I am currently on holiday visiting my son in Dubai. We had visited the City in 2006 and swore we wouldn't be back. But now that our son now lives here, we thought we'd give it another chance.
We cannot believe the changes in that time. In fact it hardly feels like you are in an Arabic country. Before we would walk around deserted shopping malls, that just had Arab men dressed all in white in them. Now the malls are massive and full of every Western shop you could imagine. The majority of the building work has been completed. The sky is not so full of cranes as it was in 2006.
The weather in December, is a lot more forgiving for a British resident. It was 106 every day when we visited in the month of April last time. This time I even need a cardigan.
I must admit this time I feel overweight and old. None of my summery clothes fit me. I have no inclination to attend any of the New Year celebration parties that are going on all over the City and I am hating every photo of myself, captured by others on the trip.
And I am finding it hard to pay the extortionate restaurant prices. I don't consider £80 for the two of us, a great deal. But the restaurants are all fully booked, so obviously all the tax free residents and rich Arabs think it's normal to pay those prices.
So far we have enjoyed the most, catching a metro train down to the old part of Dubai. We then caught an abra ferry boat across the creek to the gold and spice souks. It felt we were truelly in an Arab country, instead of the new polished shiny Dubai that is now everywhere over the creek. We took all the back streets, in the souk enjoying the feeling of being thoroughly lost. That was until I realised my much cherished Chanel sunglasses were no longer with us. I cannot begin to explain the panic we felt trying to retrace our steps. With Indians everywhere trying to get us to go in their shops. Every little alleyway looked the same. I had only been in two shops, but it took quite a few panic ridden minutes to find them again. But my sunglasses were nowhere to be found. We traced our steps over and over again. Returning to each shop three times. We had checked our cameras to pin point the last time I had them on. We even rang the shops today, in case they turned up. Stealing is quite rare here as the penalties are so high, so we hoped they might be found.
So I ended up having to return to the largest shopping Mall in the world to try and find some new ones. A day never goes past when I don't wear my sunglasses. I even wear them driving in fog. I must have tried on over 200 pairs, but I finally near 10pm settled on another pair of Chanels. Of course they were the most expensive pair in the shop. An expense I could have done without and a real downer on what had been a perfect day.
I ended up having a sleepless night, thinking about my sunglasses and retracing all my steps.
Anyway, as hubby said no one died. ( although to me I feel a little of me was lost with my sunglasses) so here's to a better start for 2013.