UAE

Desert day, Spanish night

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I feel like I’ve been hibernating indoors for the past few months but now that the constant, searing heat and humidity is abating I’m venturing out of my air-conditioned protective shell again. Of course, my really sensible friends high tail it out of Dubai when the heat is on and only return when the worst is over, but staying put for most of it has been an interesting challenge.

A couple of writing projects have kept me busy indoors, and I’ve been motivated by the thought that having a block of time to really focus is precious and will soon be gone. Dubai is a ‘feast or famine’ sort place. There can be nothing much entertainment-wise going on for weeks and then everything seems to suddenly ramp up and special events, invitations, recommendations and new attractions all come along at once to fill the spare time. (more…)

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Salalah for Eid

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Ask anyone living in Dubai for suggestions on places to visit in Oman and they will probably list one of three destinations.

The capital city of Muscat is reputedly a must-see, with its fabulous Souk and impressive historic architecture. It’s on our list. Or they might mention Khasab in the Musandam region, a mountaneous peninsula with a jagged coastline, within driving distance from Dubai. We enjoyed dolphin spotting on board a traditional dhow there so much we’ve done it twice. Those really in the know will also mention Salalah, the capital city of southern Oman’s Dhofar province, a two-hour flight away. (more…)

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Happy ever after in Santorini

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When it comes to travel, the Badley family have a pretty decent track record. Members of the clan have at one time or another, lived an expat life in Australia, Germany, the USA and Ecuador. One of our own currently resides in France and here we are in Dubai.

Even those that are at home in the UK are either planning the next overseas trip or returning from it. So when Matt and Nicole decided to tie the knot, it was an even bet that it might involve a flight somewhere. The nice surprise was that they invited us along to the festivities – in Santorini. (more…)

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Write that book!

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I’ve been playing with the idea of writing a book for the last year so I thought it might be worth sharing a few tips on how I finally stopped talking about it and made a start. There used to be a sort of hushed reverence around announcing this kind of activity but in the age of self-publishing and blogging, writing a book is an achievable goal for pretty much anyone that has something to say. (more…)

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Pick and Mix Christmas

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I never dreamed that I would be able to achieve my idea of a perfect Christmas whilst living in Dubai but it is shaping up nicely to be just that. Black Friday, Cyber Monday and all the rest of the hideous panic buying that makes the countdown to December 25 a nightmare in the UK, is not happening here. It probably is at some level but that is my point, really. You don’t have to take part in all that if, like me, you hanker after a calmer lead up to Christmas. (more…)

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Remembering Rose

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The lovely young woman looking so confidently into the camera only had a few more years left to live when this photograph was taken. I am guessing this formal, studio portrait marks a milestone age, maybe a 21st birthday. Her name is Rose De Haan and her death certificate states that she died at the age of 25. Three days earlier she had given birth to a daughter. The baby was my mother, Sylvia Rose. (more…)

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Working to enhance my experience

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Refurbishment, fit out or maintenance works in Dubai invariably carry explanatory signage declaring: ‘We are working to enhance your experience’, suggesting that the temporary inconvenience to the general public is for the greater good. This charming phrase suggests that behind the hoardings, persons unseen are labouring night and day to get things back on track as soon as possible.

Whether this is actually true or not is questionable as some of these ‘enhancements’ to existing premises can go on for months, with no discernible difference to the décor or layout when the grand reopening occurs! Leaving that to one side, the idea continues to resonate with me and is one I am taking to heart. (more…)

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Home to sound and fury

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When does living in a new location really feel like home? Returning to Dubai after a holiday it now seems less like a fantastic experiment and much more like real life. What has caused this subtle shift in thinking? The occupants of the flat above ours and their home improvements mostly but more of that later. (more…)

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Mixed Media

Courtyard Playhouse

Is it a play or is it a film? That is the question. Or certainly that was the one I was asking as we took our seats at Dubai’s Courtyard Playhouse.

We were here for a National Theatre Live screening of The Audience, Peter Morgan’s award- winning play, starring theatrical royalty, Dame Helen Mirren. I’d always wondered whether seeing a broadcast of a play on a cinema screen counts as a true theatrical experience but given that the West End of London is a bit out of reach right now, this seemed a good moment to find out how it all worked. (more…)

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