Moving house is a pain in the ass. Moving countries, however, is a bloody nightmare. Over the summer I decided to move to Dubai. I had various things going on in London, including a friend’s wedding and tickets to George Michael (which didn’t happen), until mid-December, so I decided Christmas Eve would be a good time to leave. I would get to Dubai on Christmas morning – a present to myself.
I had six months to sort out my (mostly junk) possessions, and much of my stuff (mostly books) was shipped back in November, but I was still running around like a headless chicken until Christmas Eve.
I woke up on the Saturday thinking that I needed to buy another suitcase and would do that after lunch with the girls. I went to Edgware Road, found the shop my mum had been talking about (Mindels), bought a large bag and came home. I started packing everything that was left, but the bag was filled in under 15 minutes and it weighed 30 kilos. Shit. That’s the problem with big bags – the bigger the bag, the more crap you’ll put in it. For a while we debated what to do, whether we could leave anything behind, but then decided to buy another bag.
I went back to the luggage shop and asked the guy for a similar bag which was slightly smaller. After I’d paid for it, he said ‘I’m open for another hour if you need anything else. Otherwise I’m closed until the 27th.’ I told him I was leaving that evening so the 27th was no good to me. Thankfully we managed to fit everything into our luggage. Mum and I left for the airport with seven bags. SEVEN. It would have been eight bags but friends of ours offered to take a suitcase for me earlier in the week. I had no idea I had that much stuff.
I wasn’t sure how I would feel leaving London. The last three weeks had been such a blur that I hadn’t had time to think about it properly (or soberly). I knew I wanted to sit by the window. I knew I didn’t want my mother to talk to me as we took off or ask me how I was feeling. We got on the plane, I took the window seat and Mum dozed off before we took off. I looked out the window and saw… the wing of the plane. Dammit! The window behind me wasn’t obstructed by the wing so I looked through that as we took off. A minute after taking off we flew into a cloud and I couldn’t see anything. Dammit! Perhaps it was for the best.
The flight was uneventful and we landed in Dubai at 8.30am on Christmas morning. Instead of going straight to immigration, we had to collect our visas from the visa counter. They were waiting for us and it was pretty straightforward. We then had to get our eyes scanned at the next counter.
Anyone who knows me knows how passionate (read ‘fanatical’) I am about spelling and punctuation. Imagine my horror when I saw a sign that said: Ladie’s counter. I wanted to weep. When in doubt, leave the apostrophe out (I think). After holding my head in my hands for a few minutes, I started to take a photo of the sign but an airport employee told me I couldn’t. After that we went through immigration.
There’s a duty free shop before you get to baggage reclaim and Mum said we had to pick up some alcohol (hurrah!). You’re allowed to buy up to 4 litres per person so we had four bottles of champagne, two bottles of Australian red, and two bottles of Italian Gavi. Non-Muslim residents living in Dubai need an alcohol licence to purchase alcohol or store it in their homes. I need to get this sorted out as soon as possible!
We collected our luggage, got into a cab and were home by 10am. My sister and her family had arrived earlier that morning and were still asleep so my parents and I chatted while our new housekeeper, Joy, made us some tea (I could get used to this). I admired the view from our 23rd floor flat. I have a corner room with floor-to-ceiling windows on two walls. I can see the Shangri-La Hotel (and their lovely pool) and Sheikh Zayed Road on one side:
And the sea and our own pool on the other:
After all the packing I did, I just couldn’t face unpacking all those bags so Joy did it all for me. How spoilt am I going to get??