Geelong Advertiser

Just like home only hotter and with fancier cars

- Cam WARD

“I dislike feeling at home when I am abroad.”

— George Bernard Shaw I DO not consider myself by any stretch of the imaginatio­n to be widely travelled. (Unless you count the Princes Freeway; after more than 30 years of commuting, holidays and visits I’m three levels past platinum card status.)

But I’m wider travelled now than I was three weeks ago.

Our choice of destinatio­n was limited by any number of factors financial, geographic and chronologi­cal.

In the end we settled on a two-week jaunt through Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Singapore. Not exactly far from the madding crowds, but certainly several steps outside our comfort zone.

But in the end, the more we travelled, the more we found that things stayed — and sounded and looked — the same. This was not just because of the prevalence of the English language, on which we had counted.

Less expected was the kind of English we encountere­d.

A trip through downtown Dubai en route to an afternoon four-wheel drive through the desert sand dunes and a middle eastern meal at a “Bedouin camp” became less Lawrence of Arabia and more Lozza of Bell Post Hill when the car’s radio was tuned to Dubai 92 and the drivetime shift of Harry & Pricey — two expat Aussies plying their trade in the United Arab Emirates.

It could not have surprised us more to hear them telling us to keep an eye out for the Dubai92 Nissan Black Thunders out and about on Sheikh Zayed Rd — although they would have undoubtedl­y been white (given the region’s serious summer temperatur­es) Range Rover Vogues or Mercedes G63s (given its level of disposable income).

And the ties that bind us back home did not stop there.

It was not just the familiar, ubiquitous multinatio­nal corporatio­ns (and the golden arches actually seemed in shorter supply in the UAE) that gave the sense we’d gone 3km down the Bellarine Highway, not west across three time zones.

Local success stories such as Boost Juice and Cotton On are now players on the global stage — and proof that Geelong can be too.

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