(editor's note: Michael is referring here to a cousin of his colleague, Grygor)
The relative is a musician, now in Yerevan National Chorus. Last year, the symphony and chorus, 350 people total, were flown to Dubai, to perform at some big state-sponsored event. The Dubai goverment chartered FIVE planes to fly them in for the event, and I am guessing also paid for the camera and DVDs they handed out afterwards.
The event they played at featured various barn-burners (Carmina Burana, Beethoven's Ninth, etc.) with the music timed to ads extolling Dubai as the modern city displayed on several massive screens, and fireworks and flames popping up everywhere. Why, I asked, is the chorus standing on a U-shaped platform? Oh, so that the fireworks can be shot up from the middle.
Now Dubai, as a city, is collapsing. Since it is an enlightened place, they actually have a debtor's prison. Expats, with debts mounting, are driving their cars to the airport, locking the keys in the car, and flying home.