Category Archives: Dubai

Expat.com a Genuine Friendly Expat site. 

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genuine friendly expat site

 

I have to apologise to Julian the creator of Expat.com.

I just took the liberty of adding a tag line –  genuine friendly expat site to his logo and here is why:

Back in March 2010,  Bill was headhunted for a project in Riyadh and he left me to research the place. As you all know,  surfing the net sucks up hours of your life and many times leads to redundant websites, irrelevant advice or worse still – clickbait-that erroneous info you didn’t really need to know about or worse you need to pay money to get anything other than the crumbs. Thankfully I found expat-blog.com (expat.com’s previous avatar) and it became my go-to place for advice. I became a member and quickly got chatting to other expats living in Saudi Arabia. I found Riyadh challenging and frightening sometimes (read my Riyadh posts here) and the contacts I made in the forum became friends I could trust. We had so many good times and so many laughs just chatting there.  It wasn’t as big as it is now and it was lovely to have Julian come into the forum now and then to keep us in line or add to the conversation. It was a difficult time and my disillusion grew when Bill was asked to not come back to the (Riyadh) office, while we were on holidays so I never got to see those friends again. I dropped out of the expat blog scene after that but returned in recent years so happy with where Julian has brought it to.

The site now has over a million members and is bigger and better and just as genuine and friendly as I left it.

If you are an expat you need to join Expat.  com

 

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Mini Break: Dubai

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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: 

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9CsQHsoG6Y 

 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…