The cold spell: please keep it to yourself says Hype’s Grumpy Old Raver.

It doesn’t take much does it? Just a temperature dip of a few degrees. And while relatives are still flying into Dubai for a winter break and bemoaning the heat, a good number of us are coming down with the dreaded Dubai cold – referred to around Hype Towers as “the lurgy”.

Visitors might still be launching themselves into what they consider the “lovely warm sea” but if you’ve lived here for any length of time you’re probably eyeing the sea suspiciously, dipping a toe in and scurrying back to your beach towel complaining that the water is too cold.

That’s what happens when a wee swim in the sea during the summer makes you feel like a lobster being boiled alive.

And while visitors might be enjoying sundowners on the balcony in their shorts and flip-flops, we’re reaching for a hooded top and furry slippers. Yes folks, it won’t be long before it’s time to pull the onesies out from the back of the wardrobe and bemoan that “it’s Baltic”.

It’s at this time of year that the lurgy rears its ugly head. A few work colleagues have already been contaminated and over the past two weeks I’ve watched the domino effect as it’s been passed like an unwanted gift around the office.

Now one of the flatmates – One Who Shall Remain Nameless – has been struck down. She complained of a sore throat at Party In The Park then swiftly forgot about it as she shouted and yelled over the music throughout the festival. The next day, she complained of feeling ropey. Who didn’t? So it was dismissed as simply ‘the day after the night before’.

By Sunday, even though she made it to work, it was descending on her good and proper and every time she blew her nose cars along Sheikh Zayed Road honked angrily in response. I came home later that evening to find her wrapped up in nanna blankets on the sofa, piles of crumpled discarded tissues stacked up on the floor next to her to rival the height of the Burj Khalifa.

That’s when, if you flat share, paranoia kicks in – the fear that you’re next in the firing line. So you have to tread a fine line, watch your own back but not come across as an uncaring witch. Not wanting her germs everywhere in the living room, I urged her to go to bed. “No, I’ll just lie here and watch telly,” she wheezed. So I switched the channel to BBC World News. It always does the trick and she shuffled off. The nanna blankets were promptly picked up with tongs and incinerated and any plates or utensils lying around the kitchen were boil washed.

Next day, she was too ill to go to work. By that evening what she needed was some TLC from her flatmates. What she got was put under quarantine in her room while the third flatmate – The Cub – and I padded about in bio-suits. If we could we would have sealed her room off like Elliot’s in ET when the little alien is on his deathbed.


Let’s be honest, this is what we all want to do when people around us have the ‘Dubai cold’

Work commitments aside, there’s never a good time to come down with the cold (flu, if you’re a man). There’s always so much good stuff going on in these parts. To pour salt onto the wounds One Who Shall Remain Nameless has had to pass up a trip to the newly opened Dubai Opera to see a show there. And she’s suitably gutted. Not because she’s remotely interested in the musical but because she “blagged a free ticket and it’s worth over Dhs1,000” she revealed glumly. The show? Les Misérables. Don’t worry, pet, you’re doing a fine job of that on your own.

Now the weekend is looming and the sickness lingers. In true caring style, she’s been informed to stop wasting money on cough medicine, Vicks VapoRub, Strepsils and the like and beat the lurgy like a true champ. How? With a Dubai brunch, of course.

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