sea estructures -burj al arab & palm islands-    In 2006 I had the opportunity to go to Sarjah Emirate as assistant to a contemporary artist. Although Sarjah is next to Dubai, it’s nothing like it. Sarjah is like one of the towns on the other side in Michael Winterbottom’s film Code 46. An Islamic Blade Runner.

On a trip from Sarjah to Dubai, a worker at the Spanish Embassy took us by car (you can’t walk anywhere in Dubai: there aren’t any pavements there) to visit the famous Burj Al Arab Hotel, which looks like a sailing ship. There are four ways to visit Burj Al Arab: 1- Make a reservation (the cheapest price is 1,600 €) 2- Work there 3- Arrive in a Corps Diplomatique car (as we did) 4- Sneak in (a bit like the third option, but without an embassy’s protection... and I wouldn’t do too many things like that in Dubai, just in case)

As soon as you get out of the embassy car and go into the hotel, you get the feeling you’re in a parallel world. At the entrance a group of women wearing beautiful saris and holding sticks of incense offer you sweets. As you go up the escalator, you realise that the walls to the side of them are giant aquariums full of fish. And you realise something else very quickly too. Whenever I put my hand on the handrail, a cleaner came out behind me with a cloth to clean it as soon as I lifted my hand.

When I discovered the glass lift on the outside of the building I spent most of my time in the hotel there. Up and down. From the lift I could see the bit of land they were stealing from the sea to build Palm Islands, which is shaped like a giant palm tree. Looking to the right, there’s another housing estate called The World, which is shaped like a map of the World. Going up and down so much made me want to take a leak. After going to the toilets and taking a pee, when I went up to the basin a Filipino or Malaysian looking attendant, who I hadn’t noticed before, turned the tap on and offered me a towel. I left the toilets and left the attendant there. I needed some air. Even if it was dry, hot desert air. I left the hotel and stayed close to the entrance. I saw luxury cars coming and going. Apparently Burj Al Arab’s a 7-star hotel, but I wouldn’t recommend it to my worst enemy.