Dammit. The weather is beautiful. The sky is blue. Life is exceptionally good. I’ve gone and fallen under the Dubai spell all over again.
It happens every year. It’s difficult not to love never-ending blue skies and warm sunny weather that is perfect for doing just about anything in when you are skype-ing a family in polo neck jumpers and reading FB status updates that continually moan about rain and putting the heating on.
Sometimes I feel bad that I don’t miss the UK anywhere near as much at this time of year as I do in May or June; but most of the time, I couldn’t care less. I’m too busy worrying about getting rid of strap marks, booking outdoor tables at restaurants and figuring out which pool to go to. Living in Dubai is no holiday, that is true, but at this time of year it can really start to feel like one.
However, this week is particularly troublesome in that a whole load of people we know are lying in wait to see what Hurricane Sandy will blow their way. As well as the friends that are all on Sandy’s current flight path, half my family are also getting ready for the hit. My sister is in New York – last year we camped out at their apartment in Manhattan a mere block away from the evacuation zone, and watched Irene blow through the city from rain spattered windows. My in-laws are scattered over Massachusetts and New Hampshire and various of them lost power in a freak snow storm that hit in October last year. So it would be fair to say it feels a little churlish to complain about the Dubai version – a couple of hours of blustery sandy shamal that forced us out of the pool and indoors this afternoon and has already moved on as I write this.
In summary, America is windy. And everyone in the UK, without exception, is cold. It’s half term from school there as well as here, and I compare struggling to think of anything to do with a small child in the cold and wet (maybe that should read ‘anything to do that involves me having to leave the house’) vs. my oh-so-difficult choice of beach/pool/park to fill in the hours over the course of the next few days. Clearly there is absolutely no better place to spend an October week off with your kids than Dubai. The thousands of tourists that have flocked here like penguins at mating season would seem to concur.
So our host city wins. And it will continue to do so for the next four months. With the brief exception of two weeks at Christmas of course, when we will dress up in our finest antique wooly jumpers and grace England with our suntanned faces and relaxed demeanours and everyone will be jealous and think about visiting us again (although they probably won’t, even though they should).
Whilst it might travel under the guise of spending time with loved ones, in reality this fortnight of cold, damp and darkness is not a particularly desirable choice of Christmas vacation. After all, we could be eating turkey on the beach. However, I like to think our decision to leave Dubai in what could easily be agreed on as the BEST TWO WEEKS OF THE YEAR (not that I’m bitter) is done for three reasons:
1. It is incredibly difficult to get into the festive spirit required of a mother of a pre-schooler if you are dressed in a bikini and drinking rose wine in the garden instead of trawling Bluewater for tree presents.
2. My son has demanded snow for Christmas. Whilst it is unlikely to actually snow in the UK in December, it has been known to – and there is a greater chance of it happening there than here in Dubai.
3. It is essential to refresh the memory of how awful the cold, damp and darkness is in order to prolong the feeling of smugness as long as possible into the new year. There are a good few months left until the summer begins in earnest but it’s never to early to start emotionally preparing for it.
So it’s time to enjoy the next six weeks before we break out the hats and boots and jump on a plane. To get out in the warm sun and make the most of every single day. To worry and fret about our loved ones with serious weather warnings and – well – largely ignore the rest of the moaning masses who are a bit chilly. Get on a plane dudes. It’s bloody fantastic here.