Last Sunday I caught up with my daughter in Dubai.
She had included a four night stay there as part of a six-week holiday abroad and I was happy to not have to wait until Christmas to see her again.
Riyadh to Dubai is a 1 hour 45 minute flight and I flew there with Saudi Arabian Airlines for the first time. I tend to fly with Emirates but their fare for this short flight was double what Saudi was offering and ever eager to place myself in the path of potential disappointment, I booked my ticket.
Saudi Arabian Airlines offered a quick check-in and excellent food and service on board. I’d be happy to fly with them again.
Like me, all the women on board were wearing abayas and I gladly took mine off as I stepped out into the freedom of Dubai. It was so nice to feel the sun on my bare arms again.
Jannus greeted me with a hug and a jumbo jar of Vegemite for her Dad. This yeast extract is as Australian as ketchup is American and Wallace was sorely missing it on his toast for breakfast. It’s nursery food and I guess that’s where the comfort of eating it lies especially when you are far from home. My American friend didn’t like the taste of it about as much as I didn’t like my first taste of U.S. bacon and eggs , coated in maple syrup and sitting on top of a pancake.
We're happy little vegemites
We had just one night in Dubai together and Jannus wanted to show her travelling mate where we once lived, under the shadow of the tallest building in the world.
Burj Dubai looked like a hologram in the evening light and it was lovely to walk through Old Town again with its magnificent Islamic architecture.
Of all the places I have ever lived (and I stopped counting after the 30th address!) this is one of the loveliest. Our apartment overlooked two swimming pools adorned with my beloved palm trees and waterfalls. Evening strolls were taken in the paved lane ways lit with Arabic lanterns on mud brick walls. There were small gardens with water features where I would sit and contemplate life.
Old Town is a peaceful sanctuary in the heart of busy Dubai and well worth a visit.
There’s a traditional souk adorned with treasures from the East: Aladdin lamps, ornate silver coffee pots, Persian rugs and Bedouin jewellery. An arcade filled with restaurants, cafes, retail stores and a supermarket means you never have to leave the complex if you don’t feel like it – and I rarely did!
My old neighbourhood
There is a bridge over the man-made lake that links Old Town to Dubai Mall (a story in itself!) and we crossed just as the Dubai Fountain started its water and light show. Already touched by nostalgia and being together, Jannus and I got a little emotional.
You may too after seeing it for yourself here:
The fountain is similar to the one featured at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas but like most things in Dubai it’s a lot bigger.
Fortunately, the next song was Lionel Ritchie’s ‘All Night Long’ so we had a little shimmy on the bridge together as the song played and our tears dried away. Although now adults, my children are what I miss most living overseas. My daughter makes me laugh and we laughed a lot together that night in Dubai: putting on our Kath and Kim voices, smoking sheesha and singing along to Lionel Ritchie.
Early next morning we all headed for the airport and yet again, I kissed my sweet girl goodbye and held my tears until she had passed from sight. Now in the UK, she is complaining of the drizzle and can’t wait for the last leg of her itinerary – three weeks island hopping in Greece.
Hmmm, she may need an interpreter considering she ran away from Greek school, think I’ll give her a call…