Monday, August 16, 2010

Hi Honey, I'm Home!

I'm back! Did you miss me?! Had an absolute blast back in the UK, but I have to say, I'm extremely happy to be home. I left with mixed feelings, which I'm sure most ex-pats will be familiar with: happiness to be heading home, guilt to be leaving friends and family behind. (Multiply that guilt by 3 when it comes to family what with me being the only child.) I got a bit emotional on the plane (perhaps partly due to watching Mary Poppins - I really don't remember it being that sad!) and had a boo hoo as we came in to land in Dubai. The nice young man in the seat next to me passed me a tissue without making any comment, bless him. Maybe women crying on planes are a common occurrence these days?
It was oh so easy to slip back into the old routines: dinner and cocktails at Harvey Nicks, tea round at Jayne's, and endless lunches, dinners and booze sessions with my favourite people, in my old favourite haunts. Not to mention the hours of shopping: UK economy, don't say I never do anything for you! Thankfully Emirates upped their weight limit to 30 kgs last year otherwise I would have been in real trouble. Who knew that 10 pairs of shoes, 16 dresses, 17 underwear sets, and many other miscellaneous clothing items and cosmetics would weigh so much!

Some topline observations:

Customer Service
I’d forgotten how truly terrible this is in Dubai until I was back in Manchester. Just an hour after landing I headed to House of Fraser for a strapless bra (as you do). The details of what happened in the changing room are worthy of another blog entry – suffice to say I’ve gone up THREE CUP SIZES since moving to Dubai. Put on half a stone and watch it go to my boobs! Things could be worse…anyway. My point was, after measuring me, the lovely sales girl told me to stay where I was, and then proceeded to bring me every single strapless bra they had in the shop (and they had a lot.) Merciless sales technique – maybe but she really wasn’t pushy at all. It was simply about making me, the customer, have as easy and pleasant an experience as possible. Dubai retailers: take note.

Since the January crash, I’ve never really been the same when travelling by car. I was actually reaching a point where I wondered if I had some deep-seated psychological problem (no laughing). Not so – as I discovered when travelling frequently by car in the UK. What, no-one drives at break-neck speeds? Or undertakes you? Or cuts you up? Or uses their mobile phone whilst driving? I was completely relaxed the entire time, which reassured me that it’s not me, it’s Dubai.

I know, I know, it’s the most boring topic in t he world and such a stereotype for me to even mention it. BUT. I hadn’t forgotten how much I hate rain and grey skies, but I had forgotten how day after day of gloomy weather makes me feel, well, gloomy. Down in the dumps. In a general slump. I’m so very happy to be back in perpetual sunshine, even if that does mean searing heat and suffocating humidity for many months of the year.

Cost of Living
I understand that I live in one of the world’s most expensive cities, which means that bargains are even more exciting than they used to be. It’s not often that you find one in a place where glasses of wine can cost you 10 quid…so you can imagine my excitement, nay hysteria, when being back in a place where you can buy a bottle of wine for that price. And don’t even get me started on 15 quid work dresses from Primarni. Suffice to say, I went wild in the aisles…of pretty much every shop you can think of.

There’s so much more I could say about the trip home, but exhaustion is over-taking me. Even the 10 am Ramadan start could not assuage the tiredness I felt after getting to bed at 2.30 am this morning. More to follow when my brain is back in gear!

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