How to Make the Most of Summer in the UAE

It's getting quiet out there but an empty city doesn't mean the season is a write-off
ByJennifer GibsonTuesday , 15 July 2014
How to Make the Most of Summer in the UAE
© Diane Diederich

We all know the type – expats who run a mile the minute the mercury creeps above 45, the Dubai dwellers for whom a summer in the sun is simply unthinkable. Every year, they clog our Facebook feeds with tales of woe about the price of airline tickets home and then, come July, they’re off, and our feeds become full of holiday boasts and pictures of leafy green streets instead.

It can be an exasperating time for those of us left here, and the temptation to simply return from work each evening and hibernate in the comfort of our air conditioned living room can be overwhelming. But with a little thought and effort, it could actually turn out to be a pretty excellent season for you too. Here’s our guide to getting to grips with summer, UAE style.

See that? That’s tumbleweed right there, blowing down the Sheikh Zayed Road. OK, so that is perhaps a little unlikely, and you might be better placed watching out for lack of traffic. You see, one key thing the migratory expats will never know is that commuting in summer is a joy. No more school run rush, no more 45 minute tailbacks while everyone rubbernecks at a car with a flat tyre, and certainly no need to allow an hour for a 10km trip across town.

Sure, mornings and evenings are still the busiest times of the day, but traffic remains at a minimum, making summertime a driver’s best friend (provided you have aircon, of course).

There are few joys greater than whacking up the cold air and setting off across the Emirates, knowing you can explore your surroundings without risk of your day being ruined by a massive snarl-up. Never been to Al Ain? What better time. Always fancied a scenic drive to Oman? Do it. 

The most important part of this rule though – wear your seatbelt. A road is a road, no matter how quiet. Buckle up people.

It can be very easy to get caught up in the social whirl of life in the Emirates, hopping from party to party, lunching, eating out umpteen times a week and generally living it up (they don’t call it the Dubai stone for nothing). But it can also be exhausting.

As such, the enforced slow-down of summer, should you choose to embrace it, can provide a welcome opportunity to take your foot off the gas, unwind and take stock. Sure, work continues, as does real life. But in many professions, pressure cools slightly in the summer, with less people around to place demands on your time. Add to that the fact that there are fewer venues open, and the party calendar has effectively been crossed out for a couple of months, and there’s no better time to ease up on yourself. 

While nobody is suggesting you spend two months vegetating on the couch (remember, bikini season comes next) there is no time of year when an occasional lazy day is more acceptable. Don’t feel like going out next Saturday? Don’t bother. Order in. If you choose pizza, you won’t even have to do the washing up. Did you know there’s a new season of Scandal out?

When all that relaxing gets to be a little too much for you, could we suggest you find yourself a new passion – or reignite an old one? After all, with demand at an all-time low during summer, there’s never been a better time to try something new.

Always fancied learning to ski, but scared you’ll make a fool of yourself? Book a lesson now while the slopes are quiet, safe in the knowledge that there are fewer people to take out if you do take a tumble. 

Love Bikram but hate finding yourself wedged in too tightly with the other sweaty yogis? Thi si si the perfect time to get back into it now, while there’s space for all in the studio. Ditto that barre class that always requires booking a week in advance, or the pilates studio where there’s a bun fight for a reformer. Less people equals more opportunity. Embrace it.

A word of warning though. If you’re going to take up running, for goodness sake do it indoors. You want your friends to return to a healthy, fabulous, and relaxed you, not a you that looks like an exhausted raisin. Save the outdoor exercise until October, please. 

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