filipinas, a weary French couple, a Lebanese family with a hyperactive child, and a couple of lone businessmen in short-sleeved shirts stretched over thickening middles. An officer patrols the line. He has round eyes and a neatly trimmed beard – like a plump version of George Michael.

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A Diamond in the Desert: Behind the Scenes in Abu Dhabi, the World’s Richest City by Jo Tatchell


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