Sunday, March 1, 2009

My castle in the sand

If you’re anything like me you need to be surrounded by beautiful things in order to survive. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that my hometown of Cape Town is one of the most visually stunning cities in the world.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist then to figure out that Dubai did not sit well with me when I moved here one and a half years ago. I was but too happy to get out on my many work trips. Recently I changed jobs though and had the chance to move into my own place. The best part was that I got to decorate it from scratch and create my own beautiful space in this aesthetically disappointing city.

Of course it is not easy to maintain what is beautiful about Dubai because there is just so much sand everywhere. What is being done is admirable though: plants are rinsed regularly (yes, really) and dirty cars are not tolerated. No matter how much it takes to remain dust free, cleanliness is kept in its rightful place next to godliness.

Unfortunately, when sand gets blown around a bit it blots out all these efforts in a similar way that smog makes it hard to get a sharp photograph in Beijing. Yesterday’s sand storm (see picture) made me feel really smug inside my new home, in the same way that Londoners were recently taking pleasure in central heating and cosy couches during the snowfall.

It was fun giving the interior designer in me her five minutes of fame. Especially since I found some real bargains at this year’s Dubai Shopping Festival, Ikea and the furniture shops in Sharjah, an Emirate adjacent to Dubai. Once the big things were sorted out, my Mohammed put up the lamps I bought in Vietnam, the painting from Guangzhou and a shelf on which to display my souvenirs from Moscow, Kyoto and Colombo.

To be completely honest, the dust still suffocates me when I walk out the door. Yet coming home to a place that inspires and invigorates me makes up for the sand pit outside. Similarly I will never stop missing my view of Table Mountain but being able to afford a fancy TV is also an experience that I am relishing right now.


Nige said...

Yes a sandstorm spoils the view, but it really really destroys your hair!

Anonymous said...

Look at you- decorating a home... now all you need is a pet!!!!

Mona Lize said...

Nige - the humidity and the dust together, now that's hair mare!

Mich - does dust mites count? I could never expose a pet to such extreme temperatures. Hopefully my next home will be in a milder setting. Can't see myself settling here in the desert.