Chanelle Tourish discovers she has become ‘so Dubai’ over the years.
There are just some things in Dubai that I do like clockwork, one of which is making a weekly video call back home to one of my best friends. This usually results in an hour-long conversation about the latest gossip and happenings in my home town in Ireland – you know the sort, where the weekend antics took place and so on.
But perhaps one of the most noticeable things to mention is how, during this exchange, I’m usually sat wearing a light T-shirt and shorts with the sun streaming in while my friend is wrapped in a cocoon of sweaters as if she’s about to hibernate for the winter. It’s blatantly obvious that we are worlds apart, but not just in terms of location – in attitude and mentality too.
It was only when she asked if I wanted to book a holiday to the sunny isle of Ibiza next year (sunny as in, still much cooler than Dubai) that I realised how ridiculous my response sounded, ‘Yeah sure, but I’ll only go if we stay in a really nice hotel – I just couldn’t book one of those package hotel deals.’
Not surprisingly, my friend of 15 or so years called me out on this, saying, ‘Chanelle are you serious?’ and I thought to myself, ‘Oh no I’m so Dubai!’ With my third anniversary approaching next month, it got me thinking about how much I have actually changed since I made the move to the desert city. The 22-year-old me who first arrived here was just like everyone else who initially graces this urban, metropolis. I was amazed and excited when I first saw an aquarium in the middle of a mall, the idea of brunching was a lavish affair and booking an appointment for high tea at the Burj Al Arab was something I thought only royals did. Fast-forward three years and I find myself not batting an eyelid when someone mentions one of these experiences. So have I become spoilt or just accustomed to life in Dubai? I think perhaps it could be a combination of both.
Five-star hotels are something I go clubbing in; police officers here drive Lamborghinis; going to the cinema means it’s time to put my coat on and getting lost in The Dubai Mall car park is just a regular occurrence in search of where I parked my car.
I had an overwhelming sense of panic that no experience big or small would ever excite me again, and that I’d simply become one of those expats who only drinks ‘room temperature’ water rather than the girl who was content with tap water back home.
But then I came across something so foreign to me in the form of an ATM machine – ‘Gold to Go’ in Souk Madinat Jumeirah – that I had a little chuckle to myself and thought, ‘Oh Dubai you will never cease to amaze me.’