I never planned to end up in Dubai. And when people ask how I am finding it, my standard response is ‘I don’t love it …’. I mean it as a compliment, in so far as I am not saying ‘I hate it’, which is the reaction that most people I know expect from me. They expect that I will find it totalitarian (it seems relatively liberal to me, so long as you keep to the rules), too hot (so far, it has been no worse than a stinking Queensland day) and too Islamic (ironically, I love the call to prayer, something I grew familiar with in Cape Town and find the most authentic part of Dubai). As a landscape architecture academic, I am used to finding value in the everyday, tracing the influence of climate, geography and culture to get a sense of the place, even in places that others might see no value in. It is in this aspect that I find it hard in Dubai: the more you look for authenticity and nature here, the further it seems to move away. But, as the expats say, the longer you live here, the more you like it.