Traffic back on Dubai roads
Dubaiâ€™s traffic â€“ the bane of pre-financial crisis life in the city — is back.Â
At rush hour, queues of cars snake along the Gulf Arab boomtownâ€™s highways. But this time, nobody is complaining. At least not yet.
For many, the relief felt at the sight of such signs of economic recovery still largely outweighs the annoyance at having to once again spend a good part of their day behind the steering wheel.
DubaiÂ taxi drivers canâ€™t believe their luck.
Only six months ago, these drivers â€“ most of them men from Pakistan and India â€“ saw the amount of money they were able to send home each month plummet as the global financial crisis drained Dubaiâ€™s streets of their usual clients, mostly tourists and business people. Now, while not back to the levels before the slowdown, they say they are earning a decent wage again.
Signs that things are picking up are not only to be found on the cityâ€™s roads. Dubaiâ€™s luxurious malls â€“ home to the worldâ€™s largest indoor ski slope and shark-filled aquariums â€“ were often glaringly empty over the past months, but are slowly filling up with shoppers again.
Parents say that schools have not seen a slump in enrollments anticipated by those who thought the emirate was going to witness a mass exodus at the end of the school year as expats who had lost their jobs left the country. Remittances toÂ countries such asÂ Lebanon and Jordan have not been as badly hit as many predicted, soÂ the number of redundancies in Dubai may not have beenÂ so large.
So as Dubai begins to resemble its old, bold and bustling self again, it may be a while yet before its inhabitants, humbled by the sight of their city being reduced almost to a ghost town, feel brave enough to moan about congestion as they did before.