We’re pretty much enscosed now. Gordon is here, we’re doing the final arrangements in the apartment, and we’re getting into the swing of things, just in time for the holiday season.
First up, Thanksgiving. It’s obviously not a regular UAE thing, but there are enough Americans and other Westerners wanting to celebrate something, anything, that it becomes a thing. Plus many of the big hotels don’t want to miss a trick, so they put on big meals. The many clubs and groups do their own parties as well. So we are doing Thanksgiving, and that’s fine by me! Big meal, social occasion, what’s not to like? The history has no meaning any more, at least it doesn’t affect it for me.
Then next Tuesday is UAE’s National Day, which this year is the 43rd anniversary of the founding of the United Arab Emirates. That’s right, this country is one year older than me. It’s going to be very big – fireworks over the Gulf, flags and decorated cars. We’re staying in, not because we’re scared, but because the traffic will be insane, and we walk down from our apartment to the Corniche along the waterfront and take a look at the celebrations. Plus I get the day off for this national holiday.
Xmas is also very big. Again, the history has no meaning here, but then again, where does it? I’m only in it for the social aspect – family, friends, food, drink, gifts.
Cassie and I are staying here for the holidays, because we only just got Gordon here, and finding flights, hotels and dog boarding was impossible. We’ll take a trip to the UK in early February instead. We’ll go for a nice dinner or lunch at one of the fancy hotels – again, they do big Xmas specials with champagne and so on.
Basically, you take any chance you can get to be social with Westerners here. There’s all sorts of clubs and groups to join.
The weather is very nice at the moment, topping out at 30C, but still pretty humid. It will get cooler through the winter, then from about May until September it will get (in the words of a French ex-colleague who lived here – imagine the accent) “f***ing brutal”. I will be saving my vacation days for then.