Hello everybody – Yes, it’s really me emerging from what can only be described as two very challenging years. A little chink of light has miraculously appeared and I am seizing the opportunity to continue writing my Blog, although I do feel a little rusty!
To recap, it’s 1972 and after yet another amazing leave we are now back in Dubai, beginning our third year, who would have thought that I would have stayed the course! Or more aptly, I should say we are home, it definitely doesn’t take a moment to reconnect. As it’s late at night, and not too hot, flung open the doors onto the terrace and, as usual, my senses were awakened and my heart was full of joy. There was ‘My Dubai’ waiting to say Hello.
Taking stock of our view of the creek, hearing the lap, lap of the water against the moored Dhows and even late at night being intoxicated by the aromas wafting upwards from one of the Dhows. For sure that will be Cookie busy preparing some meal or other, sitting crossed legged near the stern, stirring his ever-ready giant cooking pot. Haha bet some poor goat is languishing at the bottom of the pot who hadn’t been quick enough’ to escape, quite such an ignominious fate, such is life even for a four-legged being. Or should say death!
Between you and me we were so very happy to be back in the place we now call home. I suppose we shouldn’t be too surprised having adapted to living in this magical strange country. I can’t begin to imagine anywhere else that would be quite the same, also I don’t think, if the past two years are anything to go by, we will ever be quite the same either! Now here’s a thing, that’s what an extra large dose of sun, sea and sand does for one!
One thing I must tell you about, there were no terrifying health warnings in those days, regarding being ‘out in the midday sun’! The consensus of opinion being, one could never have too much sun, in today’s politically correct world we would surely have been locked up or even certified! To make matters worse our preferred suntan lotion was a mixture of oil and lemon juice, a sure-fire recipe for disaster.
Miraculously, we all survived, maybe with a few premature wrinkles, but every one of them tells a story and each one holds a secret, be assured getting them was a pleasure. I suppose they could proudly be likened unto battle scares. Did I mention sun hats?
They were in spectacularly short supply too, no we were never addled by the sun, but maybe possibly a little addled by partaking in too many Heinekens, whilst lying in the midday sun. Although, we were always slathered in our homemade sun potions without a sunhat insight, having ourselves a glorious time. Oh, my those definitely were the days.
I am day dreaming, must get myself sorted for work tomorrow, yes, back to the Airport in my capacity as Girl Friday at BOAC’s Airport Office, just hope the car starts! Good night.
I’m up with the larks, no problems about finding my uniform, dear Ali had everything sorted for me, yes, by now I’m very used to having a servant but some would say very spoiled. Maybe, although life without Ali would now be unimaginable, I really do think my world would fall apart. Wouldn’t know where to begin, the whole day would become one big confusion. Let you into a secret still having problems!
Off I trotted, the car was intact, and even the windscreen was almost dust free but what about the ignition? Joy of joys, it started first time and I was away put putting up to the airport, once past the clock tower, it was full steam ahead ‘till I reached my other home, Dubai’s glorious new Airport. Seeing it coming into view was always a heart stopping moment, quite magnificent, an amazing piece of architecture rising majestically, from the desert. It was anything but an understatement and certainly a sight to behold. Couldn’t wait to get parked and see everyone, better not stick my neck out and ask if they had missed me!!!!
Parked quickly, actually, that was easy as just about every parking space was empty at that time of day, bounced up the steps and into the concourse. Nobody in sight, well that was normal, the Airport was hardly a powerhouse of activity in those far off days. Hope they are expecting me? Rushed through the Office door and there they were, my pals, with big welcoming smiles on their faces, yes, I think they were glad to see me or were they thinking here comes trouble!! Won’t ask!
I must explain that since the crisis that occurred in India between India and Pakistan there have been a few staff changes within BOAC’s Airport Office, where once it was manned solely by young trainees from the UK it was now being efficiently manned by a mixture of staff from the subcontinent together with a few trainees, me and the Airport manager, all being from the UK. The extra staff had been drafted in to help with the problems which occurred with the heavy workload brought about by planes having to be rerouted due to the conflict; they proved to be invaluable and became permanent fixtures. Our little office was becoming quite a mini United Nations.
Here I am, back where I belong, generally making a nuisance of myself but loving every moment – After making endless cups of coffee, a job I was really proficient at, I ventured forth to reacquaint myself with my chums from DNATA, who were officially in charge of the day to day running of the Airport –I was merely an extra flying the flag for BOAC, generally trying to look and be efficient! Sometimes a difficult ask!
It was time to depart, can report there were no major incidents and, I think, they were all quite pleased to see me, I wager though not as much as I was pleased to see them and to be back in the fold. Being part of Airport life is special, it’s definitely another World, really do feel very privileged to be considered part of this diverse community.
Once back at the apartment I had time to reflect on our whirlwind two months in the UK whilst waiting for Mike to return – How our lives had been transformed from what, to us, now seems a somewhat humdrum life., Who would have thought that it was only two years ago since we arrived in this desert Kingdom, when I would have given my eye teeth to be told I could do a quick about turn and bolt back from whence I came. Gosh, now I’m extolling the virtues of just about everything that Dubai has to offer, it’s a funny old World!
Decided not to go sailing this afternoon think my time would be better spent trying to sort myself out and then maybe saunter down to the Souk, once the sun has gone down – The sights and sounds of the Souk are precious and once immersed deep into its heart, one is transported into another World. It could be somewhat likened to entering a ‘secret garden’, because from the outside one has no idea at all as to what secrets might lie within its enchanting myriad of lanes and alleys. Along with the Creek, it’s the beating heart of Dubai – If there could ever be an eighth wonder of the World I’m sure the Souk would be a major contender together with the Creek, as every alley, nook and cranny must have so many amazing tales to tell.
As one saunters along with a Salam here and a Mahaba there, one ponders, can this place really be real or am I dreaming, it oozes atmosphere and charm. It’s teeming with Indians and Pakistanis happily plying their trade, there are moments when you have to pinch yourself to make sure that you haven’t unwittingly walked onto a Bollywood film set its so captivating. Once deep inside it’s heart, you encounter it’s soul and are surely lost for words. I am quite certain that there cannot be another such enchanting place on God’s Earth or indeed Allah’s – A veritable shopper’s paradise!
It’s always great being back, meeting up with one’s Dubai pals and updating oneself on happenings, there was always something going on or about to happen, us ex-pats are an inventive lot. This time the talk amongst the sailing fraternity was that a ‘cohort’ had come together to see if it would be possible to establish an Off Shore Sailing Club.
The very idea of such a happening seemed somewhat farfetched as the only sailing available was on the creek, upstream of Al Maktoum Bridge, consequently, the very idea of an offshore club was a little beyond most people’s imagination. Will have to follow proceedings carefully, although at present I’m super happy pottering about in my Mini Sail up and down the creek. Not too sure whether either of us would be robust enough to tackle offshore sailing, sounds a little daunting to me – Only Time will tell!
It’s good to be back. See you soon, I hope!