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Dubai Expat Interview – Robert Macnair

Rob-Macnair-newThis week’s Into-yous features British expat Robert Macnair

Tell us a little about yourself:
I’m originally from Edinburgh, Scotland. After completing my education I lived Jersey in the Channel Isands for 15 years where I was in the wine importing business and had interests in other ventures. After, we moved to Bordeaux,France for while before I landed the role as Business Development Manager in Russia in the early 90’s….wild times back then! Three years was long enough. Over to London for a few years and then to Dubai!

When did you move to Dubai and what brought you here:
My wife and I moved here in 2007 after I had a chance meeting with someone in London who offered me an attractive and challenging job here.

Have you been an expat elsewhere and if so, where?
Yes, I’ve lived in a few countries for extended periods as an expat, United States, France, Portugal and Russia.

The best advice you were given to prepare you for life in Dubai:
Actually, I wasn’t given any advice and I didn’t know exactly where Dubai was! I had ’Googled’ Dubai before we moved, the photos and comments from various sources don’t really prepare you for what’s in front of you, namely The Summer!

What surprised you most about Dubai?
Arriving in ’Winter’ it seemed like the perfect climate, a driver collected us at the airport and dropped us at the hotel. Seven years ago was a time of massive construction work, and I was amazed at the speed of everything, that includes building work and also the driving ’skills’ of all these giant 4×4 vehicles flying and weaving along Sheikh Zayed Road.

What area do you live in?
We have been living in Jumeirah 2 for the last five years, it’s just the two of us but we have a single-storey four bedroom villa, one I use as a ’home office’ and my wife seems to have her clothes in the others…Oh and shoes!

If money were no object, where would you most like to live in Dubai?
Really happy where we are, literally five minutes walk and we’re on the beach.

Your favourite Arabic word or phrase you have learned so far:
Eid Mubarak! Things are back to normal now.

Your least favourite word or phrase you have adopted since moving to Dubai:
I haven’t really adopted any phrases, I’m not that keen on the ’Inshallah’ bit when trying to hit a dead-line with business. (No offence meant by that)

What has been your best experience in Dubai to date?
Having travelled a lot I’ve seen some amazing sights, so I would say setting up my own business last year was the most rewarding experience and this year launching a website for all Bonsai tree enthusiasts here, I’ve been heavily involved in the hobby for nearly twenty-five years. The website is really there for guidance and inspiration, anyone is welcome to come and chat, I re-pot trees and have an ’Intensive Care Unit’ for anyone with an ailing tree.

Where do you hope to spend your next holiday?
We’re of to Turkey (again), mainly for a holiday but also some business.

Who is the person you most miss when you are in Dubai?
It has to be my two sons.

What is your favourite restaurant in Dubai?
The Beach Bar & Grill at The One and Only. Either for a nice al-fresco lunch or dinner outside on the decking.

What grocery item do you most miss from your home country?
Black Pasta (linguine shape), Carluccio’s used to stock it here, but dropped it from their Dubai stock-line last year, but it has appeared in Spinney’s (currently out-of-stock) and a little Deli in JBR (sometimes).

When friends and family visit you in Dubai where will you absolutely take them?
We like the One & Only Royal Mirage, a bit of lunch and lounging around the pool for the day. Friends love it when the staff come round and clean and polish your sunglasses for you.

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