Summer is well and truly on its way, and the opportunity to partake in outdoor pursuits is diminishing. It is still possible to sit outside in the shade at lunchtime or go for a walk on an evening, but it invariably results in sweat pooling in unheard of bodily regions. Not really pleasant.
But there we go. Summer is the Winter of the Gulf, when the weather forces long spells inside. Everything is the wrong way round. We wear as little as is decently possible, and drink the coldest drinks available, but then for a break from the cruel, indefatigable heat, we can go to Ski Dubai and scrape our hands on the sled runs. I still have the scar from New Year's Eve.
So I've been back in Dubai for over a week now, and have just about recovered my sanity after my incarceration in the 26-floor prison they call the Movenpick Towers hotel in Doha. No more buffets for breakfast, lunch and dinner (or dinner and tea, depending on your class). No more cloying attention from grinning hotel workers who pretend to worship the ground you walk on, but secretly harbour murderous feelings to the pampered, corpulent westerners who just want to be left alone. Instead, I actually have to make my own breakfast and load the dishwasher and wipe my own bum. It's taken some getting used to, but I think I'll be OK.
The best bit of my first week back was the peace and quiet at work. The BOSS was on holiday, and the client decided he had badgered me enough during my last week in Doha, so I was able to work at a leisurely pace and get on top of my work for once, instead of vice versa. Lunch hours were taken without worry, even though most of the conversation was about how bad our company was and who was going to leave next. The rest of the time I spent pondering my future, whether that is here in the Middle East, or elsewhere. Even though it was relatively quiet, the week still went quickly.
On Thursday afternoon I was invited to go for a drink by a chap who I chat to on an internet messageboard for expatriates. I have met him before through a mutual friend, so I went along to Aprés at the Mall of the Emirates to meet him and another messageboard contributor who had been giving me some stick for my musical tastes. We had a few relaxed drinks (raspberry mojitos - very, very nice) and talked about the crazy world of Dubai and the crazier world of virtual Dubai, and before I knew it, 2 hours had disappeared, and it was time for everyone to go. It had been a nice way to round off the week, and I wouldn't mind making it a regular fixture.
As it is, I had to disappoint another friend by going to Aprés. When I got his text message, I was already on my way there. He knows who he is. He probably thinks I'm trying to avoid him at the moment with everything that has happened recently, and I will admit that I have needed some time to reflect on certain new information that has come to light, but I'm not ignoring him. There will be a time and a place, I'm sure. I hope he understands.
And then, the weekend. I had been looking forward to Friday, because there was a Star Wars marathon, showing all 6 films in sequence, on one of the movie channels. So we went shopping early on Friday to get it out of the way, and rushed back to the villa to get the TV on. I would have missed about 10 minutes of the start of Episode 1, but I could live with that. Episode 1 is the weak link, as I'm sure most people know. I didn't reckon for the weak link in my expectations. It turns out that I don't have the movie channel in question in my package. I just naturally thought we would have it, but after several flicks through all 247 channels of utter pap, the movie channel in question was not to be found. I was gutted. I rang the TV provider and asked if they could turn it on, and was told that I could, as long as I filled in 13 different forms, took them in person to 13 different offices, then travelled by foot to Al Ain to milk a goat called Colin, and finally getting the channel activated in 45 working days. Forget it. The Farce is strong in this one.