When you plan a trip in January and you happen to live in the Northern Hemisphere, it comes without saying that you need to hop on a plane and figure out a place you could spend your time in a t-shirt. We’ve been thinking about taking a squad to the United Arabic Emirates for a long time. We’ve personally been there before and knew with amazing weather all year and spots like Barcelona on steroids, the UAE would be the perfect destination for our upcoming issue.
So join us to this desert oasis and see how Charles Munro, Joscha Aicher, Jan Hoffmann, Ike Fromme, Kalle Wiehn and Hyun Kummer experienced
We hope you like it!
TEXT: JOHANNES SCHOEN
ANALOG PHOTOGRAPHY: DOMINIK SCHNEIDER
LIKE SEAGULLS WE MIGRATE
When you plan a trip in January and you happen to live in the Northern Hemisphere, it comes without saying that you need to hop on a plane and figure out a place you could spend your time in a t-shirt. We’ve been thinking about taking a squad to the United Arabic Emirates for a long time. We’ve personally been there before and knew, considering the all-year-round amazing weather and spots like Barcelona on steroids, that the UAE would be the perfect destination for our upcoming issue. So join us to this desert oasis and see how Charles Munro, Joscha Aicher, Jan Hoffmann, Ike Fromme, Kalle Wiehn and Hyun Kummer experienced Pocket: UAE.
AMERICA, HOLD MY BEER!
Our Dubai-base was located in Downtown. Going to the nearby situated Dubai Mall, the squad got a first glance of what they were in for. The mall was right next to us. Still, it took us 20 minutes to reach the food court. It is one of the world’s biggest malls and with over one million square meters total area, over 1200 stores, ice skating on the left and aquariums with sharks on the right, it is everything and more one could expect of a mall in Dubai.
Since we try to see the good in everything, one could apparently say that if they do something, they don’t half-ass it. An example we were inspired to follow.
ALL THAT GLITTERS IS NOT GOLD
The fact that 25% of all cranes in the world were once located in Dubai can help visualize how they managed to build most of the buildings we see today in just about 20 years. But all that glitters is not gold. Being out in the streets all day, we got to watch people from all walks of life. People who build empires and those who actually build them for them. That often comes with a high price, as construction workers in Dubai and Abu Dhabi have a high-risk job. It is hard to find solid numbers, but at high times the annual deaths of construction workers were in the hundreds, maybe thousands. Thus, seeing all the amazing structures and skating underneath them felt kind of bittersweet at times.
While on our last trip to the Pacific Northwest for Pocket: Northbound the decriminalization of Marihuana was a supporting factor for choosing the destination, we knew the UAE had quite the opposite opinion on the usage of this magical plant. But that wasn’t a problem for the squad. Informing them about potential life in an Arabic prison wasn’t even needed. Maybe a little. As we are all so used to our known environments, we tend to forget that different cultures come with certain differences in values and most certainly laws. While in Germany you could drive up to a police officer with a can of beer in your hand and ask them for directions to the next brothel, wearing a Playboy t-shirt in Dubai could get you arrested and in serious trouble. So we had to make sure to respect their values and sensitize our depraved European behavior.
NO ART AT LEAST MEANS NO BAD ART
Usually, pedestrian subways are made for bad graffiti. The kind of graffiti you feel bad for every real graffiti artist to be associated with. But with the strict law enforcement of the UAE you can get the pleasure of walking through subways without being forced to look at anything like that. They must have motivated cops. Maybe because the police force spends more money on each of their luxurious supercars than it costs to send a child to college in the USA. In most cases both are a waste of money.
But as the German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, whose brand-store can also be found at the Dubai Mall, once said: “If you throw money out of the window throw it out with joy.” Well put.
A 6 BILLION DOLLAR SNACK
Due to the UAE’s fast growth over the last decades, it was just until recently that they developed an address system with zip- and area codes. But they are excellent at catching up with the latest technology. For example, the drive from Dubai to Abu Dhabi can take up to three hours, which will soon be a thing of the past, as they are looking to finish a hyperloop vacuum tube transport system that can propel passengers at speeds of more than 1000 kilometers per hour. Very soon these three hours will be down to a couple of minutes, which would have left us with much more time to get kicked out in Dubai and come again to try our luck after a snack in Abu Dhabi. If you ask us, it’s well worth the 40 million dollars it costs to build one (!) kilometer.