Saturday, January 04, 2014

Kicking Off 2014 Dubai Style!

Welcome back everyone and happy 2014!

Boy, oh boy do I have a lot (seriously a lot) of book recommendations to throw your way. Christmas holidays, never a quiet affair in this household, saw me with time to read loads and loads of new and not so new titles finally decreasing that pile of books in the corner collecting dust. My cleaning lady is the happiest person on Earth right now. Yes, I have a live-in cleaner (I'm in Abu Dhabi now duh!) and yes, she really is happy (my judgement is based on her whistling tune - on that some other post).

Anyway, back to business and since I'm on the subject of cleaners, I thought I'd kick the year off with a Dubai-based memoir by Becky Wicks aptly called 'Burqalicious: The Dubai Diaries'. But why is my cleaning lady relevant to this I sense you wondering? well, because it seems that according to Becky's book she would have us believe that expats in Dubai are all blessed with one (a cleaner that is, not a Becky) and by the time expats leave the magical city of Dubai they've forgotten how to wipe stains off a floor or how to stack anything in a dishwasher. A bit of an exaggeration (a thing this book is apt to do quite often) but I can see that happening ;)

However, this is a hilarious, casual, not too seriously written memoir about Wicks' time in Dubai between 2007 -2009! It is a delightful read, quite saucy and funny. This is no surprise given that among the many jobs Becky held in Dubai, was running a celebrity gossip blog. Not an easy job as one would imagine in a country where words like 'sex, drugs, whores, adultery and nudity' are forbidden. Basically not easy writes Becky 'when anything that makes writing about celebrities vaguely interesting is a big, fat no-no'.

Thankfully her book, written and published outside of Dubai, is far from censored. Dubai, a city that is not only Muslim but has strict rules about sex outside of marriage, unmarried couples living together, public displays of affection and zero tolerance to alcohol, Becky Wicks's book is rife with all those forbidden pleasures. The book is a diary entry of Becky's days and nights in the the city that not only seems to be competing with the world but who seems to continually want to outdo itself. This is a city where everything is bigger, better and shinier than anywhere else on Earth and where billboards and press releases promise outlandish dreams that only Dubai can make true. 

Seems too good to be true? well, it's because it is. Dubai is not an easy place to live where everyone seems to be out to make a quick buck. And judging by Becky's account hardly anyone does any work in proportion to the amount of money they're paid and in fact treating their stay as one big holiday. The outcome? The bubble bursts, businesses collapse, and loads of people are thrown in jail due to mounting unpaid debts. However, most of the book focuses on the lifestyle pre-Dubai crash and although the situation is tamer these days it is by no means vanished. Dubai winning the bid to host Expo2020 are proof of that and the size of the New Year celebrations that took place in Jumeirah are yet the biggest proof of all. (Dubai New Year 2014 fireworks have entered the Guinness Book of Records. Click HERE to see or watch the YouTube clip below).

The author, Becky Wicks, is no angel, although she would have us believe otherwise. Becky was a single, 20-something year old out in Dubai at its prime. In the space of only two years, she changes several jobs, becomes mistress to a very wealthy Muslim and married man, and has several 'boyfriends' along the way. In her book she comes across as an immature, irritating, self-centred gold-digger (her relationship with M&M is proof) and a bonafide drama queen. There is sex, there is a city, but Becky Wicks is no Carrie Bradshaw.

So why should you read the book? Because it is fun, un-putdownable, insightful and shallow in equal measure and perfect for when you're detoxing in January! 

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