After two years in Dubai, Matt Fortune is starting to think about putting down roots. Maybe
Two years, I said. That’s all I’d spend in Dubai. For the sacrifice of leaving friends and family, I’d return with my pockets lined with cash – enough for a deposit on my dream flat in trendy North London – my body cleansed of the evils of a post-university lifestyle and my horizons broadened by travel experiences in this exciting corner of the world.
Well, my two years are up and I can report the following. Contents of my pockets: little more than the crumblings of receipts that have been put through the washing machine. My physical condition: peaked and troughed more wildly than whatever roller coasters they’re planning to build at Dubai Parks and Resorts. Travelling: most has been spent going to weddings, birthdays and special occasions back at home.
So what about those ‘two years’? If my mum asks, they start now, just don’t tell her they say it’s either two or ten. I should probably start putting down roots. Or maybe I won’t. How could I know right now?
In a city where a 16-lane highway can be temporarily re-routed to make way for a three-kilometre canal, and 20 new cafés can open in a week, how can you ever predict how settled you’ll feel when you can’t even predict what you’ll be eating for lunch? Frankly, I love the thrill of it all.
A new construction project isn’t an eyesore, but an exciting opportunity. I wonder what it will be, what its purpose is, how it will look at the end – and how fast I’ll be able to get hold of a time-lapse video for www.timeoutdubai.com…
Okay, so your convenient left-hand filter lane at the end of your road has been closed off and you have to go halfway to Jebel Ali before you can U-turn your way to work. Well, at least the tram it made way for is the first/best/longest/cleanest/biggest in the world. Or something. Having just returned from London, where those I left behind snootily rattle on about Dubai’s too many cranes and automobiles, and not enough trains, well let me ask you, how’s the single-lane main vein through the city centre? And that Tube strike? I’ll be sure to share your concerns with our Metro drivers…
I guess what I’m saying is, nowhere is perfect, and if it is, it probably won’t stay that way – to you – for long.
And, anyway, what is it they say about the best laid plans? Here’s to another two years. Or maybe more. Or less. Or, well, let’s just see, shall we?
Matt Fortune is our new head of digital content. He’s not going anywhere…