Despite living in Dubai for over seven years, I still can’t get used to Friday and Saturday weekends. If the imam calling from the neighbourhood mosque doesn’t wake me with a melodious call to prayer, my husband does with a kiss and the announcement that he is going to get the papers. We read ‘The Times’ and scrabble to be the first to complete the crossword. In the cool season he’ll walk to the local supermarket to buy the paper, but if the outside temperature is over 34 Celsius, he’ll take the car. I usually laze for a while in the air-conditioned bedroom before getting ready for the day. I wear a cotton dress or a top and trousers in the house but always cover up with a pashmina or cardigan when I go out. It’s a respect thing for the local culture.
Depending on how we feel, we might head out into the desert to drive through a wadi or up into the jebels where the scenery has an almost biblical quality, or spend the day swimming and sunbathing by the pool – I wear Factor 50 on my face and plaster the rest of my body with Factor 30 as the sun is fierce and I don’t fancy ending up looking like a saddle-bag on a camel.
Weekends are also a great time to catch up with friends for either meals at home or brunches at the local hotel which thanks to the unlimited quantities of alcohol included in the meal price can be quite boozy events! If we attend a brunch, our evening is somewhat quiet and spent catching up on DVDs – Downtown, Mad Men and Silk are current favourites – as weekend TV here is pretty rubbish. If DVDs don’t do it for us, we talk, listen to music or read until it is time for bed. In the old days we could burn the midnight oil without a worry but now that we’re vintage (our sons’ description … kinder than ‘antiques’ or ‘wrinklies’) we’re asleep by 9pm!