Eleven years in Dubai being

August 8 was the eleventh anniversary of my moving to Dubai. No plans to leave.

Here are some random pics from that first year (I got my first digital camera in May 2003).

You used to be able to park for free outside the UP Tower. There’s a metro station there now.

Zayed-Jumeirah 007.JPG


For not much more than I was paying in England for a room in a shared house with one bathroom, tiny kitchen and living space, after three months in a hotel apartment I moved into a one bedroom flat with utility bills included, free internet, a pool, gym and parking space. Ikea furnished it for not much at all.

CDs, wired internet only, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, date this picture quite well. Note the Sun Ultra 5 on the right – Solaris 8 with the Windows PCI card running Windows 2000.

barasti-roadsides 099.jpg

The room was on the 34th floor, with a great view of the port.


They built something in the gap whilst we were still there, which went up in flames rather spectacularly on one occasion.


The financial district was beginning to be built, with the Sheikh Zayed Rd impressive but not cluttered.

Zayed-Jumeirah 028.JPG Zayed-Jumeirah 079.JPG

The low rise building on the right is The Bunker – fantastic expat down-to-earth hangout with live music on Thursday. Sadly disappeared a few months after I arrived, cleared for the financial district.


Zighy Bay. Terrifying drive up and down. Now a five star hotel with no public access.

wadi-bih 100.JPG

wadi-bih 108.JPG

This early 90s Nissan is probably still on the road. You can buy them these days for about 20,000Dhs. I’m tempted just to have one for fun. Lots of the local boys still drive them, with the interiors completely refurbished, making them look as if they’re brand new.

I loved arriving and seeing all the amazing cars. I loved my rental VW Polo less – it would stall when started unless you revved it, the engine conking out when the AC kicked in.


Not sure what this is – Al Murooj Rotana?

quad-views-flat 025.JPG

The Madinat takes shape.

may-2003 089.JPG

Knowledge Village.

may-2003 073.JPG

When it was still not much more than a twinkle in Sheikh Mo’s eye.

may-2003 069.JPG

The Marina had just started going up. Some people made a fortune on these early ones.

may-2003 010.JPG

You used to be able to jet ski next to Garhoud Bridge.

jumeirah-jetski 031.JPG

Fortunately you can still go quad bikini near Big Red.

quad-views-flat 011.JPG

More Madinat.

jumeirah-jetski 003.JPG

Mrs Saul’s first visa run over the Hatta border, where we pulled over to take some photos.

cats-and-shax 041.JPG

Sheikh Zayed was still alive. The papers would have photos of him resplendent in his Aviator Ray Bans, visiting projects and boosting ties.

abu-dhabi 046.JPG

These sideburns weren’t fashionable then and they still aren’t today.


‘Are you working hard in Dubai compared to back in the UK? I suppose there’s not a lot to do, either?’

‘Work’s fine less than expected and there’s tonnes to do. We just spent a night at a five star hotel for 40 quid, including a five course dinner and pool and beach access all afternoon and all morning’.

I wasn’t used to this sort of thing at all and used to feel a bit odd enjoying some of the nice stuff, to be honest. Practice helped, however.

cats-and-shax 095.jpg

Barasti when it was fun. Now generally known as Bar-Nasty and a bit too full of the kinds of aggressive Brits most of us thought we’d left behind in the UK. In the good old days it was a great place to go, with good service and without today’s exorbitant prices.

cats-and-shax 132.jpg

One Response to “Eleven years in Dubai being”

  1. Nicki Says:

    Yay, You’re back too! We were the originals!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: