Recently I went to a few places that have blown my mind away in terms of the vision needed to create them.
It started in Shanghai, well a little outside, with Naked and how this simple South African guy managed to build a resort in rural Shanghai. He raised $300m, he built and eco-friendly game lodge type of resort (without the animals) and it has become one of the most successful ventures of its type in China. Imagine the balls it took for him to venture out into rural nowhere and imagine creating something like this?
Then last week (this was written a while ago but not posted) I went back to SA and so decided to stop off in the Emirates.
After getting the hell out of Dubai at sunrise, the metropolis scenery subsided and it melted into typical desert for about an hour. As it began to change to white beach sand and sheer cliffs of hard rock, like nothing I’ve seen before and I cannot explain. Just miles and miles of rocky, bare, desolate cliffs. We began to climb into the mountain and I started to think that this guy was now taking me into deep dark Oman to be sold for body parts.
As I reached the top of the mountain and could peak over the other side I saw something that blew my mind completely. A bay of crystal blue water, and a desert camp build completely out of the surrounding mountain rocks that blended so well into the landscape it looked like it had been in that spot since the beginning of time. Immediately I started to wonder how someone managed to drive out into the middle of the desert for two hours crossing cliff after cliff and then decide to pick this spot to put up a completely self-sustaining, Eco friendly resort.
After a few days in this paradise I headed back into the ‘typical’ desert.
Sparse surroundings, beige sand and dunes for as far as you could see. Even in the air-conned car I started to believe there was no end in sight but low and behold an oasis.
Again how this was built, how its maintained and how they manage to get things like Bose sound systems, Nepresso pods and on and on into the middle of desert no where just flaws me.
Then returning to Dubai that is supposed to be impressive I was completely underwhelmed, well except for this magical beast, a dirty vodka martini on the 120 something floor was much needed. In Shanghai there are many buildings of similar sizes but because they are all together you don’t really get the massive impact of this Burj.
I came away believing Dubai downtown was almost a cop out, I mean building a hotel in a city is easy if you think about it. If you have the money you can build anything really. You design, you pay and you build, its that simple really. While our stay at the Ritz was exceptional as it is in most instances at the Ritz, but after being in the middle of nowhere and appreciating the execution of running a five star resort with literally no connection to the ‘outside world’, I was underwhelmed.
The vision, the balls and the gamble of building a resort far away, difficult to get to and at such a high level is incredible. I mean I think I have a decent ability to see things before they exist, I’m not talking the next Apple invention but in my field I can see evolution faster than most, but the long term commitment to an idea that these people have executed so sensationally just blew me away. I thank whatever being that people like this exist in the world so that I can fly half way around the world, lie on a massive beach lounger, put on a Bluetooth headset and watch a cinema screen attached to a boat on the beach at midnight
The people with this kind of vision, they are the ones who truly create magic!