x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Why I'd do anything for my grandma

When I found out that my grandma was coming to Dubai, eager to see as many sights as possible, I reconsidered my relationship with the Big Bus.

Last weekend, I found myself doing something that I'd previously sworn, really quite vehemently, that I'd never do. In fact, in the past I'd not just declined to partake in the experience myself, but also actively warned others against doing so. Even when I was new to the region and some kind soul had suggested that a day spent touring Dubai on a Big Bus might be a good way for me to get my bearings, I'd declined their kind offer of a reduced-price ticket on the grounds that it was simply not for me.

Why I was so against hopping on board one of the many brown open-top buses that navigate the city's most popular tourist spots I'm not quite sure, but I think it was the thought of grinding to a halt on Sheikh Zayed Road, getting stuck in rush-hour traffic and being left to bake on the roof that really put me off. Of course, as time went by and I became as familiar as I ever really need to be with the sight of Atlantis, the inside of Dubai Mall and the spice souq, the likelihood of this happening became less and less.

However, when I found out that my grandma had booked a ticket to fly out to Dubai – with my mother acting as her chaperone - and that she was eager as anything to see as many of the sights as possible, without having to walk too far, I quickly realised it was time to reconsider my relationship with the Big Bus.

After all, if there's anyone worth making a sacrifice for - and I realise in the scheme of things, this is a very small one – it is my grandma. This is a woman who (among many other notable acts), when I was very young once built an almost life-size cottage out of cardboard for my sister and me to play in and took us swimming in the North Sea in early spring, when everyone else refused on the grounds that it was far too cold. Years later, when I was a teenager with typically bad skin, she introduced me to, and then kept me readily supplied with, the miracle worker that is Touche éclat and when I was at university, she regularly sent me sponge cakes in the post.

So, really, last Saturday, the very least I could do was to climb on to the Big Bus and endeavour to point out every single landmark I possibly could.