It's funny the gap between external perceptions of Dubai and the reality. I got an email the other day from a friend in the UK asking what my new life as a 'beach bunny' was like. It was meant to be tongue in cheek but I have found that the general perception of Dubai is that it is entirely Jumeirah. It's a shame because there it is actually a lot more subtle than that especially from the vantage point of Bur Dubai.
I was told that some of the newer residents of the Jumeirah/Media City area feel they have been somehow corralled into a particular way of living that they don't necessarily want. Their apartments are small and expensive and while it is convenient living next to a mall where you can satisfy most of your material needs that's all there is. Malls are essentially boring places and it doesn't really matter how many lifestyle / cultural / consumer facilities they contain, anywhere without variety, stimulation or challenges must surely drive you crazy after a while. I went to my local mall - the Burjman Centre - the other day for only the second time and got both bored and frustrated because I couldn't actually find the one item I wanted! To make matters worse I then got lost and had a moment of sheer panic when I couldn't find an exit that would take me onto a part of the street I recognised.
Disclaimer: I am probably not the best person to comment on Malls and consumer options in general given my lifelong aversion to shopping and plastic bags.
As for the beach bunny issue.... I do have sand between my toes ... lots of it... every day as I step outside our apartment onto the unpaved street!