"When he said Dubai, I said – if you want me to wear black and quit booze, baby, you've got the wrong girl. And I loved him." All her worries melted when she touched down in Dubai in 2005."It was an adult Disneyland, where Sheikh Mohammed is the mouse," she says. You had these amazing big apartments, you had a whole army of your own staff, you pay no taxes at all. We were partying the whole time." Her husband, Daniel, bought two properties. But for the first time in his life, he was beginning to mismanage their finances.In the dusty fort of the Dubai Museum, a sanitised version of this story is told.In the mid-18th century, a small village was built here, in the lower Persian Gulf, where people would dive for pearls off the coast.
Karen came here from Canada when her husband was offered a job in the senior division of a famous multinational.
"We're not talking huge sums, but he was getting confused. We got into a little bit of debt." After a year, she found out why: Daniel was diagnosed with a brain tumour.
One doctor told him he had a year to live; another said it was benign and he'd be okay. "Before I came here, I didn't know anything about Dubai law.
The town was soon seized by the gunships of the British Empire, who held it by the throat as late as 1971.
As they scuttled away, Dubai decided to ally with the six surrounding states and make up the United Arab Emirates (UAE).