It’s almost a year to the day that I arrived in this weird Arabian dustbowl. When the clock strikes 6am on the 10th it will have been a year to the day. It’ll also be when I’m getting on the plane to leave, to go and seek an unlikely fortune in the US. Strange how that worked out, but 365 days will have been enough for me here, for several reasons. They say that being an expat wakes you up to what you want from life. I’d agree a bit, but I’ll remember Dubai more for the stuff I didn’t know I didn’t like. 45 degree heat, for one, although I’m pretty sure I wasn’t gagging to experience that this time last year. And to be fair, I’ve never really liked house music either.
One thing that sat uneasily with me from the off, and one I’ll be glad to get away from, is the level of servitude here: being waited on hand and foot, having people handing you paper towels in the gents’ and ending each sentence with ‘boss’. I was a bit of a backwards snob before I came here – now I can’t stand anyone who says they enjoy the ‘easy’ Dubai lifestyle. It’s easy for a reason, you muppets – a human one. In fact being out here among the crass Bugatti drivers and pinstriped wankers has bred a distinct contempt for opulence that I’m pretty happy I experienced here, in honesty.
I’d like to say I rallied against the injustice of the labour market out here; protested outside the government palace. But I didn’t. I just wrote about it and stewed like the sad little hack I am. I’ve written something for a well-known US publication about the lives of taxi drivers here, too: I’ll no doubt post/Tweet/Facebum/MyArse it when it’s out. I imagine I’ll also have to change the name of this blog, although I can’t think of anything catchy and New Yorky just now.
There are, mind, tons of things I’ll miss about this place. One is the friends I’ve made here – fortunately a funny, loving, down-to-earth bunch who are just as turned off as me by the thought of seeing the world’s biggest fish tank (really) or a train in a shopping mall as I am. I’ll also miss my flat (not the maid’s room) and watching every single Prem game at once, although I’ll bet you can do the same in America. Being near so many cool places is great, too: I should’ve done far more travelling but knocking off Egypt, India, Oman, the US, Japan and France isn’t a bad year by any means.
Anyway here are the top ten things I’ve learnt about Dubai by living here:
1) It’s really hot. Like, not just hot like Spain but hot like the surface of the sun. A five-min walk from the Metro to work is far too much in summer.
2) I miss roads with houses on them!
3) You can live here cheaply, contrary to popular belief, if you manage not to become a borderline alcoholic like me.
4) Alan Curbishley is one of the worst football pundits in history – something you don’t learn watching Sky.
5) The UAE isn’t actually all desert: there are, like, these big muddy hills over the other side and stuff.
6) Surfers are twats globally, not just in England.
7) Arabic food is AWESOME.
8) The roads in the UK are brilliant, wonderful and well-kept. Come here and you’ll realise why.
9) Dr Pepper is definitely NOT the worst thing that can happen.
10) Forced foreign labour probably is.
I might write some more unintelligible shit before my time’s up here; principally cos I can’t be arsed to do any proper work. But if not, then thanks to all my friends here for making 2011 brilliant. And cheers to Dubai which has, for all its foibles, become part of my life. Boom.