Conversations with taxi drivers in the Dubai trip provided the much needed insight about the place beyond its glitter. There was one taxi driver who told me how this job had helped his family back home and enabled him to build his house, marry off his sister and send his children to school. Then there was the one who explained, with great detail, how various nationalities behaved towards drivers - with foreigners (read: goras) being the most polite and leaving substantial tips and Arabs being the worst. Pakistanis and Indians were mostly rude, especially the affluent ones who considered taxi drivers as some alien species and not humans.
I like Dubai. Mostly because of my family and friends who live there and who made this trip such a memorable one. And yes, I admit, I like the shopping too. But there are various sides to Dubai and not all of them are glamorous. As tourists we don't get to see the apartment buildings where people share tiny flats and don't have central air-conditioning. Take a ride on the metro and you'll see tired, expressionless faces and glazed eyes as the metro takes them by shiny malls and hotels. They are, however, assured of one thing. No one will stop them on their way home and snatch their belongings at gun point.
Sometimes for peace of mind, you have to pay a price.