Former Dubai expats plan trip down memory lane

Published:  17 Apr at 6 PM
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Tagged: Italy, Dubai
Expats who helped build the businesses which brought Dubai from a desert oasis to its present cosmopolitan luxury and wealth are hoping to revisit the city by invitation.

Those working in Dubai during its transformation still hold fond memories of simpler times including romantic camping trips into the desert, and have formed a Facebook group to share their memories. The group, The Good Old Days, now numbers over 5,000 retirees, all of whom were living in the emirate in 1980s and having the time of their lives.

The forerunners of today’s expat workforce, they wonder whether present-day expats can possibly imagine what being part of old Dubai was like in comparison with today’s consumer and tourist-oriented city. They would love to be able to visit again as a group to relive their experiences.

Edward Scalpello, an Italian who arrived in Dubai in 1982, has written to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, the emirate’s ruler, to suggest that he honours the group by inviting them back for a visit. Scalpello believes it would be a great public relations exercise, as it would demonstrate the former expats’ love for the city and attract more visitors.

All the group members, he adds, are intensely proud of present-day Dubai, and their contribution to its development, and still miss the lifestyle and all their favourite places, most of which are no longer there. He adds that, if the trip goes ahead, it may well be the first time ever that former expats are a able to give collective thanks for their unique experiences.
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