The boys are all having a rest day with some of the parents and supporters today. Many are at the Atlantis on the Palm checking out the waterpark there. Tim Roberts and I have a tee time booked for a quiet round of golf later this afternoon but this leaves me a few moments just to try to work out why I Iove Dubai. And the start of this is that I do love being in Dubai and the UAE. The problem I have is I don’t really know why….
I have been here three times now, always at the end of March and beginning of April. And so obviously the first thing that is great is the weather. For readers of this not from the UK, February/March in England can be pretty grim, cold days, flooded pitches, dark mornings… None of these things are nice, so to come here for 10 days to bright sunshine, 30 degrees and blue skies always lifts my mood.
I am a pretty simple creature really and good food also makes me happy. I always seem to eat well in Dubai and once again I fear the bathroom scales will be taking a battering when I get back this time. Another “false dawn” exercise programme must start when the summer begins….
Dubai has some beautiful architecture. I love modern buildings (I stop off in Slough sometimes to look at the architecture of the Slough Trading Estate but please don’t tell anyone…..) and I love the focus on innovative design in Dubai and indeed Abu Dhabi. The Burj-al-Arab and Burj Khaleifa are two iconic buildings, only rivalled in my mind by the Taj Mahal. I love the twisted skyscraper at the Dubai Marina and love the thinking behind making a building like this. “We can do it so why not?” This culture of innovation, progress and looking ahead is very appealing to me. I find it energising to be in a place that seems like things are happening here. I love the mix of peoples, cultures and backgrounds in Dubai – to be honest I like it in the UK too – but here there is a real feeling of different people all buying into a common aim.
And last but not least, I love cricket. The tape ball cricket matches we played with some of the guys from the hotel the other day were awesome. On the next door piece of ground to our match, there was a group of men, all of whom looked to be of Pakistani extraction, running what I call a middle practice on a building site. They warmed up with a jog around the “outfield”, they then got some players padded up and then for a couple of hours, they trained. There was a mixture of ages from young adult to late middle age. The standard was variable and the outfield had construction trenches cut into it in places (as did ours but don’t tell the H&S committee at school)
I woke up early on the first morning here, around 6am and there was a proper tape ball match going on that I could watch from the hotel window. This had two teams, 8 a side perhaps, and although the standard was best described as rustic, they were clearly playing a serious league match. At 6am, on a building site. I love that! One fielder was sitting on a chair at gully but there was some big hitting, two demon run outs and everyone seemed to be having fun. I watched for half an hour until at 7.30am until both teams lined up, shook hands and presumably went off to work.
One thing Dubai has got to sort out is their addiction to the car. I have been three times over three years but the traffic gets worse and worse, the congestion is becoming horrible and the standard of driving is poor (that is being complimentary) Dubai’s government seems so progressive in many other areas so I hope that in next few years they can look to increase the number of electric/hybrid vehicles (all taxis perhaps?), reduce air pollution, introduce congestion charging. These things would make Dubai an even better place to visit. And would make our journeys on the roads slightly less traumatic.