So Dubai is kind of a crazy place. So far, I’m the only one that’s been driving – David says I need to get used to the crazy roads but personally I think he’s a bit scared!!!! Teehee!! It’s complete mayhem on the streets. About 75% of the actual city itself is under construction so the roads that you plan on taking aren’t there – or you get diverted several km’s away and have to try to find your way back somehow. And then you have the drivers: they don’t pay any attention to the lanes marked on the road and it’s basically a free for all with people turning left from the far right lane (across six other lanes) and other drivers just veering left and right in front of you, seemingly just for the sake of it. It’s kind of fun – like dodgem cars. So far no-one has actually hit us but I wouldn’t be surprised if it happened.
We got taken out to a huge sanddune the other day called Big Red where all the locals go on a Friday evening (it’s like their Saturday night) to bash the crap out of their 4WDs. It was highly entertaining, and highly scary as Luke had never been duning in his new Pajero before. Of course he got bogged just as the sun was going down and we spent about thirty minutes digging the car out. Let me tell you, Middle Eastern sand is very fine and it gets into lots of little crevices that are not pleasant to have sand in!!!! In the end we had to get a bunch of guys on quad bikes to help us out. Very helpful boys – they offered to take me and Luke’s wife, Rosie, to the bottom of the dune on their bikes. We graciously declined!!
The weather is absolutely beautiful – early to mid 30’s (about 90F) every day but it doesn’t feel unbearably hot. Blue skies, lots of sunshine. And this is winter!!!!
What has really struck us both is how lovely everyone is. Everyone that we’ve encountered, from the people we’ll be working with, to the taxi drivers, to the quad bike guys, to waiters and cleaners, everyone is super polite and super nice and happy and smiling. It creates a very nice vibe. The streets are totally safe (we’re staying in an area that is full of ethnic people and not very many caucasian expats). It’s kind of nice even though most of the other expats we speak to don’t like that area – it seems a lot of them just like the idea of sticking with their ‘type’. We came here to try a different culture though and really like the area because it has a community feel to it and the food is GREAT. Lots of Lebanese, Indian, Turkish, Pakistani food. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!
We are looking at renting an apartment in Downtown Burj Dubai (right next to the Burj which is at the moment the world’s tallest building!! It’s a great landmark for when you get lost on those detours and traffic diversions. We actually saw a great apartment today and are thinking of putting in an offer. The rent here is INSANE. Basically we are looking at the AED210,000 – 230,000 figure per annum which equates to about $100,000 Australian dollars per year in rent. And check this out – they want it all up front in one cheque!!!! What the…?!?!?!?!?!?! Luckily our company pays for a lot of this and we’ll only be out of pocket a few thousand dollars but my lord, it is expensive!!!! We want to have a nice place though for when you all come and visit us!!!!!
We are having an absolutely AWESOME time in Dubai and are really loving it. We’re so happy that we took the risk and came over. It really is very cosmopolitan with lots of restaurants and bars and there aren’t any restrictions whatsoever imposed on women. It feels rather European actually.
PS Yay Barack Obama!!!!