I really like the concept of Cyberpunk. I know it’s a bit of a stretch, but I’d really like to live to the year 2100, and I’d really like to see some of the megoploisis(???) like those in The Fifth Element or Ghost In The Shell. In recent years it would seem that Cyberpunk has been replaced by Steampunk, but I am trying to stay addicted to my chosen genre. Besides, I would think that Cyberpunk is a natural progression from a Steampunk past.
For a long time I thought that Tokyo might slake my thirst for a a dim, dark future, but it’s just too clean. I was in Singapore earlier this year when the fires in Indonesia sent masses of smog throughout the city, and that was getting close. You could stand on top of the Maria Bay Sands, looking through a pea-soup atmosphere. Towers owned by investment banks would peek through the rolling grey clouds, but if you went down to ground level you could still find the little markets and food courts that make Singapore such a lively city.
But now, I think that Dubai might prove to be the frontrunner in the race towards my dream environment. I should clarify that I don’t particularly want to live there, I just want to see a Cyberpunk world.
I have only transited through Dubai, but even here in the airport and the surrounding hotels you can see the beginnings of the this dystopic future. Inside the airport everything is glitz and excess. There are multiple lotteries for luxury cars, and if you spend a few hundred dollars you go into the draw to win a fair bit of pure gold.
You have the Burj Kalifa and hte Burj Al-Arab – huge buildings that tower over the sand and the ruin of the outskirts of town. And the Sand Storms make life interesting, too.
Crap, battery almost dead. AG 7 up.
(Continued on phone)
Anyway, I fly a lot, so I get free lounge access. Here in Dubai the first class lounge lets you peer down upon the proles whilst you hob-nob with sheikhs. But last time I was here I thought I’d book a hotel for a few hours of sleep.
After an excruciating line at customs (another Cyberpunk feature) I boarded a bus that drove me about a mile to the hotel. As soon as we had left the airport we had basically returned to the desert. Buildings were either half -built or half -demolished… I’m not sure which. The short walk from the bus to the hotel was the only time I touched un-airconditioned air. But even now, as we descend into Dubai, I can sense the subtle change in flavour as we start ingesting the desert air instead of the stratospheric.
There was also a cool documentary about how Dubai is built; detailing the amount of water they use for cooling, how they bury cement pylons way down to the bedrock many metres below the surface, and how buildings need to be cleaned to remove the dust and sand.
So I’m hoping that Dubai will continue down this promising path, and that Tom Cruise doesn’t come back again and screw it up for me.