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30 minutes
First broadcast:
Saturday 19 September 2009

Oil wealth transforms cities but in very different ways. Sandi Toksvig hears about Abu Dhabi from Jo Tatchell, who was brought up there. Its high-rise glitz and cultural aspirations, coupled with caution and reserve, contrast vividly with the chaos and corruption - but liveliness - of Lagos, Nigeria, as seen by the former Financial Times correspondent there, Michael Peel.

Sandi also finds out from Middle East travel writer Matthew Teller about why the ultra-modern Gulf states, where there is no shortage of cheap petrol, want to take a 19th-century lesson and build a railway linking the countries.

  • Jo Tatchell

    Jo Tatchell is a journalist who has spent many years in the Middle East and Arab countries. Jo’s first book Nabee’s Song is the true story of one family’s experience of life before, during and after the regime of Saddam Hussein. Jo was brought up in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates; she shares her insight into the transformation of what was essentially - back is the seventies - a small town to a hi-tech metropolis with aspirations to be a world leading city.

    A Diamond in the Desert: Behind the Scenes in the World's Richest City
    Publisher: Imprint unknown
    ISBN-10: 034095339X
    ISBN-13: 978-0340953396

    Find out more about Jo Tatchell
  • Michael Peel

    Michael Peel is the legal correspondent for the Financial Times, having previously been its West Africa correspondent. He has specialized in oil and financial crime. He first went to Nigeria in 2001 on a visit for the paper but moved there in 2002 for three years. He was there most recently in May this year.

    In his latest book A Swamp Full of Dollars Michael Peel, analyses why chaos and corruption have made West Africa a trouble spot, or as he puts it ‘as hot as the local pepper soup’.

    A Swamp Full of Dollars: Pipelines and Paramilitaries at Nigeria's Oil Frontier
    Publisher: I B TAURIS
    ISBN13: 9781845119201
    ISBN10: 1845119207

    Find out more about Michael Peel
  • Matthew Teller

    Matthew Teller is an award-winning travel writer and freelance journalist. Car and air transport have been the main ways of getting about on the Arabic Peninsula but Dubai has just opened its first metro system. Matthew also reports on the recently approved plans to build a new high-speed rail network linking Kuwait Oman via most of the Gulf States. This will ease the notoriously bad traffic congestion across the Middle East - and specifically in the Gulf countries – caused by the huge number of cars on the roads.

    Find out more about Matthew Teller



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    Excess Baggage

    Travellers' Tales from home and around the world: their destinations, experiences and issues arising…

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