There’s nothing like being thrown in at the deep end, which is why I’m glad I moved to Dubai in the summer. Yes, it’s been a baptism of fire, but if I can survive the city at its most challenging – in temperatures of more than 40°C – during my first experience of living and working abroad, I think I can survive anything.
And so far, I love summer in Dubai: it has enabled me to discover the city from the inside. With lots of residents having escaped to cooler climes, I’ve been able to explore the many shopping malls, most of them pleasantly quiet, as though sections have been portioned off just for me. And, after a leisurely browse, it’s as though the taxis hail me, rather than the other way round.
I’ve discovered some great restaurants (via their delivery services) and I’ve even learned the wonders of doing my grocery shopping online. But this isn’t to say I don’t know where to go to grab a bite to eat (indoors, of course), and I rather enjoy the fact that most restaurants are quieter than usual – good service is all but guaranteed. What’s more, moving to Dubai in the middle of some of the sporting calendar’s most exciting events – from Euro 2012 to the Olympics – has enabled me to discover the city’s biggest screens (conveniently located in some of the city’s best bars).
But the best bit is that the weather’s only going to get better. In fact, I’ve noticed a slight change in the temperature already and am braving the short walk from the metro station to my office (without arriving looking like I’ve just stepped off a ride at Wild Wadi). And, for the first time, I’ve been able to stroll around JBR, the Marina and JLT in the mid-afternoon. Next stop: the older quarters of Deira and Bur Dubai, dune-bashing in the desert, Safa Park barbecues, the beach, al-fresco eating and drinking…
Thinking about it, considering how much I’ve enjoyed Dubai already, I can’t wait to see what the cooler climes and the city’s great outdoors have to offer in the coming weeks.
Melanie Smith is our sub editor. She’s asked for her desk to be moved outside.