In what will prove to indicate the surreal la-de-da quality of my “housewife without work” life, this morning I attended a “House of Colour” morning in the Arabian Ranches.

Now, you may be surprised that I am not going to discuss the morning – which incidentally was not a religious meditative retreat, nor was it an interior decorating seminar, but a gathering of middle aged  women who “had their colours done” by the omnipotent Janet Small, our lady of the tangerine and fucialicious. No, I am going to spend the next few paragraphs philosophizing on the decision made by the people who have moved into the Ranches, because it is quite frankly beyond my comprehension, and I really need to convince myself that all the people who live out there are not aliens (the interplanetary ones) because I have some friends that live there, and I really hope they are not going to brainfrack me when I least expect it.

The Arabian ranches is a man-made “oasis” about 15km from anything interesting, and was started by Emaar a few years ago (building continues). They describe it as an area “steeped in the mystery and beauty of the desert”, situated “within the heart of the desert”. In reality it is a housing development that has wandered off the set of the Truman Show, with all the exotic mystery of a Stepford Wife who has forgotten to pop her happy pill. And if you call the intersection of the E311 and Umm Suqeim rd the “heart of the desert”, then good for you, but I think maybe “spleen” or “appendix” is a more appropriate term.

Dubai is known for it’s shopping, it’s beach, and it’s stupendous architecture. The Ranches has several play areas, some communal outdoor pools, a polo club, and a golf club. Oh, and they have a Spinneys Supermarket. Just what I need. A polo club… If only I had somewhere to put my horse…

All the houses look like this ->

but sometimes they are painted different shades of beige… The worst thing is that because they are all the same, it is impossible to retain a sense of direction, especially because none of the roads are straight. So you get stuck in this whirly-girdy hell of beige walls, manicured lawns and grecian columns, just like our realtor did when trying to get us to sign onto a 400,000AED ($120,000) per annum rental when we first arrived in Dubai. Not much of an inspiring introduction…

From what I can gather, 80% of the women have ash-blond hair cut in the shape of 1980s bike helmets, and there is a much higher Hummer – to – Toyota Yaris ratio than anywhere else in the world. There are three exits I think, so you might be able to imagine what it’s like in peak hour (not, of course, that stack-hat-hair and Hummers would have any impact on that…) But I guess peak hour need not be a problem, because there is everything you need there (except a LIFE!), and I have known of someone who knew of someone who did not leave the boundaries for four months.

But that’s the bad points. What about the good ones?

insert sound of cricket chirruping…

Maybe someone needs to explain this to me, because the area is choc-A-block. And it’s not like it’s cheap. I live in a 5-bedroom, 5 year old villa with a (shared) stunning pool and gym, and it is cheaper than most of the places in the ranches. I live 5 minutes walk from this beach ->

And I love to go out at night here (Madinat Jumeirah), which is a 15 AED ($4) taxi ride ->

I am in a fantastic position that is close to schools, husband’s office (except the Abu Dhabi one – the Arabian Ranges IS closer – but that is in another state), and great shopping centres. I can see the Burj Khalifa out my front window, and the Burj al Arab out my back gate. I am a stones throw from the deeper culture of Satwa and the Creek (where the souqs and crazy gift shops are). Houses in our street have pet goats, chooks, peacocks and unfortunately one god-forsaken rooster.

How could you move to an amazing place like Dubai, and live in an area like the Arabian Ranches that isolates you from all the colour, and even physically isolates you?

I would at this juncture like to point out that I am a “Jumeirah Jane”, despite the fact that I live in Umm Suqeim (next-door). I used to have blond hair, but I died it a common shade of red. I drive a Volvo SUV. I play bridge. I spend at least 5 hours a week having coffee with other mums. I actually paid someone to tell me what colours I should wear.

But back to the Ranches – Did I mention how hard it is to get a cab?

3 thoughts on “The spleen of the desert.”

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