Former expats remember old Dubai

Modern Dubai is both a thriving city and an expatriate hub, but before the skyscrapers were built and luxury tourists flocked to the destination, it was home to the forerunners of today’s overseas workforce.

Many of these first expats are now in their 60s and 70s, but hold fond memories of living in Dubai and experiencing it as it was.

They formed a Facebook group entitled Dubai – The Good Old Days (DTGOD) in order to share reminiscences with others who were in the Emirate at the same time, reports the Khaleej Times.

This has gone on to attract some 5,300 members and those who founded it are thinking of taking the enthusiasm expressed through it to another level.

Edward Scalpello, an Italian who lived in Dubai from 1982 and spent the early years of his children’s life there, has written to His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice-resident and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai.

It says: “Many of us have the urge to speak of our wonderful memories to those who are too young to have experienced them and to the world at large.

“Most of us are now in our 60s and 70s and we thought what a wonderful public relations exercise it would be for Dubai if you could honour us by inviting a large group of us over to express our great love for the city.”

He wants to see those who remember the old days reunited to relive camping trips in the desert and simpler times.

These older expats wonder if the new generation ever thinks about what it was like for those who came before them and how the experience varied.

They are proud of what the city has become and how they were a part of its history, as well as mourning the loss of places they knew so well.

If the reunion goes ahead to Dubai, it is thought that it will be the first time such a large group of people have come together to thank a city for all it gave them.

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