A Sandy Christmas

in The Dubai Mall...

I can remember ever since my childhood, aaaaaaaaaaaallllllll I wanted was to live somewhere that Christmas would be all palm trees and blue skies and bathing suits.  If nothing else has, that want is now a ‘be careful what you wish for‘ situation in my life.  Spending this year’s holidays in Dubai (although not the first time I have done so) just seems terribly strange.

Even with the massive transportation problems Europe is currently facing due to the winter weather and all of the complaints I am hearing about the bitter freeze back home in Pennsylvania, I would love nothing more than to be bundled up today (OK, actually I currently am bundled up, but only because the aircons here are absolutely out of control) and step outside to be greeted by windchill and slush, to which I would doubtless respond to with a stream of angry, vulgar complaints.

I’d have to say, more than any other time (maybe even the first time) since I moved to Dubai in June of 2008, I feel genuinely homesick.  Or, at least climate-sick.

Of course, I can tell you right now, that come December 26th I’d find myself begging for those 86°F sun-filled days to come back!  New Year’s Eve cocktail dresses and fireworks viewing work out so much better in the toasty climes of Dubai!

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Over the years I’ve found that one of the most common questions I get from people back home about my life here is whether or not Christmas has any presence at all in Dubai, given that the UAE is an Islamic country.  And the answer is a definitive ‘yes’; Dubai is an expat city filled with a large percentage of Christians who will probably rage if they don’t get their Christmas.  Of course it’s not as Christmas-y as back home (which to be honest, can be overwhelming in my opinion) but there is Christmas decor up all around, trees (real and fake) for sale, many restaurants offer Christmas Eve and Christmas Day brunches and dinner and other festivities, and you can’t go too many places without hearing Christmas music.  The latter being something of a disappointment to me.  I’ve never enjoyed Christmas music and one of my first feelings about moving to an Islamic country was joy that I would no longer have to hear Christmas music.  Can’t win them all, I guess.

A few pics I snapped around town this year (from the Blackberry, I hate lugging my massive DSLR around town like a tourist).

shopping for a live tree in Satwa
once home, Cat took up residence in the tree
the booze shop was very festive indeed
The 90 foot Dubai Mall tree, decked out with 20,000 lights
the undisputed winner for 'most holidaytastic'

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Merry Christmas to everyone!  Wherever you are spending your holiday season this year, I wish you the best, no matter what the climate!

Here’s to a fabulous 2011!

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