Host: Yougawalla Pastoral Co.
Written by Jane Sale – Manager, Yougawalla Pastoral Co.
My sister moved to Dubai from London two years ago. You would gather from this that we are very different in our life choices, as well as many other things and have been since we grew up together. This however does not mean that we don’t get along or understand each other. Maybe if we did live in the same place the friendship wouldn’t be as agreeable but unfortunately for my Mum and Dad we both live worlds away from our childhood home of Melbourne.
Our Homes – Yougawalla Homestead and Dubai Residence.
My sister lives a pretty glamourous life, certainly by my standards, even if we do both live in the desert. Over the wet season we flew over to experience her world. A lot of people have been to Dubai as it is the new gateway for us to The Middle East, Africa, and Europe. Dubai City is extravagant to say the least. The glitz and abundance of wealth on show at times overwhelming and the magnitude of the Emirate’s ambition to build the islands and buildings over sand dunes and sea is awe inspiring. I kept trying to imagine the city skyline poking up in our desert rangelands back in the Kimberley and that gave me a fair idea of how far they have come in 40 years. The history of the area in one way is quite similar to the Kimberley as the modern hubs are very new but the original dwellers in these desert areas before the high rises, like ours before the Western inhabitants, have a history and culture that goes back through the ages.
Sunset taken from the highest point at both Yougawalla Station and Dubai’s Burj Khalifa.
I was surprised to see when arriving that along with the Emirate Officials at the customs counters in their kandura robes or dishdashas, there were “festive” decorations in the airport, as well as all over the city and malls. It is still however a Muslim country and you must be aware of local beliefs and have respect for the local Emirates. Just like my sister and I, if you make an effort to understand why they live so differently and respect other people’s choices you can have a very strong friendship despite the differences. With so many Ex Pats living in Dubai, they are asked to respect the Emirate culture, quite strictly, this is important as it is their country and the foreign residents in doing so demonstrate a city with people from all walks of life and religion living side by side.
The Kimberley Kids and Dubai Kids Ready School.
My school of the air kids had a day at their Cousins’ international school which was a great experience for them to not only go to a structured classroom but also with an abundance of cultures. It was also wonderful to go along to my nieces’ Christmas concerts, for this proud Aunty that misses out on so much of their lives, I saw my eldest niece sing a solo. We were sitting on the lawn amongst all the parents, some in their traditional clothing, Emirates, Indians, Europeans, mums and dads (and aunties) from all over the world, sitting down on the grass together singing and doing the actions for the Christmas carols. Not because they believe in Christmas but for the sake of their children’s performances and education. It made the concert more magical.
Heading to the Dubai Abattoir and Feedlot Market.
We had a wonderful time getting a taste for my sister and her family’s very different life in the desert and we also got to fit some station oriented touring in as well. We were given a tour of the Dubai abattoir and feedlots by the Meat and Livestock Australia representative for the Middle East. When you get away from the extravagant and glamourous bubble of the city sprawl, you see another side to the Emirate culture that Haydn and I are really interested in, we saw a small part of the supply chain for this consumer lifestyle in the desert, that produces oil but imports almost everything else. In seeing their systems here and talking to our guides and the people at the abattoir we learnt how they have struggled to change procedures that respect the culture of the population they were supplying meat to but also followed the standards that their supplier demanded for their animal’s welfare. Another example of the mutual respect needed to forge a relationship of any scale.
Tyne McConnen from the ABC Kimberley region interviewed Haydn regarding this feedlot and Abattoir tour shortly after we came home so please click on the link below to read about it or hear the interview.