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I arrived in Dubai in March 1971 at the old Airport intending to stay for a year. I stayed for 32 years! Our first home was in Al Fahidi Street but then moved to Jumeirah Beach Road where we lived for the next 12 years. I worked at Port Rashid, my children went to the English Speaking School and we all belonged to the Dubai Country Club where I played both Golf and Squash. In those days Wadi Bashing was a favourite Friday activity - it was a six day working week back then. There was not a great selection of food to buy and things like eggs were hard to come by. Dubai started to change over time. The old Dubai Wharves where I started work disappeared - new roads like Sheikh Zayed Road - were built together with new facilities such as Emirates Golf Club and Burj Al Arab. Workwise Port Rashid became an International Container Terminal while Jebel Ali Port - built at Sheikh Rashid's insistence - began to compete with Port Rashid. New Cinemas appeared replacing Dubai's old Cinemas that had given so many people pleasure in the past. Even Dubai Creek - with its traditional trading traffic - changed with a Shindaga Tunnel and Al Maktoum Bridge. Places that had become derelict such as Sheikh Saeed's Palace and what was left of Bastakia were restored but many of Dubai's traditions disappeared - Camel Racing in the desert for example. By the 1990s Dubai started to spread outside its traditional boundaries with places like the 100 Villas on Chicago Beach being replaced by 5 Star Hotels. Then around 2001 Dubai expanded offshore into Palm Island. By the time I left Dubai in 2003 the City had transitioned from dependence on old style Diesel Engined Power Station and Basic Fresh Water Distribution to modern gas turbine power stations designed also to produce desalinated water. I went back to Dubai for a visit in 2005 and passed through Dubai Airport in 2009 but have not visited Dubai since then. I doubt I would recognise Dubai now!
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