Arabian Gulf, UAE - Faiz Khwaja
Throughout my life, I've had the privilege of living in a number of countries that helped me look at things from many different perspectives. Through what some may consider the prime years in shaping my young life, through the ages of 7-12, I lived in Dubai, UAE.
A big part of Dubai is Port Jebel Ali, which is the world's largest manmade harbour. Dubai also has a wide selection of beaches that are popular among the many expats that live in the city. It is at these beaches where I spent many afternoons, building sand forts with my sisters, only to have our dreams prematurely destroyed by the rising tide as it swept across the sand that had been baking in the warm sun all day until then. With the easy breeze blowing through our hair, we set about reconstructing the fort to valiantly save all the imaginary mini sand-people's lives. Every time the water knocked our fort down, we constructed more and more defences to keep out our powerful enemy; the ocean. After setting up defences that seemed impossible for the invasive water to penetrate, I shot my sisters a crooked, satisfied smile, barely even feeling my throbbing neck which had been burnt raw after working for hours in the sun. Just as we felt that our fortress was impenetrable, we heard the familiar calls of our mother, coupled with the empty threats that if we didn't come now, the crabs would come out and attack us. Pretending to be nonchalant, although on the inside wondering if it was true, we abandoned our piece of art into which we had put into so much work. With one final glance back as we walked away, trying to brush off the sand that was caked to our knees, I saw the waves inhale our precious fortress. With a solemn smile, I turned back and continued walking. The ocean had won, yet again.