Tuesday, February 1, 2011

the dust has settled

The wind seems to have finally dropped after a couple of days of listening to it howling around the tower block.

I've been officially living here for just under a week and as yet I have no permanent visa and no job.  The Sand Warlock (that's my husband, I've spared him the indignity of being Mr Sand Witch, it seems only fair as I haven't taken his name in real life) has responsibility for sorting out his sponsorship of me with his work and providing they can sort it out by Feb 26th, I should avoid any of the fabled "visa runs" where you drive to Oman, cross the border, turn back and get yourself another month's tourist visa for the UAE.

Dubai is sandier than usual at the moment because of the wind.  Unlike the UK, where you'd expect to see rain water and sludge in a city street's gutters, the edges of the streets (no gutters, not enough rain) have been filling up with sand.  Not for long, I suspect, as armies of migrant workers have already been out sweeping.  I keep wanting to tell the poor loves to at least wait until the wind has dropped competely or they'll be doing precisely the same job in an hour's time.

On Friday the sand storms were such that they felled the giant potted palms in the back garden of the hotel where we were having brunch with the Sand Warlock's boss and partner.   When the palms went down, the chef came outside and said: "I think it's better that you move inside."  This was after several members of the waiting staff had already gently tried to persuade us inside but to no avail. There's something about being abroad that makes you think in national stereotypes, but it amused me that it was the British table that were the last to remain optimistic that the storm would blow over and it would soon turn out nice again, only giving up when the wind started to cause physical damage to our environment.

I've been variously job hunting, trying to think of story ideas and wondering around (getting lost) in Dubai Mall.  There has been the odd bit of gazing wistfully at the wedding photos today, I must admit.  Dubai Mall is very big and shiny, a bit like Dubai.  In fact I've just been reliably informed it is the biggest shopping mall in the world.  It makes Westfield London look like a corner shop.  Unfortunately I have no money to spend in it but the Dubai fountain, the insane three floor high waterfall, the Aquarium and people watching the Emiratis are more than enough to keep me amused for the time being.

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