Middle East Book Tour Part 2
March 2 - Friday
Friday marks the start of the weekend in the UAE. We met up with friends downtown, hit Dubai Mall, dialled down and relaxed. Over the past few days we had loads of interesting conversations with diverse people about life, politics, and things that matter.
Being part Indian, Middle Eastern, East African Asian and English and with Phoebe and her Prussian, Swiss/German/French, English, Scottish mix, this week alone we chatted to Indians, an Egyptian/Greek man, a Moroccan in an Aleppo restaurant, a Kenyan, a Malaysian, a man with Burmese and Irish blood, an Italian married to a Brazilian, and even Trinidadian Dame Floella Benjamin! I love people and listening to their stories and views – they are so fascinating.
March 3 - Saturday
Stayed with good friends in Silicon Oasis, Dubai. Close to our author visit the following day at world-leading Repton School Dubai. Our friends have a dog called Skyler and their son made a really impressive volcano for his homework. The dad runsthe engineering project to build the impressive Dubai Eye at the Marina. Felt happy and raring to go for tomorrow.
March 4 - Sunday
Very successful author visit at Repton Dubai, arranged with the Dubai LitFest (Emirates Airline Festival of Literature). I presented to and worked with literally hundreds of students from across the year groups. Great honour to be back there after 2 years and meet the Principal of the school. I did a number of dramatic readings from the 5fingers series, an audiovisual presentation and creative writing workshops. Also grateful to have a microphone everywhere we’ve been on this trip. Voice still intact. Last Middle East book tour I couldn’t speak for a few days in the middle!
March 5 – 7 Monday - Wednesday
Three few days off – ate, slept, went to the beach. Staying at Dubai Marina in a lovely apartment in Skyview Tower, over 30 floors up, with an outdoor pool and hot tub. The beach is just ten minutes walk away. Very hot here. This is the life! Incredible views over the city. Discovered Sarouja, a Syrian (Aleppo) restaurant with the best hummus, olives, flat breads and kebabs. Thoroughly recommend it.
March 8 - Thursday
Would also highly recommend Giovanni at Barbers Chaps & Co in Dubai Marina, who gave me a sharp new look - a “fade cut” with beard trim. Looking and feeling like an Emirati now! Ready for my return to the UK tomorrow, to brave the snow. Final appointments at Repton and The Dubai LitFest, then “home“ to pack and fly.
Saw an unforgettable sunset in Dubai. In the background, that jagged spear that is the Burj Khalifa. Flying late at night from DXB. Landing early Friday morning at LHR. The end of a highly memorable trip. Thankful for so many things: people, experiences, health, safe travel and new 5fingers readers.
Read Middle East Book Tour Part 1 here.
Joshua Raven, novelist. Read about my writing and my life here. And have you discovered 5fingers yet?