I’m back in Dubai on a short vacation, less than a year after repatriating. Returning only 9 months after leaving is a rather strange sensation and I’m intrigued by the things which used to be unremarkable but which now I find striking.
Every expat in Dubai talks about the manic driving, but after only a short absence it still comes as a shock to see cars driving at twice the posted limit, weaving, tailgating and honking at every opportunity.
As a pedestrian in Toronto I blithely step off the sidewalk without looking, confident traffic will come to a screeching halt. Here I take my life in my hands even at a crosswalk or traffic light.
I’m back in a culture which still uses a lot of cash. I’ve visited the ATM more times since I arrived than I do in 3 months in Canada.
Despite this, the amount of retail space in Dubai is huge and seems to be doing well. Yes, it is the height of the tourist season and the Shopping Festival right now, but I’m surprised that the precipitous decline in construction which fuelled much of Dubai’s boom hasn’t had a more obvious effect on the city. Yes, there are lots of abandoned building sites, but the malls are full and newcomer coffee mornings as busy as ever.