Long-time readers of this blog will know that rain in Dubai can be as exciting as, say, a white Christmas in the west.
It’s always the talk of the town, and is usually prequeled with a will-it, won’t-it, slightly murky lead-up that puts the whole of the emirate on rain watch.
5 drops here, 10 drops there. Radio presenters add to the ripples of anticipation, as listeners text in with rain sightings.
Maybe once or twice a year, it does actually rain – and I nearly always savour the event, however quickly it’s over, from start to finish.
NOT this time.
It began with a hunch, a sort of uneasy feeling that all was not well with our usually sunny world. As a strange darkness crept round the curtains this morning, I morphed into Rain Scrooge.“Oh no, not rain!’ I thought to myself. My Dad was going to the golf, and I had lots of driving to do (from point A, to point B, to point C, and then possibly to point D later on).
If you saw how people drive – no, make that aquaplane – when it rains here, you’d understand. And there was also the small matter of not knowing if the wipers on the car would work (they disintegrated on our other car through lack of use).
“Mummy, it’s raining – on Grandad’s golf day,” squealed LB, hurtling up the stairs like a baby elephant.
We peered out the window at the glistening ground and I reassured Dad it woudn’t last – there was no way the golf could be rained off in Dubai – but even though it wasn’t really much of a downpour, chaos was unleashed on the roads.
A puddle on Sheikh Zayed Road made it onto the traffic news, my journey to work took three times as long, and all over Dubai, there were repercussions because of the unique event that is rain in the desert.
Swimming lessons were cancelled due to debris in the pool (a few leaves, perhaps?); Wake-up and Shake-up, a weekly event parents attend at school (don’t ask!), was postponed due to the tennis court being wet.
But the most-trying news was to come. At work, my phone rang with a number I didn’t recognise. It’s BB’s birthday party tomorrow and on the other end was the manager of the venue.
“We’re flooded,” he told me. “This whole side of the Ibn Battuta mall is covered in water. We’re sorry, we can’t do the party.” (I don’t normally swear on the blog, but sometimes an expletive is necessary: @^%^@@@!)
Cue: a day spent finding another venue so as not to disappoint an excited small boy on his seventh birthday (thank you DH for pulling off that one), and contacting 25 mums to let them know.
I mean, seriously, what are the chances of a party venue being flooded in Dubai? It was only a piddling amount of rain.
Postscript: BB’s birthday is now at Chuck E. Cheese’s – I can’t believe I’m hosting a party at Chuck E. Cheese’s. Ever since my friend’s boy attended a party there and got his head stuck between the toilet roll and the loo door, I’ve vowed never to enter Chuck E. Cheese’s lair with more than two kids. Wish me luck!