How to experience what Dubai was like before the skyscrapers

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“The horizon was just a sea of cranes,” a friend of mine told me of their recent trip to Dubai. They’d gone for a calming beach break – but ended up slumped on a man-made coast with a less-than-relaxing backdrop. 

The city’s rapid and dramatic growth is well documented, but few consider the implications for the traditional way of life of the local population. After a vast influx of migrants from both Asia and the West, the Emirati are outnumbered by nine to one. Amid the glitz and glamour of the UAE, it is difficult to imagine how they lived their lives in the desert before the skyscrapers shot up. But there is a way. 

A 40-minute drive from Dubai Airport, in the neighbouring emirate of Ras al…

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