(CBS) Over the years, booming oil prices helped turn Dubai into a land of opportunity and playground for the ultra rich.
But that was then and this is now. And as CBS News correspondent Sheila MacVicar reports, even Dubai is feeling the pinch of the worldwide economic crisis.
The gulf city state's property prices went up as fast and as high as the towering buildings. But reality has suddenly intruded.
One investor said it was as if someone had thrown a switch, as the global credit crunch slammed a city that was, in effect, the world's biggest construction site
It took just 20 years for Dubai to go from a desert outpost with a handful of office towers to a world metropolis, where one fifth of the world's cranes operate, and property became a very hot commodity, with some people playing real estate the way others play poker...
Banks aren't lending. Projects are shelved. And the normally secretive government has had to acknowledge it has one of the highest levels of per-capita debt in the world -- and not enough oil to pay for it.
"The worst is still yet to come in the sense of people losing properties" Khadri says. "That will happen."
Of course, Dubai will come back eventually, many say, perhaps without the speculators and the insane price increases. So while the fizz might be gone, they insist, the water still sparkles...
The solution? Why, find a way to raise prices without looking like the Bad Guy.
Solution at hand!
...Concerns that the week-old renewal of fighting between Israel and Hamas in Gaza could disrupt supplies in the Middle East helped keep prices from falling further earlier this week...
That's what I like to see, Israeli-Arab co-operation.