Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Decisions, decisions... and... camels?

Alright, well I suppose it's my turn to add something to the blog.

These last couple of days we have spent a bit of time going out on our own to find a suitable villa.

Have you ever watched that show on HGTV called Location, Location, Location? They never seem to end up in the place they say they wanted in the first place.  We seriously could have filmed our experiences and followed the typical progress of the show.  We started out telling our agents one thing, only to find that after all the searching we have done, what we are truly after is something completely different.  It's comical and definitely frustrating for both sides.  However, after all that we have seen, we're coming to the conclusion that the house is much more important to us than the location despite starting out by limiting our location to a single community.

Our ideal situation is a good sized home in a neighbourhood called Arabian Ranches. They are landscaped, have community pools, lots of green space, are close to many things (including work) and it even has a shopping center in the community.  As it turns out, that's quite important because the way of purchasing fresh food products seems a little different here than in North America.  More frequent purchases in small quantities compared to the massive stocking we would do at home.  Apparently, there are fewer preservatives in things like milk and bread (we'll find out).  Regardless, the company agent has been trying to find something that fits, in the area, but has been striking out.

Based on our allowance we have been searching the desert side of Dubai for the perfect villa to house all of our (ahem, Darcy's) hobbies... Now don't get me wrong, it's not that one-sided... it's just that we didn't bring any old cars with us and the term "old car" doesn't quite mean the same thing here... I don't dare take apart a post-2005 BMW anything... Anyways, we've been searching for something with enough room for the kids, for us and for any guests who may come to visit (hint, hint).  The problem is, that in classic 'Andy' fashion, I researched the heck out of this before coming and found the ideal floor plan online. Ah, the elusive 'Cordoba.'  The advertisements made it seem like it was in the middle of the perfect community.

Here is the floor plan:

We've been struggling since we arrived to have any agent show us something that we deemed suitable based on its floor plan regardless of square footage.  There are many HUGE houses here, but we don't really need a 3 bedroom with 20'X20' rooms and full en-suites in each one.  So, the typical dilemma, to find a great house, it's further away and has no amenities yet.  In the nearby, developed neighbourhoods, the houses are either smaller than we are after or WAY beyond our price range.

So, we went out on our own to see what we could find.  We spent a frustrating morning calling around about properties that were advertised online to find out that pretty much all of them did not exist or "were already taken."  Luckily, someone gave us an address to a great villa that was slightly out of our price range in what is known as the Green Community, that happens to be considered quite a long ways from the office.  It was fantastic! 5900 square feet! What!?!? Nearly 5000 sq ft larger than the house we have up for sale in Calgary. Ok, ok a bit of an exaggeration given the lack of  basements here compared to there, but seriously, this place was massive!


Anyways, as it turns out, it was a bit above our budget. Plus at the price we could offer there would be no landscaping or appliances and the monthly cost of the utilities in this neighbourhood is more than the others.

So, today we decided to head out to the Villa project to see if our Cordoba would be worth the trade off of a lack of community for a great house. As it turns out, it's everything we had hoped for.  I think this means we now know that the house is worth more to us than the amenities.  Plus, there is a chance that the amenities will come within a year or two.  In the meantime, we would have to drive for our groceries and invite ourselves to as many pool parties as possible.

And here you can OBVIOUSLY see the problem:

The problem being that the above picture is of the community center, gym and community pool... which won't be there for quite some time.

So, after finding a great house in a not-so-great community, we went back to the company relocation specialist and the agent we had been dealing with to provide some very specific details of the home we would like to find in Arabian Ranches... within our budget... which likely doesn't exist.

And as I write this a new piece of information... a place filling our requirements in Arabian Ranches has become available this evening.  Here is the floor plan.  It's ONLY 3100 sq. ft, which the agents refer to as "small." Hopefully we get to go see it tomorrow:

Anyways, I think we're finally getting somewhere.  With the employment visa now secured, it's off to the clinic for a medical exam and then we can finally get that residence permit, which means the rest of the family can finally get a residence permit... which means we can buy a car, get licenses, get paid... all good things.


With all of this fun, we simply have to mention the best camel sighting we've had so far.  The Villa project is right on the edge of the desert, which means the camels are plentiful. We pulled over to get a few shots.  The little bumps on the horizon would eventually move if we watched for a while.  There must have been 100 of them.  The piles of sand are what line the street (construction access) into and out of the development.

Thanks for putting up with me. If you're lucky, Darcy will take over again for the next one.


  1. Are you ever going to be able to return to Canada after living in a 3000+ square foot house with no winter? LOL! Happy to hear that things are beginning to fall into place for you guys. I still find it so strange to see miles of sandy must be a strange reality for you all! What a crazy experience :)

  2. Great post Andy! What a crazy life experience! I think I would be too far out of my comfort zone so kudos to you guys for doing it!! Good luck with the house hunting. Keep us posted on the "palace" that you choose.

  3. Cool pictures. Hopefully you can get the best of both worlds and find a great house in a good place.

  4. Thanks for taking this one bears, you did a good job. Love you.