I’m going to be honest, Dubai wasn’t exactly on the top of my list of places I wanted to go to. But I had friends living over there, and it was kind of “on the way” to other destinations, so I decided to stop and visit them for a while.
To all those people out there who just LOVE Dubai, I guess we experienced it in a very different way. I was told later on that Dubai was a lifestyle. You had to have to money to live it to the fullest, the right people, the right places. I lived it as a housewife. Getting up in the morning to wave the husband goodbye, then driving the children to school. Big ass SUV, big ass private school, with English uniforms, the work.
The morning was then spent in our beautiful big apartment, paid by the husband’s job (as well as the school for the kids. I mean, you have to GET people there, in the middle of the desert, in the middle of nowhere. Better be attractive conditions). The building looked fake. It was the same building over and over again, I always wondered how could they actually find it back. Then we went to the pool, because of course every 5 buildings or so were sharing a pool.
The pool in Dubai was a special experience. I was there at the beginning of autumn, so it was basically 44 degrees all the time. The temperature of the pool made it feel like I was swimming in my own sweat. It wasn’t as much “refreshing” as just pleasant to at least not FEEL the sweat dripping from your body all the time.
Then we went back to our heavily AC apartment. To walk to the bus stop and get into the heavily AC bus. There you would meet people in full traditional clothes, with the Islamic veil standing right next to people wearing trendy F and M clothes or cute short squirts. In the bus you could sit in the “family” section if you wanted to, reserved to women and their kids.
Then we would walk to the school and wait. That was always the worst part of my day. It was me and about 50 other mothers, standing really close together even though it was 44 degrees, very close to the doors, waiting for people to open them from the inside. You could feel the sweat going down your back, your neck, your legs. And I never quite understood the ritual. As SOON as those doors were open those women would almost RUN inside to get their kids. They pushed and shoved and just wanted to be the first one at the door of the classroom. Why ? I never ever got the WHY ?
After that, back into the AC bus. And THEN, the afternoon would usually be spent at the mall. Heavily AC mall. The malls there were ABSURD. Gigantic. Enormous. Decadent. It was sections and sections decorated in another style. Shops and shops and luxury products. You would go out of the H and M and find yourself right next to a big ass aquarium with sharks inside. They had ice rings and ski slopes. You could eat fondue next to a fake fire in fake snow while outside it was nothing but sand and sweat. I mean I get it. It was basically the only place where you could “go for a walk” or “stop for a coffee” without dying of heat and thirst after 10 minutes of walking. But it was all so fake. The whole entire city was made of skyscrapers. It looked like the whole thing just popped out of the ground two years ago, brand new, with heavy AC.
My friend would buy ice cream treats to her kids and ask them about school, worried that they wouldn’t get along with the other kids, defending them against everyone and everything. We would then eat in a pizzeria, or American diner, or French restaurant. Because Dubai is more occidental than its surroundings. It’s all about the lifestyle. The money, the brands, the fake buildings and the fake malls.
Once, I saw this yoga class. Three woman in heavy winter jackets with their little yoga mats, in the ski slope, doing their moves in the snow. While it was 40 degrees outside and they would have to change back to their miniskirts after the yoga class. Why ? Well, because you burn more calories when it’s cold. Yep. That’s Dubai.