Paul Clifford ponders where his roots really lie… and how to raise the deposit for his rent
Well, I’ve made it. This month marks 12 months in Dubai for my wife and I, and our first full summer in the city. There have been lots of ups and a few downs. The ‘downs’ are those things that get to everyone – queuing in du, queueing in DEWA, queuing to have your medical (lots of queuing actually). Oh, and that time I sent Dhs85,000 of a friend’s money to a member of the Qatar royal family by mistake. The ‘ups’ have been many – settling into our first apartment, welcoming the in-laws to the city and showing them around, and watching the sun set at the Creek.
We’ve also been lucky enough to do a little bit of travelling around the region. In August we visited Fujairah, which was the last emirate on our list, and loved it. The UAE’s members are all different and all charming. Of course, the bright lights and fancy restaurants are mostly in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, which is great, but there’s plenty to be said about Ajman’s beaches, the outdoor activities in Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah’s stunning sunrises. And they’re all within 90 minutes of home.
Speaking of home, I returned to the UK for a week in July for a family wedding and to see friends and other relatives before spending a few days in Poland (for another wedding). The trip was great and we saw some lovely people getting married, but it certainly wasn’t a holiday. There were no days lounging by a pool, discovering new places or seeing sights, and by the end, I was itching to get back to Dubai, my own bed and to my friends here. It’s a common complaint from those of us uprooted from our hometowns and living in Dubai – you seem to spend all of your annual leave heading back to where you came from and chasing around after old pals rather than exploring the big wide world and discovering new things. But we do it because we love the people back home and appreciate how much they miss us (even if in the whirlwind of living here, you sometimes don’t get a chance to miss them).
However, as I was heading back to Dubai this time I felt like I was really returning home. We feel settled here and while we’re never quite in our comfort zones (especially temperature-wise), we’re used to the city and its sometimes crazy ways. Now, all I need to do is raise the Dhs85,000 needed to renew the tenancy of our apartment for another year. If only there was someone I could get in touch with who might have that kind of money… Paul Clifford is our guides & supplements editor. He’s settling into the city nicely, even if it has left him strapped for cash…