Dubai glistens. Impossibly-shiny glass windows gleam across blocks of new high-rises and 350,000 sqm shopping malls. Sprawling man-made lakes glitter in the brilliant sunlight. A 40-minute drive from downtown takes you to a surreal dreamscape filled with golden sand, where friendly camels trot and tourist-hungry campsites stage belly dances by twilight. And of course, the heat. The intense, body-baking heat that rises out of the sand that goes everywhere. Your shoes, your room, the pockets of your jeans. Thanks to some friends living there,Dubai is a strange place – sparse with people and filled with multi-billion dollar dreams. Drive through the city (it’s laid out in one long line), and you’ll find towering, half-finished buildings left standing as if discarded by a giant child. Nobody walks anywhere because of the heat, so the city in the middle of the afternoon resembles a dusty ghost town. The countless malls are laden with brands from everywhere in the world – burgers from South Africa, Lebanese sharwarma wraps, Italian bags of the softest leather, bakeries from Australia. Stay too long in Dubai – and you’ll feel like you’re wandering about in a hazy dream. Nothing seems quite real. And perhaps, nothing really is.