Don’t ask me why…

… but I ended up going to Dubai this past weekend. 20 hours to get there, 48 hours on the ground, and another 20 hours to get back. HM Customs found my itinerary a little bizarre too, thus the hour-long interrogation in the pokey little back-room upon my return to NZ.

Anyhoo, for those of you who haven’t been there, Dubai is an amazing place. The shopping is great, architecture astonishing, and clubs rockin’ (particularly those run by the Russian mafia). 48 hours doesn’t make for much sightseeing, but I did manage to get out to the Emirates Mall (complete with an indoor skifield that leaves SnowPlanet for dead), the Gold Souk (home of the world’s cheapest and most garish jewellery), and of course the Burj al-Arab.

To be honest though, my strongest memory of Dubai is a bad one, and a reason I’d encourage you all to spend your tourist dollars elsewhere till they (hopefully, one day) sort themselves out. I captured this screenshot while browsing my usual array of blogs from my hotel on Saturday morning:

Some of you will wonder why I removed the URL of the blog in question from the screenshot. You’ll say ‘It was probably porn, you dodgy bugger!’ Ok, so think about this for a second – even if it was a porn site (which I can assure you it wasn’t) would that make it ok? Is it ok to censor stuff that some people find objectionable? Which people? Define ‘objectionable’? What about people that don’t find it objectionable – don’t they have rights too?

As the man said, you either believe in freedom of speech or you don’t. These guys don’t.

Some of you will think I’m over-reacting. If you do, give me a call and we can discuss it. I’ll share my reasoning with you and listen to yours. I’ll hope to convince you with a superior argument – a logical chain of valid premises, which you’re free to try and refute. You’ll probably make some good points that will help me to understand the UAE position, if not sympathise, and we’ll both hopefully walk away wiser and better people. You see – that’s what civilised people do.

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