Author: (Stein) Runar Bergheim

I knew a couple living in Dubai who expressed great joy and happiness about their living arrangements. In their building, they had a mall, a gym and a cinema complex, and in their apartment, they had a large balcony. On weekends, they said, they NEVER HAD TO leave the building. I had never thought of […]
Life in the desert is inspiring. The sort of things that live here are focussed; they seize every chance—act on every opportunity. That behaviour stands in sharp contrast to my own life since I became a smartphone owner nearly twenty years ago. Desert-dwellers do not hear a beep, read a message, follow a link and […]
A ‘societal value’ shared by Norway and the United Arab Emirates is the importance of being ‘best in the world’. It is quite possible to be ‘best’ at something without actually being good at it. The key is to find a field that is so narrow as to eliminate competition. That is why Norwegians have […]
Dubai was the first and only thing I thought I knew about the United Arab Emirates before arriving there. What little I might have learned of Arabia during my school years had not trampled the virgin snow of my ignorance. At that time, no photo of Dubai existed that did not include Burj al Arab—the […]
There is something attractive about the prospect of seeing an effeminately adorned Spaniard impaled on the horns of an enraged bull. Beyond that, there is little about ‘ordinary’ bullfighting that appeals to me. But, come to think of it, I’m not too keen on that bullfighting, regardless of who ends up bleeding. I quite like […]
One of the first issues I came to face when I started working in Arabia was that something was fundamentally wrong with the working week. It ended on Thursday—which was good. But then it started on Sunday—which was less so. Until then, I cannot in good conscience say that I knew what a Sunday morning […]
Camels and I do not see eye to eye and have mutually agreed that it is for the best that we lead separate lives. The Arabian camel is a single-humped dromedary with a sharp, bony spine that it is exceptionally unpleasant to sit on. That accounts for my position on camels. As for why camels […]
I knew how an Oasis looked. I knew because I had seen one in a Donald Duck comic when I was little. And, back then, I didn’t yet suspect the Disney corporation of wilfully distorting children’s minds. An oasis was a small pond of pure, immaculate water in the desert, surrounded by a small number […]
The most impressive mountains in the Emirates can be found in the north and east. For a time, I had a colleague in Abu Dhabi, who was a self-professed outdoors’ man. I considered myself one, too, but had to concede that I played in the little leagues compared to this gentleman. My colleague, who for […]