Whilst this most unexpected of first travel destinations may have provided aesthetic and cultural stimulation beyond my wildest imaginations, Dubai will only ever live in my mind as irrefutable proof that people make places, and that putting in even the tiniest of social effort will offer the greatest human reward.

In contacting Aga, an ancient connection from my long somnolent Couchsurfing days of London, whom I could never have professed to have known well but was confident would respond positively, I earned a wonderful day of sensational city exploration in the vibrant company of her visiting friend. If ever there was proof that maintaining even the loosest of social media connections is ALWAYS worthwhile, this was it. Thank you Aga, so much, and thank you Liz.

in Nayeem, I earned a progressive and fantastically rewarding friendship. That of two complete strangers so committed to a mutual passion that no genuine connection might even be required. That we did acquire this connection, over the many splendid lunches and outings we enjoyed, was testament to the strength of our common resolve. I cannot thank Nayeem enough for having been the backbone of my stay in Dubai. You will be the first person I contact should I ever return to the UAE.

But if i were to describe the sheer unexpected appreciation of human connection that travel life can bring, I can only ever refer to Natasha when I think of Dubai and the beginning of my global peregrinations. From an unexpected solicitation to drinks with terrible and horrific logistical consequences, to three of the most rewarding and fun evenings between two strangers willing to share their innermost anguishes, joys, and expectations from their lives – this is why we both travel. Whilst I am sad that I have met someone so superb so early on in my travels, knowing realistically that it will be a while until our paths cross again, it makes me understand that this is why we do what we like to do, why we have to do it, and how there will be many more equally awesome people to encounter along the way.

The nine photographs of my amazing UAE experience can therefore only be of people. For the rest of my photo album, you are most welcome to view this page!

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