Thursday, June 19, 2008

If You're Going To Dubai For A Year (At Least)

… what would you pack?

This is the ultimate test in economy and minimalism. How to pack the least to last for 1 year (at least) in Dubai? Things are expensive and I am poor, so I better bring just the essentials. Shipping thing over will be expensive. So is shipping stuff back.

But the girls have offered to send me instant noodles via post to help tide me over from time to time. Yay!

Must take iPod. Definitely. I am currently using a Nano. But maybe I should upgrade to an iPod Classic, with all 160 GB of memory?

Do I have enough songs for 160 GB? Oh yeah.

I hate to over-pack, but I will need to pack cooking and dining utensils. D'uh. Can I just buy it cheap over there?

Random bookish panic: What if I really need to re-read something – but I have a copy at home? It would be spendthrift to buy another copy at the inflated Dubai prices.

I will allow myself one carton of books. What books should I pack?

This feels like a Desert Island Reading List (albeit a huge, ostentious island):

  1. Definitely the final two volumes in the Proustian epic: The Prisoner & The Fugitive and Finding Time Again. I swear to finish In Search of Lost Time.
  2. Dostoevsky novel(s) – but which one(s)?
  3. Colette's Earthly Paradise
  4. Giuseppe di Lampedusa's The Leopard
  5. Jose Saramago's Death at Intervals
  6. ????

Hmm...I have 2 French, 1 Italian, 1 Portuguese and 1 Russian on the list. Who else should I bring with me?

If you were going away for a year to a place with no access to library and books are expensive, what books will you bring?

Endnote: Also reading: Dubai Explorer: The Complete Residents' Guide. *yawns*


theduckthief said...

Maybe you could think of it as an opportunity. What books have you always wanted to read but never had the time? You mentioned Proust, maybe take something similar.

darkorpheus said...

duck thief Ah, then Dostoevsky's The Idiot would fit the bill. I've started it twice - but life always interrupted.

Colette would also qualify. I keep telling myself: I would read Earthly Paradise after I'm done with Proust.

There's also Thoreau. Herodotus. Plutarch. Homer. Gibbon. War and Peace. Beowulf. The Aeneid. Plato's Phaedrus. Suetonius. Rabelais. The Salterton Trilogy.

I think I have a problem here. ;p

Ana S. said...

"I hate to over-pack, but I will need to pack cooking and dining utensils. D'uh. Can I just buy it cheap over there?"

That's what I did in England. Fortunately there were lots of £1 stores. No idea of how much they'd cost in Dubai, though...maybe you can find out? Those things are heavy and take lots of luggage space!

About the books: I wouldn't be able to decide either. I guess I'd take lots of chunkster to make them last as long as possible :P

Melwyk said...

Oh boy, now that's a book-packing conundrum. Proust, definitely. He can be reread and reread...

darkorpheus said...

Nymeth I thought about just buying pots and pans over there too. These days with the fuel prices I would like to save the baggage too.

Same issue on the chunksters - will be heavy, which also means less books. Or maybe I should bring books over that I am willing to leave behind.

Melanie yeah. I thought amybe I should bring the whole set of Proust, but that's 7 books?!

Dilemma. Dilemma.

dizzy_leaf said...

it's not a book. but remember to pack ur yoga mat. haha.

serene said...

I know this is going to sound so mundane in light of everyone else's more inspired suggestions, but since you probably won't know your way around initially to get basic essentials, you might want to bring with you bedsheets and a couple of rolls of toilet paper. You'll never know how furnished (or not) the apartment is waiting for you... Trust me, I say this from experience ;)

darkorpheus said...


Thanks :)

I'm wondering about how strict the customs is about yoga DVDs though. Shiva Rea has bare belly. *gasp*

Will need some DVD assistance from time to time if it's mainly home practice over there.

darkorpheus said...

Serene I'm definitely listening. It's often the little things that we miss out. tahnk you.

Please, any other advice? Things I might have missed? Please share.

Toilet papers are SGD8.00 per pack over there. Because erm, the local use the water-hose.

OMG. So expensive.

Now I am a little miffed I lost my Swiss Army knife last year. It had a can-opener, corkscrew, 2 blades, tweezer and stuff.

Anonymous said...

organic instant oatmeal/porridge sachets? Wetwipes?

& don't panic about books. It's only (!) a year & there's always the Project Gutenberg if you really desperate...

