How we ever survived that Christmas day I will never know. Although, I would go as far as to say that our stamina together with the fortitude of our host and hostess should surely have made us good candidates for the, carry on regardless awards!
What the hell, this was 1971; we were living in a Country that didn’t even recognize the very existence of Christmas, why was it then that collectively we were hell bent on running amuck. At every opportunity we seemed to be doing our damndest to let the locals know that they would really, really, be missing out, if they hadn’t sighted Father Christmas somewhere around town, by Christmas Eve. Preferably trying to squeeze through their Aircon ducts.
At the rate we are going we are well on our way to giving the locals a collective chip on their shoulders or land up in clink, the latter more likely!
So much fun! Christmas day was our only day off, consequently, it was back to work on the 26th nursing monumental thick heads, we were all made of strong stuff, were n’t we? No slackers were allowed in this neck of the woods or as the saying goes this side of the next sand dune!
We knew this coming few days would sort out the men from the boys, work didn’t stop and the parties continued. We also had to bear in mind that we were on count down for the biggest one of all, on New Year’s Eve! Golly gosh, soldier on we must!
Wonders will never cease, we realized that we just might have made our mark when an invitation to the one and only New Year’s Eve party that everyone wished to be invited too plonked through our proverbial Letter Box.
Oh what joy, we had been invited to George’s famous Fancy Dress Barge Party which was held annually on a Barge, naturally, moored somewhere up the creek. The receipt of this invitation confirmed it all, yes; we were gradually rising up that slippery greasy poll called the social ladder.
On reflection, it’s very strange to think that receiving an invitation to a specific party, should assume such great importance, alas these are the vagaries, of the human race. We all want to be those, special people, the movers and shakers without whom no party is complete. That was even true in this relatively unknown desert township, God knows what it must be like in a place known to have a little more social cache.
Naturally, our fancy dress attire had to wow, but thank goodness our mad Christmas day chums were on the invitation list too, what a bonus. If they could rescue Christmas Dinner whilst sleeping off the excesses of lunchtime drinks with no potatoes in the house, to boot, surely they could be relied upon to conjure up a plan, pretty smartly.
I was not wrong, it was unanimously decided that the four of us would go as, Three Blind Mice and the Farmer’s Wife, thought up in a thrice, what a great idea!
In the cold light of day it was really obvious, three of us would go as mice wearing black dishdashers, bright pink floppy ears with pink tails to match and the Farmer’s Wife would be wearing a White dishdasher and would be wielding a big knife – All went according to plan and, in fact, we won a prize.
I must say it was quite an experience, not only locating the barge, but then clambering aboard along a rickety gang plank, but that was all part of the fun.
We then rocked and rolled the night away including the barge which seemed to be listing from Port to Starboard rather frequently and at times we had the distinct feeling that she just might not stay the course and die the death with us scrambling towards the shore. Thank goodness these worries were unfounded!Midnight was heralded in with the hooting of ships sirens. These ships were moored up and down the Creek and were eerily silhouetted by the twinkling lights that were dancing around, playing ducks and drakes over the water, creating a veritable kaleidoscope of colour.
In the distance one could just make out the outline of a mosque in Bur Dubai. Which seemed to be presiding majestically over the proceedings? Truly awesome.
We were as far away from Big Ben as it was possible to be, such a different world, but in it’s fashion quite magical, a place which had kindly offered us it’s hand of friendship, one which we had gladly accepted.
Yes, I think it’s safe to say that at moment we realized we were in a place we really regarded as home. Our new address was most definitely Creek side, Dubai, that’s where we could be found.
After our riotous New Year’s Eve Party we felt sure that 1972 would definitely shape up to be a fantastic year. After all, we were now part of the very fabric that made up this tiny Ex-Patriot community and we had, I think, earned our spurs.
How, well over the past year, by never falling by the way side, at least almost never and we were always game for a laugh. Attributes that were definitely required to become a paid up member of this, dare I say it Exclusive Club!
Ok, we had welcomed in the New Year with a bang, a hoot and a wail, what do I mean well loud bangs from fireworks thundering up and over the creek which were accompanied by our collective oohs and aahs, as if we hadn’t seen fireworks before! We had the illuminations but no accompanying ‘ luminere’.
Unfortunately, the l8l2 Overture thundering out over the creek, I most definitely think, would have terrified the locals and sent them into a collective frenzy, possibly thinking a coup was imminent! By this time the ships hooters were competing for attention and then not to be outdone the Mullahs joined in, what a racket.
If one’s head hadn’t already succumbed to all those potent cocktails, then this little cacophony would surely do the trick quite nicely. Where are the Alka Seltzers?
We had given 1971 a right royal send off and now we had to some how be bright eyed and bushy tailed to herald in the first day of 1972, which in fine tradition was to be inaugurated by a party, what a surprise! You didn’t expect me to say that!
Rent a crowd had been mustered and required to be at a villa just off the beach road in Jumeirah for a lunchtime Black velvet party – that’s champagne and Guinness to you and me, but after the night before was just one terrible alcoholic concoction too many for little old me. At this rate all the Pharmacists in town would surely have sold out of Alka Seltzers by night fall
A little snap shot of how we managed to continue to keep the camp fires burning, as it were. Actually it wasn’t too difficult, we definitely proved that it was really quite easy, to spread a lot of fun, and an equal amount of happiness and cheer around and about with a little help from the Liquor Store, the best shop in town! Cheers Mr. G.M, wishing you a Happy New Year too!
It was inevitable that at some stage over the Christmas season most of us, I am sure, would feel somewhat stranded and, perhaps, a little homesick in this small desert kingdom, where we had unwittingly found ourselves.
This was especially true when repeatedly hearing’ nostalgic songs like, I’ll be home for Christmas’, by, was it Bing Crosby or maybe Frank Sinatra, knowing that even if it was your greatest wish it surely was an impossible dream,
On reflection Dubai came up trumps. Uncannily, she knew just how we might be feeling, because of that she made sure all our festivities went with a bang and come what may we would enjoy an epic few days, the likes of which would be unforgettable.
We knew then that there was only one place in the whole wide world where we would, in future, like to celebrate Christmas and herald in the New Year and that was and I expect still is Dubai. You definitely brought a smile to our faces, thank you!
Hello, I hope this Essay brings back memories to ‘my Dubai’ readers and brings a smile of amazement to all of you who are following my adventures.
Another amazing tale will hit your ‘inbox’ on 3Oth June, 2015 inshallah! xx