Monday, September 7, 2009

Do you have the time to listen to me whine about nothing and everything all at once?

cooked kids

An ugly truth about living in Dubai is that, well, it's temporary for almost everybody. Sure, there are a few folks who have lived here more than a decade, but the majority of folks are here for a couple of years and then they move on. Different people deal with this in different ways. Many people act as though they're on vacation...a very long vacation to be sure, but a vacation nevertheless.

Now, we all know people behave...differently when they're on vacation. They spend more money, they make friends more easily and often more likely than not forget about them when they go home. Maybe they eat more, act up, experience more, stress out more do you act when you're on vacation? I know I try to suck up every last bit...and I try to act like a guest. An indulged guest, to be sure, but a guest nevertheless.

Summer in Dubai, however, is the long hard part of the vacation. The part where you're stuck in the hotel room.

The joke goes something like this: How do you know it's summer in Dubai?

Your tan fades.

It's not just the heat; with the temporary way of the world here, I had my first unpleasant experience with coming back when several friends were not. Lots of good-byes, lots of "they're not coming back?" discussions. Then, perhaps due to the economy, perhaps not, more are leaving every day. It can be disheartening.

Losing friends and staying inside is even harder for the kids. "They're not coming back and we'll probably never see them again" is a hard thing to explain. Going back to school helps, but we find that although the staggering temperatures have dropped a little as the season goes on the humidity rises, some days to 100%, and that thick heavy wetness is unbearable, so we're still stuck inside.

So how are we dealing with the heat and humidity?

One way I am dealing by sticking two fingers in the face of the weather and running in it anyway. This is brutal but it's far better than feeling unfit and going stir crazy.

I am also taking photographs of some of the more interesting pieces of the everyday that you just don't see back home.

Here is how one worker I spied alongside the road deals with the blazing sun:

I hope you can make it out: he has taken a roughly square piece of cardboard and made a hole in it, then fitted the whole thing atop his hard hat. Voila! Instant sombrero!

Not bad.

This next fellow's sole purpose is to keep the blowing drifts of sand off the road. It keeps him busy, I can tell you.

Bet you didn't know there was a machine just for that, did you? Good thing too. Those piles of sand look soft, but try to drive into one with your car.

These are my neighborhood buddies, the lawn ninjas:

The first time we went to the park and saw them, frankly I was a little intimidated. I mean, they look enough like terrorists to give one pause. Taking the bull by the horns, as soon as they stopped Thomas and I swallowed hard and went over to make conversation. Beneath the face covers were some very smiley, super sweet guys who let Thomas sit on one of the riding mowers. The face covers, which you see employed everywhere, are to keep out the sun and sand and have nothing to do with concealing the person underneath.

Good to know.

You have to love the John Deeres and baseball caps.

There's one more thing that we're doing to get through the summer. Planning our next "real" vacation.

After all, we are at the crossroads of some really interesting places, places we'd probably never go if we had to come all the way from North America. We promised ourselves that while we were here we'd make the most of the location by exploring and traveling to places we've never been.

Sooooo...I'm asking you: where should we go? Not Europe, (we'll hit that up later) not Africa, this time,, Asia.


We're throwing around Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia...

Where would YOU go?


Anonymous said...

Cruising. Just get on a boat, relax, let the kids play and eat yourself silly. Love Mumsey

Mom2ABJ said...

Did you leave the oven on? It's figgin' hot here!

So ... Asia!! Well, if you haven't noticed, I'm kind of Asian myself ;) Since I am Thai, I'd have to vote for Thailand (but NOT Bangkok!), and Singapore, which is the Dubai of Asia. It's Asia-lite and we did a 2-yr assignment there as well. I dare say it's the cleanest Asian city around, but it's quite small but you could consider hopping over to a Malay or Indonesian island.

My 2-cents, but you know I'd absolutely love to share more if you'd like!

Stay cool!!

Abid said...

If a first time commenter may add his 2 cents:

1. Sharm al Sheikh in Egypt (I know you said not Africa, but Egypt is really an extension of the Middle East)

2. TURKEY!!! My uncle just went to Turkey from the UAE and he had loads of fun. Good food, good people and nice sightseeing!

3. India?

Karen said...

Asia - a must. You would love it. We were in Malaysia for nearly 5 years and can't wait to take our girls back. We've got lots of info we could share. Loved Thailand and would go back. Haven't been to Vietnam but would jump at that too. India would be another one to see.

*Paula* said...

I'm constantly amazed at what you are doing Natalie -- I know it can't be easy on you, or the kids but you have a great attitude :) I have no idea where to go with little kids -- it looks like you've gotten a few good suggestions already though!

Tanya said...

I know you said not Africa but we went to Egypt and Jordan a couple of years ago and it was awesome. The boys loved it. Temples, Petra, a cruise down the Nile, the Pyramids. We havent been to Turkey yet but so many people we know loved that too.
We are living in Cambodia at the moment so Siem reap to see Angkor Wat and ride in a tuktuk. Vietnam is also pretty cool as is Kuala Lumpur, Borneo to see the Orang Utans, Chiang Mai- much nicer than Bangkok- you could do an elephant trek. Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam all have beach resorts if you just want (more) sun, sand and sea. Hongkong- Disneyland, ferry rides, a very steep tram ride to an incredible view (if its not too hazy)and of course Singapore (where we lived for two years) clean, easy to get around, plenty of things to see and do.
Great blog by the way!

Jolie-Anne said...

Northern Indian, Nepal and Bhutan!

Jeni said...

Hey we have lawn ninjas too! :) Plus Josh let a Gecko loose in my van this morning. Yikes! You have Gecko House and now I have Gecko Van.