So, we’re trekking round Dubai looking at homes – not because we want to (see previous post), but because we’re being evicted and thought we’d better check out all the options. Secretly, I absolutely love noseying around other people’s villas and I’m not averse to a bit of property porn – so off we go. Google Maps at the ready.
First stop – Al Furjan. I’ve heard good things, and Son1’s school isn’t too far away. We pass lines of giant electricity pylons whose wires stretch for as far as the eye can see in each direction, and I spot the enormous, curvaceous satellite dish that must surely pick up some interesting TV shows (always reminds me of the James Bond movie, Golden Eye). We’re close – but that doesn’t mean anything in Dubai. After several attempts, we find the entrance.
My husband winds down the car window and politely asks if we can see the show villa.
The security guard shakes his head. “No,” he says, deadpan.
“We’re Emirates,” we say, trying again. You think they’d make this easy, right?
Sunlight streams through the window and I squint at the guard through narrowed eyes. He smiles back. A smile that comes out like a newborn foal – its legs buckle straight away. “You need to contact the company to get key,” he says, and no matter how much we argue our case (“the company sent us here”), he won’t relent. He lets us in, however, to drive around.
I like what I see and spot a man I decide to ask a question of. Unfortunately he’s up a ladder. He’s standing on the uppermost rung doing something to the carport roof, and all I can see are the bottoms of his legs above white trainers. I wait. Once he’s safely down, I ask one or two questions, which he helpfully answers and then we’re on our way.
To Jumeriah. By now, we’re getting hungry and the car’s running low on gas. Just a quick stop, says my husband – it’s such a fabulous location close to the beach, and it’s a jewel of day, as bright and shiny as a new-minted dirham. I’d love to live this close to the sea, I think. But the reality is our schools are nowhere near, and we find ourselves lost and struggling with the dual numbering system on the villas.
My husband isn’t one to give up easily, and so we do see one villa – which we disagree on due to me not wanting to spend all day on the school run.
Onwards we go, and to cut a long story short, I’ll fast forward straight to our viewing at Mudon, where – if we won the lottery – we could possibly buy a villa or townhome. We’re immediately seduced by a sign to the 5-bed showhome. “Let’s just look,” I say, hopefully, and we drive deeper into Mudon, following more signs laid out like breadcrumbs. Arriving, I climb out the car, and stare at my dream home. I walk round with my eyes on stalks. It’s incredible, exhilarating. I’m almost breathless with excitement. It’s property porn. And it’s totally beyond our reach.
“Well, let’s look at the smaller ones,” I suggest.
We walk into an office and a woman greets us.
“Could we have some information please?” I ask.
“What sort of information?” she says. A puzzled look flickers across her face. Then she looks blank.
“Erm, about your villas?”
She’s still looking confused.
“What you have available, prices,” I suggest, trying to help her out. I begin to wonder if they are actually trying to sell villas here. Maybe it’s all a big ruse for displaced expats.
“Sorry,” she says, shaking her head. She points to a number. “You need to call.”
“Could you tell us about the facilities?” asks DH after we’ve looked round the townhome she said we could see.
The quizzical look returns. She doesn’t have a clue, and we leave wondering what on earth her actual job was. Dubai can be a funny old place, you know.