x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

A walk on the wild side in Dubai

Walking to work seems like a sensible option before the weather gets too hot but it does call for sensible shoes, especially if you get adventurous in your choice of route.

Taking full advantage of the weather before the summer heat takes its vice-like hold, I have for the past month been leaving my car at home and walking to work.

Kitten heels purring away in my handbag, my toe-freeing flip-flops and I have been making the 20-minute hop from Dubai Marina to Media City with relative ease. Wide pavements, zebra crossings aplenty, not to mention an escort of serenading birds, have all played their parts in making my daily traverse a joy.

However, to avoid what threatened to become a slightly monotonous straight-line commute, I decided to mix things up a bit. My spirit of adventure led me into unchartered territory devoid of tarmac.

Straying off the beaten track I found myself padding along sandy slip roads and forgotten footpaths between new tower blocks under construction. I walked a narrower and narrower line until there was simply no road left at all.

Taxis stopped, children pointed, people stared and yet I continued my journey undeterred, convinced that Wednesday's walkways would be waiting for me just around the next corner.

And, thankfully, waiting for me they were, but before I got the chance to dance upon them, Mother Nature sent me another reason to avoid the road less travelled: a rat darted across my path, the shock of which left both of us traumatised and one of us looking for the nearest building to scale or chair to jump upon.

After I had sprinted inelegantly into the lush gardens of Media City my heart rate began to steady: I was back on terra firma and just six-superbly pavemented minutes from the office. Even the mouthful of mozzies I unwittingly gulped while crossing a bridge did nothing to dampen my mood.

As I entered the home straight, I took a closer look at the other walkers ahead of me. Clearly far more committed to the cause than I, men and women wore suits with trainers and not one of them sported my ill-fated footwear. My flip-flops were flagging and crafted neither for clambering over concrete clumps nor for sprinting.

Finally, the giant sliding doors of my office tower whooshed open to welcome me. My shoes were clearly not made for walking, but as I stared at a wind-swept, slightly sunburnt me in the lift mirror, I wondered: was I?

The conclusion I came to was "yes". Admittedly my Herculean voyage to work had been anything but a walk in the park that day, but I am more determined than ever to pound the pavement until the temperature gauge tells me to do otherwise.