Part 2: Living in Dubai
Designer goods, super cars and an opulent lifestyle are a heady cocktail that lures people to this exciting Emirate but for me, it was work.
Thanks for joining me as we continue the theme of working in the Middle East and travelling to Dubai.
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When I worked as an Executive Assistant in an American Law firm back in 2008, the hours were long and the work relentless. But I loved it. Sometimes, I would get to the office at 06:30 and finish ten hours later completely exhausted. Arranging meetings for high-powered company executives and organising travel itineraries for several key lawyers in the firm were just two of the many jobs that I was tasked with, as well as fielding telephone calls, typing and formatting documents, and managing diaries for those important lawyers. In the UK, I usually worked one-to-one but here, I was expected to work for at least three lawyers, so I certainly earned my tax-free salary.
As a treat at the weekend (Friday and Saturday in the UAE), I would book myself a massage at one of the amazing luxury hotels in the city. I lived not far from one of the many Intercontinental Hotels, close enough to walk, in fact, so this was one of my favourites. It wasn’t cheap but it was worth every penny. I would have paid for the view, lying on a lounger waiting for my treatment, which gave a birds-eye view across the city from where you could see the high-rise buildings shimmering in the heat, and there was a roof-top pool with a glass bottom and side to it which overhung the building. It was incredible.
If you click the arrow on the images in this link 29 times as you admire every conceivable angle of the rooms, restaurants and facilities of this wonderful hotel glide past, you will see one shot of the pool, but if you click again and go to image 31, I guarantee you will gasp in amazement. It is something else and yes, I have swum in that very pool.
My mid-week treat was sometimes a pedicure and I like to have my hair styled and trimmed regularly. I will never forget this one particular visit to a salon in one of the smaller malls when I first arrived in the Emirate. I don’t know whether it was to save time or what, but the hairdresser was blow drying my hair while my feet were soaking in a foot massager. It felt wrong – electricity and water are not good bedfellows. It all turned out fine and I emerged unscathed, although I can remember feeling extremely nervous at the time!
As I became more familiar with the city, I ventured into the larger malls and the Dubai Mall was one of my favourites. I loved to go and watch the aquatic life at the gigantic aquarium in between admiring the dazzling array of designer goods that were way beyond my means.
Taxis were the best way for Western women to travel around and eventually, I hired my own personal driver who would pick me up and drop me wherever I asked him in a beautiful air-conditioned Lexus. Some of my ex-pat colleagues purchased cars, but I didn’t go down that route, and I am so glad I didn’t. I will explain the reason why in another post.
Dubai is a city of excess. You can even go skiing on real snow - yes, in the Mall of the Emirates, you will find Ski Dubai where you can learn to ski, take snowboarding lessons or get up close and personal with penguins. Outside, the temperature could be over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, but you can go frolicking in the snow.
That’s Dubai for you! I hope you enjoyed this small insight into a city that is guaranteed to impress.
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