Hayley Skirka is planning to ditch her traditional Christmas plans
Hayley Skirka is ditching the traditional family Christmas for something rather more exotic.
It may be more than a couple of weeks away but Christmas fever has already hit Dubai. Tree lighting ceremonies have started, the malls are rammed, there’s a big Christmas festival going on this weekend in Dubai Media City and mince pies and chocolate logs are making an appearance at every brunch in town. Ladies’ nights have turned into Christmas catch-ups and I’ve already spotted culprits in festive jumpers.
Parties aside, many residents find themselves facing a bit of a dilemma at this time of the year. From about October onwards people have been asking, ‘So, are you here for Christmas?’ and most of us – save for the hyper-organised few – haven’t had a clue. Now it’s December, and I’ve found myself priced out of official airline websites, and as a result have discovered myself becoming slightly addicted to online flight-finder tools.
Logging on daily trying to sniff out a fare that allows me to reply with a very assured, ‘Yes, I am’ and save myself from the pitiful looks that come otherwise, when the inquirer begins picturing me sitting all alone in front of a mammoth eight kilo turkey.
The choice seems to be between buying presents and sending them back, or booking a flight and turning up to a family Christmas empty-handed (which I fear may make them wish you had done the former). This year, I’ve had to admit defeat, mainly due to the fact that the only airline flying direct to Scotland priced their flights so high that I’d have had to raffle off a kidney to get home.
I didn’t make it back last year either, and while I don’t mind spending the festive season in sunny Dubai, I was feeling a teensy bit jealous of everyone getting excited about their impending trips. And so, I went back onto those flight finding sites and hunted down a bargain fare… to Kathmandu.
So instead of Skyping my family on Christmas Day from my villa, a blue sky overhead and a glass of something in hand, I’m likely to be calling them from the middle of the Annapurna mountain range, having just returned from a spot of Parahawking with a bird of prey and with a flight to Mount Everest to catch later that day.
Granted, it’s not your average Christmas but at least I have something to get excited about.
And with celebrations in the desert kicking off so early, I’m sure I’ll have had my fill of Christmas puddings, mince pies and beverages long before I head off to Nepal. They have couriers at Base Camp, right?