Plain sailing (or should I say flying!!) from Cairo to Dubai. So impressed with Egyptair – we arrived early once again and no hiccups, comfortable flight, pleasant crew, food supplied …. no alcohol however! Anne and Nathan came to meet us at Dubai airport – boy were we thrown by the heat – averaging 33-38 degrees – we’re acclimatising well though. Whisked off in their air-conditioned jeep to their beautiful air-conditioned villa – a lovely home, complete with swimming pool and gym – how spoilt are we!? Met Ali, Annes’ lovely lodger and Samara the cat – Nathan and Anne gave us a tour of the villa and we very quickly settled into our comfortable Dubai life. What a friend Anne is … she has moved into the maid’s quarters so that we can stay in her enormous ensuite room – not exactly roughing it are we!!?
Had a fabulous first night as Paula and Ahmed arrived bearing meats for a BBQ – Ahmed is a maestro on the old BBQ and produced the most tasty chicken and lamb delights. Meanwhile there was much chatting and laughing, getting to know each other, whilst tucking into margueritas and red wine. Ali produced a bottle of Laphroaig Whisky which he had received as a present – he and Ahmed gaily tucked into it during the evening so ideas of Ahmed driving home went out the window. They have an amazing service here though whereby in this situation you can order a ‘driver’ to come and collect you and drive you home in your own car – genius!
Crazily hot in the morning but we bravely tackled the gym first thing – Anne’s on a 30/30 Dubai challenge – 30 minutes exercise a day for 30 days – so we kept each other company as we sweated it out on the treadmill, cross-trainer and bike. Followed this with a plunge into the pool – the water temperature not far off a cool bath – still refreshing though. And then, after the healthy bit we hit what’s referred to as “The City’s favourite pastime” – the hotel Brunch!! Floated into the amazing Jumerirah Beach Hotel – mingling in with some extremely glamorous guests arriving in super-cars and headed down to the beach restaurant where the brunch was taking place. It is such a spectacle, delicious array of foods and drinks on demand – all you can eat and drink – while sitting at the edge of the beach overlooking the Burj Al Arab. Met up with friends too including Ruth and Tony (we were friends back in the 80s here in Dubai when we were young, free and single – well Ruth and Tony were married but the rest of us were single!!). After 3 hours of indulging in all things lovely, we took the elevator up to the top of the hotel – the Uptown Bar – and continued to party at these dizzying heights – stunning views and great company. (Anne, Ali, Ruth, Tony, Julie, Richard, Sonya, John and Yvonne).
The roads in Dubai are nowhere near as crazy as Cairo but they are incredibly busy, so many lanes, so many cars – fast cars and it seems to take ages to get anywhere. I know I bang on about living in Dubai in the old days – you could literally get anywhere in about 10-15 minutes. I would never discredit its phenomenal development however – it is just a completely different place. On Saturday, we headed out on a 40 minute car journey to Dreamland in Umm al Quwain – Nathan brought his friend Theo along and Ali came too! Fun day – mostly took it easy in the lazy river, Dead Sea floating pool, the wave pool and sipping beer from ice cups. Finished off with a hair-raising ride – with 5 of us in the raft it was practically tipping over the edge of the tube – much screaming!! And after stocking up at Barracuda booze shop, Steve had his first bit of driving in Dubai – so brave – it’s not for me!!
Had an amazing evening too – met up with Ruth and Tony, Julie and Richard and drove out into the desert – Steve drove under Anne’s careful navigation, and he loved the bit of dune driving. Arrived just as the sun was setting – enjoyed a picnic and some bubbles/beer and then had the spectacle of the starry sky. The ‘girls’ remenisced about old friends and old times and places in 80s Dubai while the menfolk got stuck into a lot of football talk. An interesting selection of lower league fans – Wycombe Wanderers, Plymouth Argyle and Southend – it’s staggering how men recall football facts – players, managers, matches, goals, spectator numbers … you name it!!
On Monday we decided to really hit the dizzy heights and and tackle the Burj Khalifa – WOW – this is an absolute must if you ever come to Dubai. So pleased I overcame all my fears – the claustrophobia of indoor queueing, elevators, heights – because it was amazing. I was able to view my beloved Trade Centre – it is now swamped by all the other magnificent skyscrapers – I used to work on 11th floor of the Trade Centre when it was the tallest building in Dubai. You can view the whole stretch of Dubai from this 124th floor – and boy, hasn’t it grown.
Once our feet were firmly back on ground floor land, we took a boat ride to view the Dubai fountain display. This whole area is pretty magnificent, including the Dubai Mall – packed with shoppers and tourists, but no wonder, there’s so much to be amazed at. It’s great to be back in Dubai ❤️