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Sula Powell: Life in the comfy lane
July 22, 2016
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My parents are now safely back in Scotland — very reluctantly I believe, even from my father’s very unenthusiastic and passive ‘Dubai is not my thing’ perspective — albeit suffering from authentic hummus withdrawals and relentlessly reminiscing about the days that entailed partaking in the minimum amount of strain and effort whilst lounging in the 40 degrees heat.

However, I do feel it is now perhaps safe to say the UAE, as a whole, has eventually renovated itself to claim a remarkably high placing amongst my dad’s favoured holiday destinations. It only took a mere 14 days, also accompanied by a few hours spent by the Dubai Mall fountains, which was forcibly implemented by my mother. I have never quite comprehended how much of a surreal fan of those fountains she was. I do however have to commend her on embracing the humidity for so long.

I also think easing my Dad into the holiday with a trip to Ting Irie — the new Jamaican restaurant in Downtown — for his birthday meal most definitely helped soften his outlook. He assures me the jerk chicken, coco bun bread and rice and peas were scarily similar in terms of taste to what he grew up with in Jamaica! Me, being the annoying, fussy and pesky pescatarian, I cannot comment on the meat dishes, nor the ‘Beach Shack’ lobster sadly. I would not even dare conjure up an argument with my dad by ordering such a ‘pricey’ dish. Anything exceeding 100 Dirhams is simply scandalous according to him.

To support and coincide with my dad’s restricting budget we thought we would take him to Ravi’s restaurant in Satwa, not the usual location for my weekend jaunts but it was nice to witness a more realistic and down to earth side of Dubai. The food is so lovely and authentic yet incredibly cheap. The bill for a party of four totalled to a laughable amount and my dad did not protest once. I also got to make some traditional naan bread, which I would personally describe as semi successful (possibly not edible) aside from singeing a large percentage of my arm hair off on the tandoori oven!

Upon their departure, I was hectically inundated with some rather disheartened selfies from my mother at the airport. She could barely utter ‘goodbye’ to me when she left the hotel due to that choked, restricting feeling that arises in your throat when you boldly try to prevent yourself from crying (although I am fully aware a sly perfume purchase at duty free was made to console herself). She is still currently, eagerly — yet rather awkwardly — posting at least five of the same sunset photographs of the on-site private beach at the hotel on Instagram. I think she is actively practicing that ‘you become what you think about’ mind-set.

I miss them a lot, potentially not as much as I miss my English Bulldog Hugo, or them kindly paying for my poached salmon and quinoa or halloumi and pumpkin salads by the pool. I am sincerely hoping you all grasp my sense of sarcasm here, but I did genuinely forget how satisfying life beyond student ways was and how content one becomes when indulging in three wholesome meals a day. Not once did I display any symptoms of being ‘hangry.’

I also experienced being in the UAE during the month of Ramadan for the first time, which did not transpire to be as problematic as people were forever telling me. The biggest obstacle for me to override was to ensure I did not drink water in public, because, if you know me, I am always walking around clinging to a litre of bottled water like a mad woman. The cinema not allowing food or drink was incredibly testing, especially when the popcorn aroma is still heavily evident in the air! Naturally, I had to attend Iftar a couple of times, predominantly for educational purposes of course.

I think the message of Ramadan is lovely, and the community spirit everyone engages in restores my faith in humanity. However, my nerves were extremely uneasy with the manic ‘Ramadan driving’ taking place on the roads. I also learned that informing someone who is fasting that you are hungry is a whole new level of rookie mistake.
Sula Powell is a Scottish/Jamaican business student at
Heriot Watt University in Dubai. Sula is a keen horse rider
and a part time model holding a number of prestigious titles
including Europe’s Perfect Junior Teen. For the remainder
of her journey in the UAE, Sula will be sharing her experiences
on the ups and downs of student life.

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