Asia blog 52

8 October, United Arab Emirates – ‘All Over The Place – Asia’

Woke up at 5.30am having had less than 4 hours sleep due to my eyelids feeling like they had sandpaper under them after our trip to the desert yesterday (well, Dubai is desert as well really. I guess I mean “the desert with less stuff in it”). Had a sinking feeling that I was probably due a trip to the doctor, but with a big day’s filming ahead of us the last thing I wanted to do was hold everything up and waste literally thousands of pounds of BBC licence fee payers’ money (we’re always thinking of you viewers, oh yes), so it was on with the show.

First up was a bit of filming outside a huge skyscraper with a maze pattern on the front for our architecture song, then we popped round the corner to the world’s first functional 3D printed building. It’s only single storey and looks like two eggs with a hoop in the middle, but apparently Dubai has a lot more planned and I’ve just witnessed the future (hope you like living in eggs).

Dubai is always hotter than the temperature would suggest due to the fact that the seawater creates a lot of humidity, so by mid morning Iain and I were already drenched and mopping away at ourselves with hankies and towels. Luckily for us we had some filming to do in Old Dubai for the song compilation show that required us to be indoors, so we got to dodge the midday sun in a nice cool coffee museum in one of the old buildings. Well, I say old, they were merchants’s houses built 100 years ago. Before that I think people were living in mostly temporary structures or tents. To be honest it’s amazing that anyone was able to live here at all before the invention of air conditioning. As far as I’m concerned the landscape here is like living on the surface of Mars.

We picked up various links throughout the day in courtyards and squares and, as the sun was going down, pulled off a rather complicated opening involving us hopping off one of the local ferry boats, called abras, which have been taking people across Dubai Creek for decades. Then I had a nice little treat in store for me – a trip to a late night opticians in a mall by the motorway. They had a good look at my eyes and declared that they were very dry and scratched (I could have told them that to be fair) and sent me off with a large bag of various eye drops. The whole trip cost around £200 – going to my GP back home would have cost me more like £20!

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