Comic memoir of arriving in Dubai for the first time
|In the height of summer the heat choked me, as if the very air scratched at the walls of my throat as it struggled to satisfy my strangled lungs. Stepping off the plane a wall of solid temperature greeted me; Dubai, home for half a decade.
Arriving in August one finds it hard to find a sense of place. The entirety of the beauty of the sea and desert seems a lifetime away when one is trapped inside. AC is your God, regardless of race or religion. Each man is destined to stay inside with temperatures soaring above 40 degrees c. A seventeenth floor view of the Arabian Gulf is a mirage of salvation; coral blue and clear right to the bottom, truly tantalising for an overheated lad. Only once I tried to venture the 400 metres to the sea shore in early September; once I tried and have always regretted it. After ten minutes of sweating my way to the sea’s edge it dawned on me that I, the foolish foreigner, was the only human outside of a vehicle for as far as the eye could see. My leaking skin did nothing to stifle the oppressive heat that beat down from above; radiated from the blackened car park that led to the deserted beach; golden sand from Saudi stood before me, a mere 20 metre stretch to the water’s edge. “Alas!” thought I, with true British naiveté to all things sunny, “the cooling blue waters yonder shall ease my suffering.” Sun creamed to the hilt, I extended one toe gingerly into the calm brine. What agony my poor foot endured.
This was not water but lava surely? Molten rock, sand or something sinister! The distinct smell of boiling meat flew like a bullet from a gun through my nose and swilled around my brain causing nausea and a dizziness, made worse by the intense burning of the sun on my pale skin that had thus far remained untouched by the (nearly) boiling cauldron that was the expanse of pain that lapped against the shore. My body as a whole felt sick with heat and with extreme effort I made it to the sanctity of home and an ice cold beer; my skin burnt, my pride knocked and my respect for that bitch of star greatly increased.