Posts Tagged ‘Arabian Ranches’
We often get messages from the property developer that originally built and now maintains our community.
Ramadan Mubarak. Eid Mubarak. Merry Christmas. Happy New Year. Happy Diwali. It’s sweet how inclusive it tries to be.
But today, for the first time in 10 years, I saw a post-summer message. And it made me smile. It’s good to be back.
There’s a compound in Dubai called Arabian Ranches. I call it a ‘compound’ as if it’s a dozen houses around a communal garden and pool, but what I really mean is several thousand houses divided into individually themed “villages” of a couple of hundred houses each, each with their own subsections of gardens and pools.
No-one knows how many houses it contains exactly. Some say 6,000. But what you need to know is that it’s big.
And, since Dubai “took off” again, Arabian Ranches has been doubling its cells like an amoeba on a reproductive frenzy. Every week, we see new “exclusive” sectors launched as the community’s boundary creeps steadily across the desert towards the Omani border.
At the weekend, the children and I drove down the side road, from which you can see the land pegged off for all the new sectors.
“Look how big the Ranches is going to be!” I said, as we drove on and on past great swathes desert about to be reclaimed by new developments called Lila, Rasha and Casa.
“Wow,” said DD. “It’s massive. It’s as big as Dubai itself. They can’t call it all Arabian Ranches! They should come up with a new name for the new bits.”
“Yeah! Yeah!” piped up DS. “They could call it something really cool, like… umm… Angry Birds Ranches!”
The children fell about laughing but, the more I thought about it; the more I thought about the frustrations residents will face as the community, with its paltry two exits and – to date – one small shopping centre, absorbs another x-thousand residents, I began to think DS had hit on quite the perfect name: Angry Birds Ranches. I think it could catch on.
It’s a question that pops up a lot here thanks to Dubai’s decency laws, which require women to cover themselves respectably when in public places. Malls all display requests on the door for shoppers to dress “respectfully”; the children’s school even sends home regular missives asking parents not to present at school drop-off in such horrors as a Primark frock.
(I’m kidding – it actually forbids us from showing shoulders or knees and specifically mentions that ladies must not wear “shorts above the knee” – though surely then they cease to be shorts and become, I don’t know, culottes?).
Anyway, in addition to the decency laws, Dubai is, frankly, quite dressy. Many don’t want it to be so, and actively cultivate a stylish down-dressed, can’t-be-arsed look, but the fact remains that your average shopper in Mirdif City Centre presents better than your average shopper in Lakeside Thurrock. Fact.
But, around the house, chez Mrs Dubai, anything goes – usually khaki shorts (not of a Miley-Cyrus twerking kind of style), a white t-shirt and flipetty-flops. V comfy, v easy and perfect for cooking the kids’ tea.
And now I will get to my point. Yesterday, I realised that DD needed new passport pictures. To us Dubai-ites, passport pictures are like oxygen: if you fall below a critical number (at least four), you start to hyperventilate and come out in hives, so we popped out post-cooking and pre-eating supper to get some new ones done. I was, needless to say, not in the sassy pencil -skirt-and-heels ensemble I’d worn to school (covering the knee and shoulder, of course), but in the around-the-house khaki-shorts-and-white-t-shirt combo.
Seriously? It didn’t look that bad. In a sort of easy-going GAP way.
But, as we stepped into the garage, DD looked me up and down and said, “Are you allowed to wear that out? To the supermarket?”
And I imagined at once the community style police falling on me at the supermarket door: “Mrs D, Lady of the Ranches, one cannot go out looking like that. One is letting down the team; property prices are plummeting as we speak. Be thee home and put on a Marc Jacobs silk frock at once. Step up, Mrs D, keep our property values high.”
And you know what, lovely readers? That didn’t happen, but had it done, I wouldn’t have been the least bit surprised.