I wouldn’t call The Dubai 5o: The Ultimate City Guide a travel guidebook. At least not in the classical sense. It offers no fold-out maps, recommendations or any of the typical travel tips for things to see/do while in Dubai. Not really for a tourist intending to do touristy things.
But that’s not what this book is for.
I came across a copy of it at MAKE Business Hub (a creative working space and cafe in JBR) and was drawn to its humorous, sarcastic tone with insight into what makes Dubai unique. For once, it isn’t about the malls that you can get lost in (they need a guide book on their own), the largest this-and-thats (it’s ridiculous at times), the unavoidable “fakeness” of a city that literally rose from the desert (a love-hate sentiment for many living there) or the adult playground-like lifestyle that caters to your every indulgence (and makes up for the aforementioned “fakeness”).
The book introduces you to unexpected characters and insider stories about specific places that you probably wouldn’t find out about unless you’d been living there for a while, like Jumeirah Jane, for example:
“A ‘Jumeirah Jane’ (JJ) is a lady who lunches. And shops. And sometimes picks her kids up from school (if the nanny is sick). She can be seen gliding around Jumeirah 1 in an oversized SUV, or a lipstick red sports car, depending on the JJ’s age. She also drinks a lot of coffee, carries a lot of make up and eats lunch at the Lime Tree Café.”
A refreshing read that makes Dubai slightly more interesting, quirky and real. And at the very least, it reminds us to not take it too seriously.
The Dubai 50 is currently available in all Jashanmal stores, in Magrudys, Kinokuniya and at Dubai International Airport. It’s also available on Amazon for the Kindle. Cost: 99 Dhs