Then there was the sound of the cicadas, their song deafening at times. In Dubai, you have the chirps of an expensive sports car, the splutter of an old truck or the roar of a jet, but no sounds from nature.
The other thing that has amazed me in the changeability of the weather. You can wake up to a glorious sunny day and just an hour or two later the sun in behind clouds and rain falls. Then there's the cool of the morning, the heat of midday and the another cool change in the evening. In Dubai, the weather you wake up to is the weather you'll go to sleep to, it may vary a couple of degrees during the day but not much. Then there is the endless blue skies just itching for a cloud to cross it. On Christmas Day, it was a stunning sunny day, it was spent splashing in the pool before and after lunch. Then once everyone had gone home, the skies opened up and a storm bucketed down. The kids were amazed and ran out fully clothed and danced. Within a minute they were soaked to the bone and in heaven.
On New Year's Day, Skip and I stepped out to the car at about 6pm and this whole familiar sensation came over me. A hot road, a cool breeze, the smell of light rain on scorching concrete. It was summer in Sydney wrapped up in a little package. So different from Dubai, yet so familiar to me. A feeling, a sensation I didn't really know existed, let alone realise that I missed.
It's funny how these small elements of your environment can be etched into your soul, make you who you are without knowing. The smells, the breeze, the sounds can instantly tell me which time of the year it is in Sydney and in Dubai I often find myself confused - 'Is it March or is it November?' truly, I often feel discombobulated.
I guess it's like those times I've had Christmas in the northern hemisphere and it's been kind of disappointing as it hasn't felt like Christmas and it passes by like any other winter's day. There's no warm breeze or scent of gardenia in the air.