A pink taxi

A pink taxi

September 22, 2010

Solar Energy

I 've left sleepy Geneva for vibrant Dubai. I am glad I dozed off for two months in a place I fondly call "an urban village". However, I was becoming eager to return to Dubai for the new school year.

No sooner had I landed in Dubai, that I could feel the vibe, the good karma. Dubai is very real and has so much to offer. People may complain about the half-hazardness of it all but I see beyond that. I realize that this NEW city is doing a very good job at managing itself, as serving its population decent services and superior entertainment.

In fact, I call it ordered chaos (coincidentally Third Line has a show entitled Controlled Chaos, how did we think up the same oxymoron? It must be the ambiance). For example, I had to renew my residency, and the whole process was smooth and far from frustrating. Granted there were hoards of people, and luckily in my case, women only standing in line, but they had a system where a man moved us along like cattle from one room to another, where we were pricked for a blood test and x-rayed soon later. I was very impressed with the Dubai government services. It made me think of all the challenges the UAE government has to serve us with transport, very basic health, education, recreation, security. We live in a clean city and we are fond of its agreeable life style.

For families, opportunities abound. Varied school systems, sports and arts and entertainment galore. Dubai has the large scale entertainment and fabulous energy of Las Vegas without its sleaziness (or at least not out in the open).

The extraordinary thing was that this "Vision" was not a desert mirage: it was real. We have our skyscrapers, our indoor skating rings and ski slopes. We have our neighborhoods and our road grids that connect them. We also have lovely Nathalie, on 92 FM, spinning records and good vibes for our sunny drives from here to there.

People NEVER leave Dubai willingly, they always leave half heartedly. Foreigners  often complain that there is a lack of permanence, a sense of vulnerability. Do they instead prefer to pay taxes and access that comfort back in their countries?

From September till June, I enjoy living in Dubai. The constant sun, the reliable services, the impressive talented people who live here, the always-open work ethics, the burgeoning art and cultural scene, the energetic athletic environment. It is solar energy that fuels this oil state!


  1. I anchored myself in the Dubai Creek exactly 38 years ago.Dubai was the charming sleepy trading post with the hustle bustle centered in the commercial district bordering the creek,namely Nasr Square and Souq Mershid and the allies that connect them,and do exist till our day.Working hours were from 8am -1 pm,followed by a business curfew for lunch and siesta until 4 pm,then the shutters of the few boutiques and shops will open until 6 pm.
    There were a couple of hotels and hindi cinemas,while the open air English movie was shown at the old Bustan Hotel on Fridays.The hotel had the only asphalted tennis court,small pool and the Friday buffet.
    Since Dubai was still a small town with varied expat communities,everyone knew each member of his own community.Though The weekend was a one day-off,Friday was so long,which enabled us to enjoy the rest.There were no clubs to mention,so many beach villas were converted to a meeting place for relatives and friends,and home cooking and BBQs were the norm,since catering was unheard of.During the lovely months of November till April,friends would gather and go on picnics to nearby Aweer or Khawaneej,and sometimes brave the sand dunes and Wadis to reach AlZeid,Ras AlKhaimah or Fujeirah.
    Memories abound,and this blog is not the place for it.Nevertheless,though the Old Dubai Town days seem like lovely nostalgic memories,I strongly admire the gigantic accoplishments of the New Dubai City that propelled the first Arab city into the 21st Century.

  2. Now I'm even more homesick! After living in Dubai for most of my life (24 years out of 34!), I have recently relocated to Beirut (2 months ago!) and have been terribly missing home and all the facilities/services that we take for granted there. Though Beirut has it's own charm and stlye, settling in hasn't been easy and I know for a fact, that Dubai is a much more expat-friendly place.. Planning my visit there over the upcoming holidays and can't wait :)