Have now been here four and a half months and think it’s time for a little reflection, much to my great surprise I have weathered the initial storm and if I’m at all honest with myself secretly enjoying the challenge, but obviously wouldn’t tell that to all and sundry.
It’s been a learning curve so monumental that trying to describe my life now compared to as it was to the folks back home would virtually be impossible, actually, most people would have had difficulty even comprehending ‘my tale’. Maybe they would think I was suffering from delusions, illusions or a monumental bout of sunstroke, who knows!!
As I have detailed, with every passing day I have managed to fit another little piece into this jigsaw puzzle that I was presented with on my arrival in Dubai those few months ago, and the picture now looks reasonably promising. Yes, I think with continued perseverance and a dogged temperament all might be well.
Although, I was not exactly overly occupied was managing to sort my diary out a little, I was now going down to the Sailing Club most afternoons although it was still exceedingly hot but the temperature in or by the water was a little more bearable.
As previously mentioned this really was an all male domain except when a BOAC crew were stopping over and then there might, just might be the occasional air hostess to keep me company. I got used to this situation and was always grateful when burley soldiers offered to rig the boat for me, feminine guiles generally pay off.
Actually, I cannot recall ever having met any military personnel before these encounters, an education in itself – I think the first ‘boys’ I met were from the Scot’s Guards stationed at Sharjah about 2O miles up the road, they were only too pleased to escape from their hot dusty desert prison for a few hours.
It sure was difficult to know how to react in their presence and I am in no doubt they must have felt the same, but after the usual British standoff, we settled into a comfortable regime. One or two of these chaps I got to know quite well, yes, they were tough guys but family men, who missed home as much as me, but much more than that they were brave as I was quietly to discover, as one or two were actually attached to the SAS and they don’t come stronger or braver than that.
As time passed by we enjoyed a gentle camaraderie whilst also having fun sailing. Thank goodness I was a proficient sailor because it sure saved the day with the wind in my hair and the sun on my back I would happily sail down the Creek under the Maktoum Bridge away past the moored Dhows for hours on end and nobody seemed to bat an eyelid – Even in those days Dubai was somewhat liberal, especially as I was only wearing a bikini, it was a wonder I wasn’t had up for inciting the natives!!!. Bragging again! I can hear you saying, not really but please be reminded I was only 27 after all.!!
Now I had discovered the Souks and found a tailor, oh boy, I was madly buying up the material Souk, I will be had up for loitering if I’m not too careful. – these little forays usually took place in the early evening when the sun was going down and the Souks were buzzing with people, mostly Pakistani and Indian Coolies who were there to partake of their dinner.
Cooking smells were everywhere and curry permeated the air, the whole place was filled with wonder, anticipation and rumbling stomachs, it was here that I first encountered Shawamas, those giant like skewers that were either impaled with slivers of chicken or lamb and were cooked by rotating in front of giant charcoal burners, oh the wonder of it all.
This was a tasting experience one could never have imagined existed in the whole wide world, pure magic, even today the most seasoned of Soukers probably drool in remembrance of their very first encounter with this rolled up sandwich, surely it was a little piece of eastern promise – To be enjoyed ‘on the go’!
Now that experience was coupled with having my first dishdash made, wearing it to a cocktail party and abandoning my little Paris numbers.
Was I becoming a little liberated all those miles from home and throwing caution to the wind or actually beginning to turn into a ‘little Arab’!, and embracing this strange desert Kingdom which was now my home, for the foreseeable future, called Dubai. – I wonder!
Essay l5 will be published on Tuesday 8th July
I really do need comments please!
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