Since November 18th 2016 we've welcomed a friend, my mother, 2 kids and our niece into our home for a holiday. For my mother and our niece it's been their first and probably only visit to Dubai. For the kids it will be their last trip for a year or so.
It's been busy, expensive and very tiring. Up until December 16th I was working full time and despite it being winter in Dubai, at 28c most days it was too hot for my mother to go out in the day, so we did things on the weekends and evenings instead.
With all the places visited and time spent cooking meals, extra washing and tidying as well as just time spent sitting and chatting, the housework got neglected.
I wrote something similar in 2015 after yet another spate of visitors. Despite knowing Dubai well now, I still don't know what everyone wants to do and it's hard work organising everything.
My wallet also suffered quite badly and while I don't begrudge a single dirham we spent, it has been a very expensive 2 months. I've given up work now, I don't think I would've managed that as well after Christmas. Although everyone paid their own way, they were heavily subsidised and of course there were my costs. Purchasing the Entertainer App at AED 445 (£99) saved a lot of money with 2 for 1 deals, but paid for itself with one visit to Wild Wadi water park and I made sure we ate and visited where possible, the places available on the app.
I have of course visited many places on my own as a tourist when I first visited here and with Peter on weekends and many more places have opened and changed over the past 3 years. I had thought we'd use more public transport, something I do when I'm on my own, but we really didn't have the time with everything we wanted to fit in. Fuel costs are low and parking almost everywhere is free.
While everyone chipped in and bought ice creams and coffees, laid the table, tidied up, collected their washing and did the ironing (thanks Dan) I am glad they've all gone home now and I have some time on my own, time to tidy and clean the house, catch up with neglected paperwork, get on with various projects, blog and just work to my own schedule, I know that in a few weeks I'll be bored, lonely and looking for something to do.
What I need now is a holiday, to a place where things are new to me, a place I can explore, relax in and chill out away from home. While all our visitors are on holiday, I live in Dubai, it's home, it's not a holiday destination for me.
We're off to Luxor at the end of the month for a few days, which although is a place we visited around 10 years ago, it's somewhere we've always wanted to go back to. We have a few other trips lined up to the UK and will be visiting Leeds and Northern Ireland where 2 of our kids live and hopefully a visit to Dublin and Munich to see friends who used to live in South Africa. It will be nice to explore some new places. But when we're back at home in the South West we just spend our time visiting people and not being tourists. It would be lovely if on this trip we visited places with family and friends rather than sitting in their house or having coffee in town.
We've decided that future visitors will be given a Nol travel card, a map, sim card and instructions on how everything works, they will book their own flights, change their own money and will be given a quick tour so they can get their bearings. We will of course join in with a few things, dinners etc, but we just can't keep up this level of entertainment and cost.
So if you're coming out to see us any time soon, you have been warned and if we're coming over to see you, be prepared to provide us with a list of things to do where you live, that you think we'll like to visit. We'll sort our own flights, money, sim cards, car hire etc.
I know it sounds harsh, but we really have enjoyed all our visitors over the previous 6 years, both here in Dubai and in South Africa, but we're done now with being tour guides.
This is where Peter and I have been over the past 2 months and we've done these places most times we've had visitors, regardless of their length of stay, family or friends, with and without kids.
Desert Safari x 1
Miracle Gardens x 1
Wild Wadi x 1
Dubai Garden Glow x 1
Rain Forest x 1
Afternoon tea x 2
Led display x 2
Global Village x 2
Burj Khalifa x 2
Aquariums x 2
City Walk x 2
Walk along the canal x 3
Ferry and Souks x 3
Souk Madinat x 3
Fountains x 5
Mercato Mall x 5
Too many visits to count
Mall of the Emirates
Trips to the desert
Visits to the beach
Other Malls visited
Outlet Village, Mirdiff City Centre, Oasis Mall, Marina Mall
Airport runs - collections and drop off's x 8