It’s a year since we started our expat adventure in Dubai and in keeping with my general aim of making the most of this fast moving experience, I will be making my entrance on the Dubai stage in the Short and Sweet festival this weekend.
Short and Sweet is the largest festival of ten minute plays in the world and the buzz around it is really exciting. Over six weeks, talented writers, directors and actors will present more than 80 bite-sized plays to packed houses and much applause. (more…)
Dubai is full of glitzy, expensive restaurants but there is another side to this food-loving city that is easy to overlook. Old Dubai, is crammed with Indian street food sellers, artisan food producers, family–run restaurants and ethnic grocery stores, offering authentic regional specialities at bargain prices, but where to start? We have made tentative inroads to this other world but knowing where to go and what to order requires some serious insider knowledge. Enter Frying Pan Adventures, a small, local tour company started and run by two food-loving sisters, Farida and Arva Ahmed. (more…)
It was about this time last year that we had a conversation about what our Christmas in Dubai might look like. Should we take the Christmas decorations with us? Surely not. Likewise, the oversized fake tree that comes down from the loft every year? No, that would be ridiculous too. Wise decisions. Without all the familiar festive paraphernalia to hand it is easier to break away from convention and adopt a fresh approach. Deep down, I think the attempt to simply replicate what we usually do in this very different location would make me feel a bit sad.
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)