So here we are a few weeks (months?) into the current global Lockdown. Here’s how life on lockdown in Dubai – for me anywho – is working out.
I must admit I thought these days may come, but perhaps in May or June, I certainly wasn’t expecting the world to grind to a halt as quickly as it has.
Thankfully – just before the closure of ten of our venues (eight in Dubai , two in Kazan ) – I managed to get around 10 of my nearest and dearest Dubai Crew out for the final STK Downtown Brunch to celebrate my birthday. Despite – by STK Brunch standards – being a little lame and lacking in the usual full-throttle entertainment (as then stipulated by the authorities); it was very special to get such a lovely crowd under one roof for the evening .
These days, the whole company (5-600 staff I’d guess) are on unpaid leave indefinitely. Dubai has closed all bars , restaurants (except for takeaways), public swimming pools , gyms , cinemas , beaches ; the lot. We’re also now on a 24-hour lockdown (except for essential food/pharmacy trips etc) for the next two weeks – this is one step up from our previous nighttime curfew from 8pm to 6am.
It’s good that the authorities here are taking it so seriously and hopefully this will lead to a quicker return to normality. The UAE – according to worldometers.info – is currently sitting at #3 in the world for the number of tests per million of the population (behind the Faroe Islands with an approx. population of 50k, and Iceland with an approx. population of 360k).
Despite a common misbelief, there are legally kosher ways of getting booze delivered to your door. If you are in the now prized-possession of an alcohol license the equivalent of a super flashy off-license will drop off a stash to last you through these troubling times. Unfortunately, I’m not quite that legit as of yet. Daydream as I might, but a lock-in at Lock Stock (our flagship bar) during lockdown is, unfortunately, not a remote possibility.
Instead, I’m growing a very unkempt beard , sleeping like an unemployed teenager , boosting my FIFA/GTA skills on the daily , and – undoubtedly more productively – catching up on some reading , writing , and updating my under-nourished blog . Oh, and dithering about starting my first book .
My – fairly awesome – housemates are all living healthily and training daily, and I really should join them in their exercise regimes. Sometimes, it’s exhausting just to watch them to be honest. Before the lockdown, I’d managed to go the gym four times in a week (probably a new personal best) and now I’m less active than usual with a growing belly almost as uncouth as my patchy beard.
Last week, myself and the (currently defunct) Sales Team returned our cars – including my new wheels that I’d waited two years to get my hands on (sniff sniff)…
Nobody can be sure when life will return to some kind of normal, and I’m convinced there’s a large percentage of expats currently stuck here and dithering about if they should have already left to their home countries to hunker this whole thing out with the fam.
There are certainly worse places to be stuck I’m sure, the weather here is floating around the 34C mark, and my housemates are cool as hell and it’s nice to have some social interaction – albeit limited – whereas many people I know are stuck on their lonesome which must be a lot more challenging.
As I sit here late at night on my porch in the JVC hood of Dubai, opposite a mosque that’s unable to operate, there’s barely a sound in the night sky. Life – suddenly and dramatically – seems a lot more simple for almost all of us.
Stay safe people.