’I look out of my window and see the most amazing skyline of really
beautiful modern buildings,’ says Peter Smith, the Dubai-based
international director of Optimedia Middle East.
’Dubai has some of the biggest and best hotels in the world. The Burj Al
Arab bought seven Rolls Royces when it opened just to ferry guests from
the airport. But if you don’t fancy that, they have a their own
helicopter to whisk you to the 30th floor.
’Dubai’s famous for shopping. It’s got some of the most impressive malls
in the world. They were giving away a Rolls Royce every day at the Dubai
Shopping Festival. The restaurants are also wonderful - the Kwality
restaurant is probably the best Indian in the world.
’From October to March I walk to the office, but the rest of the year I
need an air-conditioned car. Temperatures reach more than 50deg C in
summer and it’s very humid. It’s the only place I’ve ever been where the
water in the swimming pools is iced.
’Although Dubai is very modern, people haven’t lost their sense of
culture or religion, which are still important in daily life.
’In business you build relationships slowly. Negotiations usually
involve chatting over tea or coffee and talking about anything except
the business in hand. You can’t rush. It can be frustrating if you’re
used to a more direct approach, but you learn to adapt.’