Meet Ratan Tata | Travel through the Outback in a Discovery Sport | Head to California in search of the Lost Coast | Sir Paul Smith and his bespoke Defender | Grass roots Rugby
ARABIAN JOURNEY THIS IS
ARABIAN JOURNEY THIS IS A JOURNEY INTO A F U T U R E ARABIA B E Y O N D T H E CITY LIMITS Clockwise from top left: leaving Dubai; at reception, Banyan Tree Al Wadi – the executive class rear seating of the Range Rover SVAutobiography features powered deployable tables, bottle chiller compartment, individual massage seats with power recline of up to 17 degrees and calf rests; a bedroom and plunge pool in one of the Banyan Tree Al Wadi’s tent-like villas “No man can live this life and emerge unchanged. He will carry, however faint, the imprint of the desert… for this cruel land can cast a spell which no temperate clime can match,” wrote Wilfred Thesiger in his seminal 1959 account, Arabian Sands. Standing amid the scrubland and cranes of modern Dubai, it is clear that the spell in question is now one of fantastically tall glass towers, nearimpossible dreams of palm-shaped islands and the biggest fish tank in the world. Still echoing with the strange magic of The Thousand and One Nights, Dubai seems almost an emporium of make-believe. It is the jewel in the crown of the United Arab Emirates – a state that’s a mere 45 years old. This desert peninsula pointing north like an exclamatory finger between the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean has seen unimaginable change in the past half century. Its population has ballooned from that of a moderately sized English market town (about 70,000) to the equivalent of Greater London (around nine million). Almost all those people have come from the Indian subcontinent, leaving local Arabs as a tiny minority of little more than 10%. The magnet that draws them is black gold – the oil wealth that pours day and night from beneath the sands of Arabia, driving an economic boom. Before its discovery, the nomadic Bedouin roamed the desert and outsiders ignored it completely. When this story was written, there were over 65,000 hotel rooms to choose from in Dubai alone. By the time you read this, that number will probably be out of date. They are aiming for 100,000 by the time of the Dubai World Expo 2020. Over 14 million visitors came through Dubai International Airport in 2015 in search of the highest penthouses and the biggest shopping malls. This town even has its own festival of shopping. So, surely we’re going to wander the shining hotels and malls of Dubai? That’s what everyone else would do, but we are driving a long wheelbase Range Rover SVAutobiography – the most luxurious Land Rover ever. This car requires the less-beaten path, the unexpected delight of perspectives unseen from the city’s skyscrapers and visions that only the luxury of time and wide open spaces can reveal. As we drive along the traffic-clogged Sheikh Zayed Road, horns blaring, endless billboards announcing the latest concept suburbs to be built on the city’s edge, we are aware at every turn of a faint rippling on the hazy horizon, in between the gleaming skyscrapers. It is sand dunes. It is the call of the desert. INTO THE SAND DUNES This is a journey into another Arabia. But it isn’t a nostalgia trip into a past of desert warriors and plucky British adventurers. It’s a journey into a future Arabia. Beyond the city limits, a different vision of this region’s future is being created. We head into 58
Land Rover Magazine showcases stories from around the world that celebrate inner strength and the drive to go Above and Beyond.
In this issue, New Defender is put through its paces by two inspirational young adventurers as they prepare for an expedition to the South Pole. We also celebrate 50 years of Range Rover by taking a journey of discovery to Dubai. As well as looking back, we look to future as a group of visionaries explain the technologies that could change the future for all of us.