Let’s Go Flaneuring in Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Today’s Flaneuring post comes from Dubai. Cynthia Bressoud takes us from her skyscraper apartment to the oceanside. There are about four more posts on the flaneuring schedule and if you are interested in contributing, I’d love to hear from you.

The light frame around the blackout curtains begins to go from artificial to natural soft foggy light.  The dull fan like sound, the traffic, begins to rachet up the volume.  I live 30 floors up above the 12 lane highway that cuts a vertical seam through the heart of Dubai.  I peer down on this seam watching the smaller than matchbox cars whizz, zoom, and dart.  Seems an unusual percentage of white cars…  makes sense, in the desert.

The rising sun is now reflecting on the glass of the buildings across the road.  The bits of sea, visible from my window begin to color up, from steel gray to deep blue, reflecting the always blue sky…always.  A cloud is an occasion for a picture post on instagram!

My view rivals any New York City view, with some of the tallest residential towers in the world and also bits of the sea.  I always wanted a sea view.  I had pictured a Maine coast type view, but who’s complaining.

My neighborhood is a  collection of glass and steel skyscrapers set in clusters of three.  These clusters huddle around man-made lakes. The sight of water in the desert is refreshing, but, don’t look too close.

One of the lakes has been filled in and turned into a park, offering green grass and some shade trees.  On my early morning walk, it is quiet.  The grounds keepers are up, clipping bushes, watering plants, cleaning the scum from the “lakes”.  The security guy on his segway, looks bored.  A few dog walkers, runners.  It is relatively quiet, as much as can be so close to 12 lanes of whizzing traffic.  The lower two levels of each building house the retail space.  Grocery stores,  hair “saloons”, cafes, restaurants with names like Canadian 2 for 1 pizza (no 2 for 1 pizzas, it is just a name), Four Guys, and Pizza Delice, no,  that is not a typo.  From Italian, to Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese, Indian, Lebanese.  Hundreds of places for dining and takeout pleasure!!

A multicultural neighborhood, filled with colorful faces, colorful clothing, colorful languages.  I love that.

When the sun goes down, everyone comes out.  Runners, walkers, kids on bikes, grown-ups on bikes.  Crowds at the cafes.  Kids at the playgrounds.  More dog walkers.  The evening is cooler, no scorching sun to drive you indoors. The lights from the towers reflects on the lakes, sparkling pretty.

I used to balk at any outside activity at temperatures above 85, now, that temperature seems cooler.  They said it would happen…getting so used to hot…and I mean HOT…Temps above 110 and more humid than I have ever felt.  Like walking through soup.  Soup straight off the stove…getting used to that makes any temp below 90 seem cool.  Well, cooler…and I am not sure getting used to it is true, maybe just tolerate it better.  Not.  The weather is changing, they say the wind and dust storms are a clue.  A far cry from red leaves raining down through the crisp cold air.  Sometimes though the occasional towel from the laundry on the balcony 30 floors up floats on the wind like leaves from a tree!
This morning I walked to the beach.  I have never lived this close to the sea.  I cross the 12-lane seam on the metro bridge, and wind my way through more tall buildings to get to the beach.  The beach is peaceful, the aqua water laps quietly on the sand.  Scattered shells and an occasional blue jellyfish have washed up on the beach.  The bustling neighborhood is behind me.  There is calm here.  A vacation-like feeling…I live here.  Nice!  The contrast of cultures is stark, bikini wearing and Abaya clad women, enjoying the beach together.
My neighborhood is just a tiny facet in this jewel in the desert called Dubai.   Well not really tiny,  There are 23 buildings with more than 40 floors in the Marina across the road, and many smaller.  My neighborhood has 72 towers.  Then of course there is THE tallest building in the WORLD…the Burj Kalifa. The spire kissing the sky.  But that is another neighborhood.


cindy bressoudWhen the last daughter was married off, Cindy and her husband started their adventure, moving from a small town in New Hampshire, to Dubai nearly a year ago.  She loves to sew, quilt, walk and swim and cycle.  You can read more about this big city/cross-cultural life on her blog A New Spring, found at www.bumblebeeandsophie.com