Okay, so bare with me as I begin this long-time-in-coming blog!! The moment we decided to accept the two-year assignment to Dubai with John's company, I thought a blog would be the perfect way to communicate to our "peeps" what life in Dubai is all about! Sooooo, after just spending two weeks there getting John settled in a "flat" I am going to write my first post!
First of all, let me tell you that this was my third trip to Dubai. The first two times I flew coach over -- it is less than two hours to Washington DC and then about 13 hours to Dubai! You can imagine what 13 hours feels like squished in an airline seat shoulder to shoulder with strangers! :) Anyway, this time, since I was travelling with John, I got to sit up front! When you sit up front you can lay horizontal all night long with cozy airline socks on, a mask over your eyes to keep the light out, earplugs to block the noise, and with stewardesses asking you if they can bring you anything to eat or drink.....in other words, you are spoiled rotten the entire 13 hours of flight time!!!! Thus, the life of John!!
The trip over was amazing! When you sleep ten hours of the 13 hour flight, you feel pretty darn good when you land! And we did -- we both felt great when we arrived in Dubai. I had forgotten how utterly beautiful the Dubai airport is. The first thing that hits me everytime I go there are the different robes that the men and women wear. AMAZING!! The second thing that hits me is the HEAT!! OMG, the triple digit temperatures are AMAZING - NOT!!
Saturday AM we got up and were on our own to look around the areas that John had picked as his favorites for us to look for a "flat" or a "villa". Sunday we met up with our relocation expert, Susanne, who put together a day chock full of appointments -- 17 flats and villas!! We were busy but it was soooo exciting! We felt like we had a good feel for what you could get for your money over there -- and decided that we wanted a "flat" in the Dubai Marina area.
We met with Susanne again on Wednesday and went back to see about eight more "flats" in the Marina. Real estate is handled totally different in the UAE than it is in the States. And let's just say that it makes sense in the USA....need I say more? The "owners" in Dubai pick a realtor or several realtors to rent their property. If someone is interested in the property, then they have to make an appointment with the realtor who in turn makes an appointment with the owner who brings the keys. So every property you want to see entails meeting a realtor and the owner -- bare in mind, no one, and I repeat, NO ONE is ever on time in the UAE!!!! It makes for an interesting time.....thank goodness we had Susanne who handled all the appointment nonsense for us!!
Anyway, to make a long story short.....we finalized a deal on a two bedroom, two and a half bath "flat" overlooking the Dubai Marina. The views are absolutely to die for!! The "flat" is brand new and beautiful! It is right under 1500 SF and that counts the two balconies! Next on my list.....furniture!!
John's company told us that we could rent furniture, etc., and set me up with an appointment with the relocation expert, Shaziya, at Indigo Furniture. Renting furniture is totally different in Dubai -- let's just say it is big business there! When the number of expats, etc., it makes sense to rent. This alleviates the problem of what to do with everything when your time is up.
John started working and I got to venture out on my own. Dubai has a marvelous Metro system that travels north and south (I think it's north and south!) along Sheikh Zayed Road. It runs parallel to the coast line of the Arabic Sea and opened in the Fall of 2009. It was being built when the boys and I travelled there two years ago. It is now open and running and is a marvelous way of getting around!
I hopped on, one morning, and found myself shoulder to shoulder with what seemed like a million darker skinned women! It was a first for me -- I was, by far, in the minority! But it was a great way to travel (oh--I happened to hop on in the "women only" section of the Metro) and the crowd began to thin out with every metro stop on the way to the Mall of the Emirates which is where Indigo has a showroom. I made it with no problem and ventured through the mall, with a brief stop at Starbucks, til I found Indigo and met up with Shaziya, our furniture consultant.
The showroom had tons of furniture and accessories like linens, plates, lamps, etc.....everything you need to set up a home away from home! However, Shaziya told me that Indigo had a main showroom that carried several pieces from every collection. That was next on my list -- so I grabbed a cab and, with a map showing where the showroom is located, headed that way -- or so I thought!!
After noticing that we had driven past the same landmark three times, I decided that my cab driver (who didn't speak or understand English) didn't know where he was going!! I yelled, "Pull over NOW!" (sometimes you have to be a bit forceful -- I learned that from John!). He stopped, I paid him for all the driving around and around we did, and I got out in front of a car rental business. I went inside and asked if anyone spoke English. A very dark skinned man came to my aid and I asked him if he would go out with me to the street and communicate where I needed to go to my next cab driver. He agreed. However, after about 15 minutes in the triple digit heat, no cab came! He motioned to me and led me to the side of the building where he motioned for me to get into his personal car. Hmmmmmmm.....dilemma, dilemma!! Hmmmm...what to do, what to do!!
In the good 'ol USA, I would NEVER EVER get in the car of an absolute stranger. I kept thinking about all the times John told me how safe it is in Dubai. I remember reading a story in the paper that very morning about a guy who put his hand on a woman's behind and was put in jail for three years.....it's zero tolerance for any unacceptable behavior. So, with that in mind, I jumped in this man's car. He was from Ethiopia and had been in Dubai for two years and dropped me off right in front of the Indigo showroom!!! Thank you man from Ethiopia!!
Anyway, after several appointments, I picked out everything from furniture, kitchen things, bathroom things....we ended up renting everything down to our salt and pepper shakers!! Unbelievable!!
On Wednesday the pest control people came and sprayed the "flat". I was given a voucher for that from the owner. On Thursday morning the cleaning crew came and cleaned the "flat". I had a voucher from the owner for that also. A man from Dewar (the electric company) came and turned on our power. And then the men from Indigo came with our furniture.......
I couldn't believe it!! Everything.....and I MEAN EVERYTHING...that was delivered was brand spanking new! All the furniture was unwrapped and put together in the hallway. Everything was brand new! I called John and told him -- "You aren't gonna believe this, but everything they are delivering for us is NEW STUFF!!! This is better than Christmas!!"
Okay, so enough rambling......and let's see if I can load pictures of our "home away from home":
Okay, so why oh why did the photo jump to the top of the post???? And why oh why can't I upload any more photos????? AHHHHH!!!