We've been here almost 6 days now. Skip left for his first day of work today after the Eid public holidays. So in essence the holiday is over and real life, our new life, in Dubai starts now.
This is when we realise it isn't a holiday and this hot, crazy place is our new home.
Dubai is in an odd place for the fact that most of the people who live have come from somewhere else. Just 17% of the population are Emirati nationals, that means a lot of people from other places. All of them here to better their lives. To work. To improve life for themselves and for their families.
That's why we're here, after all. To work, to travel, to experience. We're the lucky ones.
Many of the people here are here just to work. You see the Indian and Pakistani labourers running for the buses in the mornings. To work 12 hours in 40-something degree heat. You see them in buses, windows open, sweat glistening, staring into space.
Everywhere you go there are people working. Picking up leaves. Wiping tables. Opening doors. Just standing watching (life guards, security guards).
My first impression of Dubai are of these people. Here to work. I keep looking at them and wonder what their stories are. How they got here. Why they stay. What have they left behind?
So far, most people will open up without any prodding at all. The Pakistani security guard who tells me about his "weeping cousins, always weeping in Pakistan. You have good quality children madame, they are happy."
Or the Filipino waitress who spent ages goo and gaa-ing with Darbs. "My heart leaps when I see babies. I sent my own baby home to my family six months ago. She lived with my in Dubai for 18 months, but I had to go back to work so she went home. I haven't seen her since." That's when my heart broke into pieces.
So now I can't stop looking around and wondering about all the stories that are here. There must so, so many.