He arrived in Dubai just as the UAE came into existence. In his 37 years as a Dubai resident, KJ Bhatia has had a front row seat to see a world of change in both the city and the region. As luck would have it, one day we struck up a conversation in his shop which would eventually lead to this podcast. This is one man’s life story that runs parallel to the amazing rise of a nation.
Somewhere along the neverending Jumeirah Beach Road in Dubai you’ll find a little oasis of healthy food and unique style. The place is Comptoir 102, a concept cafe created and run by my guests on today’s podcast: Alexandra de Montaudouin and Emma Sawko. While their place may not be far from downtown, this little cafe is in a very different world from the brand name corporate culture that took root in Dubai more than a decade ago.
Life wisdom comes from unexpected places at unexpected times. On one particular evening I was making my way from Abu Dhabi to Dubai and I found myself seated next to Mr. AJ from Nepal, a taxi driver-philosopher-extraordinaire. As I got into the car I asked how is life? and his immediate response was, “I am I bad man, I have wasted my life chasing money.” I knew right there, this was going to be an interesting ride.
Ali Al Saloom, better known on the internet as Ask Ali came on the scene in the same way many of us podcasters, bloggers, and other independent content creators did over the past 10 years… with an idea and a dream. His goal, to teach the world about his people and his culture, to dispel myths and contribute factual information about the UAE.
Mr. A is a young man in his early twenties, but he refers to himself as an old driver. So it goes in a country where the average taxi driver has a contract of 3 or 5 years. Like many drivers he is a modest man and when I ask him about life, at first he says he leads an uninteresting life. But after a few minutes of talking about Dubai, we find just the opposite to be true.
Unlike many people of the modern metropolis, Mr. A believes his life is just fine, especially after seeing the kinds of problems his passengers are carrying with them. Though respect is an issue and the stress is considerable, here is a man who’s number one matra is “I can’t complain, I have a good life.”
Marta’s Workshop is a restaurant and catering company in one of Dubai’s newest neighborhoods, Jumeirah Lake Towers. Though the city is famous for its massive shopping malls and record breaking sky scrapers, Marta represents a new approach that puts an emphasis on small, quality, creative and above all – human. Could this be the future of the city of gold? Anyone who has stepped into her world would say – YES.