When I travel I “know” everything is exotic, but at everything seems to feel normal even though I see the tourists milling around and I know they have come to look at my realitiy.
I’ve lost count of the amount of days I’ve been out of South Africa. At first I would label my blog posts with days, it seems to be 1711 days since I have left, which is almost 5 years since moving to Dubai. I use to think that leaving Dubai and leaving the UAE was synonomous. Now I have left Dubai, only to live in RAK.
At first, I thought that I would try to live in RAK while I’m here, I know many people drive through to Dubai regularly, but I planned on trying to find home here. RAK still doesn’t feel like home to me, in the last 10 months I have only lived here for 6 months in total. I unpacked my boxes, repacked my bags and went to Denmark for almost 2 months. I came back, studied, and went to Rome for yet another almost 2month period. I have two more trips scheduled for the last 2 months of this year. So, my plan of “living in RAK”, even though it was a good idea, doesn’t’ seem to be very feasible with my lifestyle.
I recently took a day trip to Dubai Mall. I wanted to do some shopping and experience the city again. It was really nice, but as I walked through all the clothing stores, I realized that for a traveller my wardrobe is fine, owning a pair of cute boots or a plaid skirt would be nice if you lived somewhere the temperatures dropped during winter. I do wear some warm things during the UAE’s cooler season, but it never gets cold enough here to need a “winter wardrobe”.
My bicycle has finally been repaired. I found a new bicycle shop which replaced the tires, then I cycled to the store and back during which I noticed that the seat was loose. I borrowed a spanner from the British blokes on 3, cycled to the Cellar and back, and asked to borrow their muscles and spanner the next time. We exchanged one dish washing session for the repair of my bicycle seat. I can now cycle in peace and joy, I take my back pack and go to Al Hamra mall, change into a fresh non-sweat drenched shirt, do my shopping at Spinney’s and come home. It’s about an hour all together, but with the currently cooler temperatures it’s a lovely outing.
Al Hamra Village, the complex where we live, has a speed limit of 25km for cars. To help enforce this there are very many speed bumps. I dislike the very small ones, they jolt my bicycle, but sometimes there’s a little gap on the side where the wheel can go through. I quite like the big speed bumps, if you have some momentum on the bicycle it’s nice going over the big ones.
Last Saturday I took a taxi to the mall, but decided to walk home on account of the good weather. The UAE has two main seasons, the summer which can reach up to 50C and the cooler period which rarely goes below 20C, maybe 25C. So, when the weather is nice, I like being outside, because for many months of the year it’s almost impossible.
Right, so decided to walk home, it’s 45min walk. The security guard’s building is built in the style as the old Emirati watch towers, which is a beautiful way to honour the history. The homes and apartment buildings are also based on traditional Arabic architecture which is beautiful. Oddly, walking through the complex it was as if I got “bored” walking passed so many identical buildings. In Dubai each tower was different, in Rome many buildings are from different eras. Here I’m in a complex and I never noticed how monotonous it was until I walked through the whole place. Cycling through it takes about 15min, so then I just see the beauty.
It’s almost time for Halloween again, I have never participated in this holiday, but I have now become accustomed to seeing the decorations in the stores. During the time I was living in South Africa, Halloween was not that big a deal in the city I lived. Here it’s quite normal to get a Trick or Treat notice.
So, that’s my life here. It’s busy and full, I smoke shisha and cycle and go for Moroccan baths. I shop among women with fails over their faces and gloves covering their hands. I know people from so many different nationalities and cultures. Sometimes it’s fascinating and enjoyable and other times I want to cycle to the store all by myself and not have another interesting encounter with a taxi driver.
Yesterday I went to the salon, got a haircut, had my nails done and then met up with Mum. We went to the sheesha cafe, I had a cherry sheesha and she ordered Moroccan tea. I don’t think I’d ever had imagined that such an afternoon would happen or happen so naturally.