I left my brain in Dibba by the sea.

I have been back nearly a week now, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to blog or do anything like that. I managed to slot back into work as if I had never left but the rest of my daily routine has gone for a loop. My sleeping patterns are totally out, and my brain… I think I left my brain in Dubai. Thinking at all about anything whatsoever just doesn’t seem to be happening. Which I am kind of enjoying. It’s like my brain is still on vacation. You won’t find me stressing about anything right now.

For some reason I don’t like writing about my travels. My summaries become like brief itineraries and they somehow cheapen the real experience.

Dubai was fantastic. This holiday far exceeded my expectations. I have been to the city 5 times now and every time it has changed. This time the rate of growth had actually slowed considerably,which was a relief. The madness of the building boom that we saw the last time we were there in 2007 was just not going to be sustainable. Many of the skyscrapers are now half empty and we saw quite a few abandoned cars around the city. The debtor laws in the country mean that many people just dump their cars and leave the country rather than dealing with the debt. IT’s a bizarre and haunting thing to see these huge new cars covered in thick dust.

We hardly spent any time in the city this year. When we were there we spent every day on the beach in the beautiful weather. November is definitely a good time to go, not too hot or cold.

We are so lucky that the BFG’s parents love camping out in the desert and every time we have visited them they have taken us to new and fascinating places. This time we did not visit the sand dune deserts but the rocky mountainous desert and the coastal town called Dibba, which it half UAE and half Omani.

It’s a great place with beautiful beaches and good snorkeling. It was Eid time and it appears that during Eid all the local families (and everyone else) like to go camping. In the UAE you can camp wherever you like, well, not in someone’s garden obviously, but you can camp on the public beaches. So all of the beaches in Dibba were covered in laagers of tents, and erm, huge mounds of litter. People are not big on picking up litter in the UAE. But they do pay someone to clean up the beach. There is that at least.

Needless to say, we decided not to camp on the beaches, so we drove a few miles into the mountains, where we were utterly alone, except for giant wasps and some mozzies, and it was peaceful and beautiful.

People in Dubai are so friendly. They come from all over the world. The standard of customer service and politeness there makes the UK look terrible. But the people out in the countryside and in the desert, well they are just unbelievably friendly and welcoming. It is a bit unnerving. I remember my first time in the country, a young man, a teacher, invited us into his house to have tea. I was a bit freaked out. I just wasn’t used to strangers inviting me into their houses, and I didn’t want to go. I said that we had to go back home. I really regret that now, I’m far more open than I was then. Also I have experienced the friendliness of the locals a bit more to trust that they really are like that.

So I had a fantastic time, and have come back to this dark and freezing country, already dreaming of Brazil. The sea, it is calling my name again.


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Shannon
    Nov 27, 2010 @ 08:23:57

    Egypt is the same way regarding hospitality. I was wandering in the city and an elderly man invited me into his house, and impulsively I accepted; and we just sat in his house and chatted. He was a widower and just interested to find a foreigner wandering the small sidestreets of his city, I think. We had tea and he asked me if I was Muslim and when I said no, I was Christian, he said in broken English, “You are child of Isaac; I am child of Ishmael. But both are children of Abraham, so we are family.” It was one of my holy moments.
    So glad you had a good holiday!


  2. tiah
    Nov 28, 2010 @ 10:45:15

    Sounds lovely. Now on to Brazil!


  3. Helen
    Nov 29, 2010 @ 10:37:56

    welcome back! I’m so glad you had a good trip, and got to spend some time relaxing a bit! When are you off to Brazil?


  4. Dora
    Nov 29, 2010 @ 14:04:18

    Wow, didn’t know you can camp in Dubai! That sounds awesome!

    My only impression of Dubai is, uh, buildings and partying expats?! If I go there one day, will defo check out the beaches and desert camping!


  5. Po
    Nov 29, 2010 @ 19:26:35

    Shannon: ah see what I may have missed out on. It’s just my survival instincts tell me do not go with a stranger… I was a new traveller then so was trying to keep safe. Now I know that in really safe areas, like Dubai where the crime rate is nil, it is worth the risk of going with strangers.
    Tiah: can’t wait! That’s if I survive the vaccinations!
    Helen: we leave Christmas day, in the evening. This was a huuuuge fail on my part because there is no public transport in England on that day. Nada. So we have to pay a million squids for airport parking. Oh well, and there was me trying to save money by leaving on a holiday.
    Dora: no your impression of Dubai is 100% accurate, Dibba is not near Dubai it is a 2 hour drive away. There are tour companies that take you from your Dubai hotel to Dibba for a boat tour,and companies that will take you camping in the desert, but you know how it will be, that touristy herding thing. I recommend going around with a local person (like the BFG’s parents) who know the area and the good quiet camping spots, or maybe hiring a car! But it’s always that way, better to know a local, but the touristy thing will still be fun in its way.


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