Dubai was meant to be a Middle-Eastern Shangri-La, a glittering monument to Arab enterprise and western capitalism.
But as hard times arrive in the city state that rose from the desert sands, an uglier story is emerging.
In the swankiest new constructions – like the vast Atlantis hotel, a giant pink castle built in 1,000 days for .5bn on its own artificial island – where rainwater is leaking from the ceilings and the tiles are falling off the roof.
This Neverland was built on the Never-Never – and now the cracks are beginning to show.
Suddenly it looks less like Manhattan in the sun than Iceland in the desert.
Once the manic burst of building has stopped and the whirlwind has slowed, the secrets of Dubai are slowly seeping out.