This comes as a bit of a shock, as I've always been a bit wary of having any emotional attachment with this country where I will forever be treated as a immigrant, no matter what. (unless I marry a local, which I don't see happening!)
I've tried to maintain a purely you-scratch-my-back-and-I-scratch-your's kinda relationship with this country ever since I returned from India after college.
I don't know if it's because I've been traveling so often to all the other GCC countries and they don't come anywhere close to dxb when compared or what else it is, but dxb's got me hooked!
Sure, dxb is more cosmopolitan than any other place... so it doesn't really have it's own culture... everything's fabricated... nothing's real... yeah yeah yeah! You can say all that and more.
But Dubai is Arabic in the best possible way! It is Arabic, with all the mosques and the souks and the dhows lining the creek. And yet, it is open enough to accept cultures from all over the world. You can sit in a restaurant and be surrounded by people from all over the world.
If you want to mingle and mix, you can do that, or if you wish to stick to your little corner of India or Italy or South Africa or wherever, you can do that too.
I can walk out in pants and a sleeveless shirt and won't be honked at by the vehicles at the signal or be yelled at in arabic by school boys trying to get my attention (this happened to me in Bahrain). I will not be the only one whose handshake is not accepted cos I'm a woman (this happened to me while I was having a meeting with the Royal Oman Police in Muscat).
I am all for respecting the culture of a country, and I will ensure that I am more careful about the way I dress when I next go to Bahrain. But I don't have to worry about this in dxb!
The cinemas are better in Dxb. The stores are all open till midnight here, some places... 24/7!
The shopping is better, the parks are better. They even have some days where the parks are open for women and children only! They have a separate line for women at most counters. At some banks, they actually have a men's & women's bank side by side!
Of course, all this was there before too, but the thing that got me hooked are my friends!
Now, I actually have friends here! Their joy is my joy, their sadness mine. They're like family to me. And while I've felt that I will forever be the outsider, I now, finally, feel like I belong.
I leave for Kerala on Friday. I'm going to miss my life in dxb, even if it's just for two weeks! And I'm so thankful that I have something to miss.