Thursday, January 18

Dubai 2024

I've always had a love-hate relationship with Dubai. This essentially boils down to not liking the country and what it stands for and represents, but loving the friends and family that I know and continue to meet there. This has been the case since my first trip, visiting primarily to attend a wedding of someone I hadn't even met in person yet. Pretty wild for 2005 I know.

Such was my indifference-cum-denial, that I wasn't even going to take this trip, especially mere weeks after returning from the Middle East. A severe bout of FOMO finally convinced me to book my flight around a week before arriving, and even the consolation of only staying for six days was quickly snatched from me as I realised it was still one of my longest stays here.

Things have changed over the five years since my last visit. Deira has become seedy as hell, people now live miles away from the city centre (although the cheap metro is still great) and I even found the place rather cheap (which is probably because London is so expensive now).

But the biggest change might actually be in me. Between my visits to Oman and the UAE, I've started to understand why (more recent) folk have been migrating to the region and have become even more determined to remain. It's no longer about nil income taxes and halal McDonalds, but the quality of living, the weather and the relative peace. Under more scrutiny however, just like costs, it seems that this is saying more about the changing face of the UK than that of the Middle East, and what used to be beneficial in living in the west just doesn't seem much so any more.

This trip was mainly social, although I did also visit the Quranic Park and its Glass House for a wonderful lecture on foods mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah. As always the doss was top class, with plenty of hours spent shooting breeze and eating good food. And so as always I returned from Dubai on a high and what felt like way too early.

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