I have nothing against being rich, as long as the wealth is deserved and doesn’t stem from abuse of power and corruption, but even when it’s justified, excessively showing it off can appear inappropriate. I found sometimes that in the UAE luxury is too easily boasted, always very fine and never tacky, to be honest, but with little consideration for the less lucky.
I appreciate that the Emirates are a wealthy state and, I’m told, rulers devote a huge amount of money to charity projects, which makes them honorable. However, when I went to the super-luxurious Emirates Palace all that ostentation was a bit too much. I’m not going to start a crusade against luxury nor a debate on whether it’s good or not to show off, but when I was staring at the vending machine spitting out gold ingots (or better “potentially” spitting out, since I wasn’t really inserting my ridiculous bank card), I did mulled over a thing or two.
Meandering through the hotel’s (because the Emirates Palace is a hotel, did I mention that?) corridors felt like discovering the different areas of an amusement park where exaggeration is the rule.
Truth be said, the Emirates Palace was not built and is not meant to be an amusement park but simply a hotel, so very likely curious people (like me, that is) are not welcome. Fair enough, but they also have a bar which, if intended solely for the hotel’s guests is probably doomed to go bust.
I’m told, for Christmas 2010, one of the leading jewelers sponsored the annual Christmas tree, and thought opportune to pack it with diamonds. Apparently the “gift” provoked a debate, mainly caused by the fact that such a display of luxury is not in line with a proper Christmas spirit.
Call me boring, polemical, disenchanted, but when I see such a wealth-boasting I can’t restrain myself from thinking that in the world there are far too many needy people rather than well-heeled, and that maybe, if resources were better managed, Unicef, Onu and all similar NGOs and institutions wouldn’t have to issue year after year shocking poverty stats.
If you would like to see other photos I took at the Emirates Palace (not the gold-distributing vending machine, that was forbidden), you may take a look at my Flickr set.