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While Dubai is a place people come to experience the abundance of diverse cultures, there is always a part of you that craves the familiarity of home (and I don’t just mean hitting up the newly opened, Canadian institution Tim Hortons which has taken UAE by storm).

Today Surf Dubai hosted the 3rd Sunset Open surfing competition.  While I sat, blasted by the high-winds and sunshine, I couldn’t help but notice the parallels to many events in Whistler – a musician belting out tunes on acoustic guitar (an anomaly here since buskers are non-existent by strict visa regulations), a Red Bull tent passing out product and although the event was sponsored by Quiksilver, Roxy, Oakley and Monster logos were in abundance as well.  But above all else, the most frequent comment heard was that this felt like a “normal” place.

And I smiled as a Kiwi chimed in agreement with the Brit, who nodded at the South African, while the Indian men cheered on the surfers and the Arab ladies held on to their abaya and hijab in the raging winds. ‘ Yup’, I agreed, ‘normal.’

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