I’m celebrating my 12th year in the UAE this month.
Twelve years ago on August 4 I arrived at Dubai Airport, had my passport stamped by the wrong person before being frogmarched to an office full of officials, who all seemed very angry at me. Hours later I walked out into the heat to be met by men shouting offers of a taxi ride. I was literally taken for a ride by a bloke in a beaten-up Corolla and charged five times what an official taxi would’ve charged me. It was cheaper than the UK, I suppose.
I was given a top floor room in the Trade Centre Novotel, looking south towards Emirates Towers and not a lot else. That same view now would take in Downtown Dubai, Burj Khalifa, DIFC and hundreds of new buildings. I trotted down to the swimming pool (the first hotel swimming pool I’d ever been to in my life) and so began my life in the UAE.
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