Having spent the last few days circulating in Dubai, I am more convinced than ever the city continues on its path towards becoming a global metropolis. Surely, the fat from the boom days has been sliced, almost to the bone.
Today, Dubai's skeleton is visible and the skeleton looks pretty solid. That is good news not just for Dubai's debt holders but for the entire region.
For good or bad, Dubai had come to symbolize the Gulf region. When Dubai's name became synonymous with excess, the city's development model came into question.
Dubai's trappings as a global city are in place. The sight of overhead metro trains running parallel to the city's main thoroughfares adds to the public transport piece of the puzzle.
After many years of persistence, even the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) is showing signs of life. The DIFC is no Canary Wharf or even Raffles Place but undoubtedly a financial cluster has emerged.
Size, unfortunately, remains a systemic weakness for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Hence, the DIFC's modest buzz around cafes and bars is symptomatic of the region's size.
Dubai's role as a regional hub has only been underscored by the recent air cargo security scare. That the packages flowed through Dubai towards their final destination seems as natural a combination as wine and cheese.
Yes, many who sneered at some of the city's more outrageous grandiose schemes have been proven right. There is little talk of having the biggest and best of everything. The talk now centers on the federation and closer cooperation especially with their partners on the other side of Sheikh Zayed Road: Abu Dhabi.
So, while I do not believe the Dubai has any plans to extend its new metro system to Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi is not too worried. Abu Dhabi is doing just fine focusing on Ferrari theme parks.