Feudal though the government of countries like Dubai may be (for more on which HERE), you can't help but gasp at how much can be done so quickly with access to plenty of capital and a huge reservoir of ex-pat cheap labour.
When I was last in the UAE about ten years ago, Dubai Marina (viewed above through an iPhone from my hotel room) didn't exist and was still part of the desert.
But dig out out a canal, let in sea-water from the Persian Gulf and you can create a 21st century version of Manhattan, complete with its own 3 miles of waterfront.
In 2009, construction work temporarily stalled in the wake of the world financial crisis, but now seems to be have revived again.
The buildings will no doubt survive longer than the 30 years I predicted for Dubai's political status quo (HERE). But whether or not the Arab spring will speed up the process of change remains to be seen...