This morning, around five am (gotta love those random flights!) Brandon and I got home from Dubai. Back in the spring we watched some friends' children and this past week Brandon and I took our turn to have a child-free vacation.
My parents did this every year when I was a child - usually their destination was the Carribbean - and my mother always said that mom and day getaways are one of the necessities of a happy marriage. I'm inclined to agree with her.
Brandon and I have left the children for several days four or five times before, but the last time was when I was pregnant with Eleanor (actually, every time it was when I was pregnant) and two and a half years is really long enough. I've never had any burning desire to visit Dubai - shopping and indoor skiing aren't my thing - but Dubai is one of the few places you can get a direct flight to from Dushanbe. We could have gone to Frankfurt or Moscow or St. Petersburg also, but a beach vacation in Dubai was much more appealing than snow in Moscow. I'm okay with being uncultured if there's a beach involved.
We left early Wednesday morning and were in Dubai by breakfast time. As we got into our taxi and drove through the city, Brandon and I marveled at the stark contrast between bustling, towering, glittering Dubai and our own sleepy Dushanbe. The roads had stripes and drivers kept to them. The taxis had meters and they actually worked. The weather was perfectly clear and sunny and palm trees were everywhere. I'm perfectly happy to live in Dushanbe, but it was nice to go somewhere not still in a post-Soviet slump.
After much internal debate (it's just money! But it's so much money!) I booked us at a five-star beach front resort. We didn't go to Dubai to see the city or do exciting things, we just came to enjoy the beach and I decided that I wanted to enjoy a nice beach. And a nice beach it was. The grounds were perfectly manicured, filled with fellow holiday-makers strolling the grounds, sunning themselves, and eating very expensive food brought straight to their poolside lounge chairs. Unfortunately I've gotten to appreciate the luxury of really nice hotels and love the feeling of crisp sheets, down pillows, and nice-smelling toiletries.
Brandon and I are, fortuitously, both very happy to do nothing on vacation but read books, swim a little, sleep in late, and eat good food, so that's what we did. I had booked a hotel in an area with lots of shops and restaurants, thinking it would be nice to get out at night and stroll, but really we could have been in the middle of nowhere and it wouldn't have mattered as we barely left the property our entire stay. I finished two and a half books, and and Brandon finished two. There's nothing like the luxury of reading without any interruptions except for having to move your lounge chair when the shade has moved. And then when you finish the day off with a delicious meal (the kind that can't be found anywhere in Dushanbe), it's almost sinful.
Every day, after a long strenuous day of moving those lounge chairs and walking all the way to the perfectly warm ocean, Brandon and I would look at each other and start to giggle, realizing that we would get to do it again the next day. I realized that what I really want on a vacation is to have somebody else do my work for me - someone else cooks the food and cleans my room and changes my towels and makes the menu - and it just takes a little (or a lot of) money to get that done.
Now, of course, it's back to reality with school and hosting parties and work and upcoming Thanksgiving, but our Dubai vacation was great while it lasted. I've already looked up flights from Tashkent.