You’ll all be glad to hear that our NYCC-induced state of optimism has been washed away by life back in the real world, and we’re back to collecting recipes for turnips and learning how to sew animal skins together. It’s not even just our imaginations…a DJ pal told us about going to work at a club where the heating bill hadn’t been paid, so he had to work in a parka. Thunderdome!
We’ve also heard lots of seemingly plausible doomsday scenarios about the comics industry. Not that any seem likely to happen tomorrow, or that comics won’t survive in some shape, but sometimes it seems like one fragile little ecosystem we have here.
Luckily, comics didn’t go hog wild, like the folks in Dubai did. You’ll recall the the tiny Persian Gulf country was all set to become a surreal wonderland of fantastic architecture and endless theme parks — including a large Marvel-themed one. Well the economic downturn hadn’t been kind, like the case of this foreign woman who moved there to take a job and now can’t pay her mortgage:
“I’m really scared of what could happen, because I bought property here,” said Sofia, who asked that her last name be withheld because she is still hunting for a new job. “If I can’t pay it off, I was told I could end up in debtors’ prison.”
With Dubai’s economy in free fall, newspapers have reported that more than 3,000 cars sit abandoned in the parking lot at the Dubai Airport, left by fleeing, debt-ridden foreigners (who could in fact be imprisoned if they failed to pay their bills). Some are said to have maxed-out credit cards inside and notes of apology taped to the windshield.
The fantasy land has all-too-real problems:
But Dubai, unlike Abu Dhabi or nearby Qatar and Saudi Arabia, does not have its own oil, and had built its reputation on real estate, finance and tourism. Now, many expatriates here talk about Dubai as though it were a con game all along. Lurid rumors spread quickly: the Palm Jumeira, an artificial island that is one of this city’s trademark developments, is said to be sinking, and when you turn the faucets in the hotels built atop it, only cockroaches come out.
Since in Dubai it’s illegal to report bad news, figuring out what’s happening to all the theme parks is not easy.