Happy Expo 2020 day!
So this morning, as the whole of Dubai celebrated en masse at winning the right to host Expo 2020, two small children stood in my bedroom and cried. Real tears. At 6.30am.
(I hope I don’t need to add that they were my children.)
“Why is school cancelled? I want to go to school!” wailed DD, thinking entirely of the UAE-flag-coloured sk8er-grl dress I’d bought her to wear for the school’s National Day celebrations today.
“I wanna go to school. I love school!” wailed the very same DS who wakes every morning to whine, “I hate school, I don’t wanna go to school. I’m sick. My tummy hurts.”
“It’s not my fault school’s cancelled,” I said uncharitably, wondering if it was too late to get back into my dream. I’d been at an airport, about to get on a flight. To where, I’d not found out.
But, like many Dubai residents, my children don’t know what Expo 2020 is. So, instead of going back to bed, they asked me. At 6.35am. My delicious dream turned out to be a big, fat flight to Nowhere City.
“It’s, umm, a big exhibition,” I said brightly. “All the countries of the world will have a stand, and it’ll be really exciting and fun. We’ll go, I should think.”
I didn’t go into the carbon neutral business. It was early. The children looked as dubious as early-morning children can look in cute pyjamas.
“You’ll be 15,” I told DD. “Your friends at boarding school will all want to come to Dubai for the holidays. You’ll call me up and ask if Hen, Bells, Laney and Fliss can come for half term and I’ll be like ‘Darling, we don’t have enough bedrooms, you’ll have to pick two friends max’ and you’ll be like, ‘but they all want to come. Dubai is so cool!’ You’ll be really popular!”
It didn’t convince her, but she wiped her tears and, at least, went down to breakfast. Happy Expo. Seven more years to go.