I have now been in Dubai for almost a year and am starting to miss various things that it never occurred to me I could miss... the 16th and 17th centuries for example. By this I mean the ability to walk into a public institution and spend time in the company of some old masters of the Italian renaissance perhaps or some ancient artefacts looted from elsewhere at some point in perfidious British history. However, this is probably a result of relentless exposure to 'contemporary' art over the past month or so.
Another problem I have is the constant feeling that I'm living in some kind of a time warp. With the exception of a few key local programmes radio stations sound like British provincial radio in the 1970s. I have actually given up turning on the radio when I'm cooking dinner in the evening because its either endless sports talk or people who seem to know very little about music history talking bullshit about dreadful playlists! The TV is even worse. Maybe its bad timing but City 7 only seems to show re-runs of Minder.
All of this is turning me a bit radical and is doing very strange things to my sense of humour. The comedy channel for me is Saudi Channel 2. There's usually a laugh within five minutes. This may sound like some kind of orientalist-laughing-at-the-arabs type bullshit but it is truly fascinating and the 10 o' clock news is most informative unlike any local news services. I can no longer get through 8.30 - 9.00 on Dubai One without wanting to blow my own head off.
I am also getting concerned that my personality is disintegrating. I am getting more and more of those days where I am actually losing track of my own identity. I guess this happens without access to people who've known you for years and years and can remind you of who you are. The other identity indicators are the books, pictures and just general 'stuff' that I've accumulated over the years, all of which remains in the UK. I did not realise how much identity was maintained simply by being able to idly glance over my bookshelves once a day or just stare at a favourite painting. Thank god I'd put most of my music collection on an MP3 player! That precious little device is currently constituting about 75% of my sanity.
Do you think I need a holiday????????