The Emirate has been struggling for many months, and if you scratch the surface the pain in this new and gaudy metropolis is palpable. Ross, who asked not to be identified, is one of countless expatriates who have been caught out by the collapse in Dubai’s once-booming property market.
Like many he bought a flat off-plan in what was a red-hot property market. Today he is trapped, his passport confiscated until he repays bank loans he used to invest in a property that may never exist. If his work dries up before he can clear his debts he will go to jail.
Nobody saw it coming.
On a recent walk around the car park at Dubai Airport, there were more than two dozens cars that looked completely abandoned by their owners.
Some people have taken to writing little messages on the layers of sand that have gathered on the vehicles.
One says "Gone 4 Ever", and another says "He will return. Inshallah".
"Many people leave cars like this," said an airport worker. "Maybe they have a loan from the bank, maybe their jobs have been terminated. That's why they have left their cars here and gone."
"If there's one thing you can trust, it's Dubai," Khalid al-Malik, the CEO of Tatweer, a separate government-owned developer behind some of Dubai's most ambitious projects, said during an interview in April 2008. "Just like what the Americans did with their reputation, we are people who can deliver."Dubai's biggest deadbeat is Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum. Why is he not in debtor's prison, along with the stupid greedy Europeans who flipped and flopped?