Doc Martian said...

lawrence durrell's alexandria quartet.
will and ariel durant's 11 vol. story of civilization
something non-challenging with a lot of depth, the book of the subgenius, the watchmen, the bible, the koran, one hundred years of solitude, hp lovecraft, shakespeare?, something you can pick up and read again and again, whitman? herodotus? hunter s. thompson? neuromancer? montaigne, the wake? tao te ching? something that makes for good bedside reading even though you've read it a bunch. maybe even something like pooh or carroll or narnia, something for when your mind is tired with a new world.


Rebecca H. said...

You know Ella from Box of Books, right? Meet up with her and exchange books! Okay, that sounds easy, when it's probably not ... anyway, I sympathize with your dilemma.

Doc Martian said...

also. advice on how to be hot. or... not so hot... or umm... how to live in a hot climate (for you over 95 F.) from someone who weathers 118 degree summers.

1. less is not more. when it gets over 100 and i have to be out in it for more than a stride across a parking lot (again, for you this'd be 90-95 for a while coming from a cooler climate) wear a dry undershirt to keep your chest from getting damp and an overshirt that is LONG-SLEEVE, and medium weight cotton, you don't want heavy cotton or really thin cotton, one is too heavy... the other dries too quick. soak the overshirt down in cold water, wet your hair, and it won't seem much over 90 degrees until it reaches like 110. THIS WORKS! so you drip a lil' you're cool and can put on a clean dry shirt (if you backpack like i think you do) when you get indoors. you'll be so much more comfortable. like i've spent 2-3 hours in 107 degree weather like that and been comfortable. hotter and even that won't help much. pants? here thin linens comes in handy, it doesn't feel too good to have wet bottoms, and a wet top really does the trick.

2. evaporative coolers. love them. they turn a 105 degree day into a jungly coolness. much over 105 and they're just tropical sweaty, but you can survive in one if you have to. turn on the a/c over 105. you can buy an evap cooler for about 150 bucks or so that is portable and will cool a large room if you park it in the doorway. also a big window unit can cool most of a 2 bedroom house for about $400 for the cooler. its less expensive than air conditioning too. a large window unit costs about $85 bucks a month in energy if you run it full time versus $200 a/c bills. when it gets real humid (above 50-odd dewpoint) or real hot above 105 degrees... you're probably better off with a/c... but until there? evap coolers make a desert sweet. i mean i can sit with one on a hundred degree day and the temp won't be over 74 degrees. downright chilly.

3. sleep in the afternoon. there's a reason desert cities are quiet during the afternoon. everyone is hiding out in the cool. here at last is an excuse to stay up late. my schedule (when i can manage it) during summer months is like up at 7-9 in the morning... stay up until 2-3 in the afternoon... sleep for 3-4 hours... and stay up until 2-3 in the morning. a siesta will turn a miserable summer afternoon into a sweet summer evening.

4. that pretty much does it. hug the shade. wear a hat with a brim. take plenty of ice cold water (a 1.5 liter jug does the trick). and if you get heat stroke (clammy headachey miserable sick) then stay out of the heat for a few weeks... cuz it'll come back. heat exhaustion is the same thing but with dehydration.

5. bookmark this and refer to it. you'll think its great in the morning but you'll be screwed in the afternoon. i even have to watch out for those false morning indicators and i've lived in 118 degree summers for 38 years.


Doc Martian said...

p.p.s. a sopping wet bucket hat is soooooooo sweet.

darkorpheus said...

Ovidia Well, the contract is for a year - with an option to extend if I wish to - or if they are pleased with my performance.

Good advice on the wetwipes and the instant porridge sachets.

Dorothy books with Ella. Hee. Good idea. If I can bear to part with them. ;p

Doc Martian Thanks for the advice, although taking afternoon naps and a sopping wet bucket hat will not be practical during working hours! ;p

I thought of the Alexandria Quartet, Montaigne, Herodotus - but right now I wonder if I should bring books that I am willing to leave behind.

I did my graduating thesis on William Gibson more than 8 years ago. Don't want to read Neuromancer anymore.

Anonymous said...

What books to pack it tough given you can't rely on the library. Perhaps you will be able to find a secondhand shop there. And if there are books you just can't fit in your luggage, maybe you could have a friend hold on to them for you who would be willing to send them later? You have to take Herodotus! Be sure to take something frothy too, perhaps a Terry Pratchett you haven't read yet? Since you will have internet access you can always read books for free online if you are desperate.

jenclair said...

Oh, my! Dubai? I've not been keeping up!