My first Dubai trip was in November 2008, the world was ending if you were in the development business anywhere in the world, and Dubai was the epicenter. The Burj Towers had stopped construction just a few days before I arrived. The Mall of Dubai had just soft opened and there was talk that it would be shuttered again.
The flight into Dubai was empty, the flight out was full of workers going home to India.
I returned in 2018 and today there are 3 skylines and growing, the city has tripled in size and the dynamism rivals Seoul, Hong Kong and Shanghai. Returning to Chicago, I was shocked to see how small the American city looked in comparison.