It’s Christmas Eve, though I would not have realised had it not been for the girls reminding me, as I am lost in that time void created by 3 time zones in 6 days…I have no idea what day or date it is!!
The last few days have been a whirlwind of activities, new places, sights, smells. Dubai was overwhelming in so many ways – the scale of its buildings, the confusion of its ever winding, busy motorways that snake through the landscape like concrete, pulsing veins; the immense wealth that has created a glass and metal oasis in the desert, with buildings rising from the dust and sand to stand tall and conquering over the horizon.
Dubai is an eye opener. The contradiction of ancient culture and modern wealth. The Gold Souks, sitting brightly next to the intoxicating enticing spice markets where sacks of saffron, tumeric, dried lemon and rose petal, to name but a few, permeate the senses with their beauty.
The arab men, in their crisp white robes, The discretely dressed woman, covered from head to toe in their bur qua’s carrying the most expensive Gucci handbags and following in their husbands footsteps. To get a glimpse of their faces and be amazed at the beauty and exquisiteness of their makeup that is hidden to all except their family. The market vendors, always men, from all corners of the Far East and the Emirates…selling their wares – pashminas from India and Cashmere, pottery and coloured glass lamps from Turkey.
The Dubai Mall is incredible…1200 shops, all super sized, glittery and in your face. Specialist shops, ranging from a shop just for Baby Prada through to huge shops just for Sweets and Lollipops or Christmas decorations. They shops are all spectacular and beautiful and completely over the top.
We took a 4WD tour into the desert on friday night…4Wdriving accompaniied by screaming intermingled with terrified laughter as we pelted up steep sand dunes to then ride the precipice on the sand wave at the top and then drop back down the other side of the dune. Not for the faint hearted or those prone to motion sickness! I do not need to do it again. We drove to a desert camp, complete with camels to ride, quad bikes, belly dancers, authentic dinner of kofta, falafel and baklava…and a Christmas tree and 750 tourists of various nationalities enjoying the entertainment. It was a fun night.
We are now in Scotland. Bonnie Scotland with its picturesque hills, rolling green fields, stone house and grey, somber skies. This landscape fills me with joy and awe and inspiration, made even more apparent by the last 4 days that we have spent in the sand and dryness of Dubai.
As I type from the upstairs bedroom of our accomodation in Pitlochry, Perthshire, I am facing a Castle, Atholl Palace, Grey stone, turrets and Christmas lights twinkling in the windows. we are hoping to visit later and say hi to Santa. It is so beautiful, it took my breathe away when I opened the curtain to the pale morning light, with the mist lifting off the hills behind this magestic building. My camera is working overtime!
It’s been a little challenging finding internet connection, so this is just the start of posts on our holiday. I am wishing everyone a wonderful Christmas Day…especially my mama who I miss so much at this special time of the year. Merry Christmas also to Captain Pops as you travel around the USA in your new van and to Ant and Kaz, Brookie and Darcydolittle…Christmas is very strange with out my family, but I am so grateful to give Dudie this time with his family here in Scotland.