Day 1 – 2nd May 2009
02.05.2009 -42 °C
After a gruelling 14 hour flight there was still surprisingly some excitement left in our weary minds. A taste of the obnoxious and inconsiderate on the plane was potentially a sign of what lay ahead. A relatively pain free ride through customs and the dreaded baggage carousel had us headed toward the exit in a streamline towards the taxi rank. The doors open and like a knockout blow to the head, the 42 degree temperature and relative humidity of what could only be described at the time as 400%, hit home with intensity. The skies were grey and murky. A sandstorm had hit the little old town of Dubai and the infamous skyline a mere blur through the haze.
Arrived at the hotel, dropped our bags in the room and headed straight to the bar for a coldie. The hotel afforded us, well one of us a free drink on arrival, the other $15 after conversion… welcome to Dubai.
Vicki noticed a feline friend at the door of the downstairs bar and in a way only familiar to those that know Vicki, she kindly requested the staff let the Cat indoors. There was never a chance of failure. Now we were sharing our beers with the local Arab community, dressed in their customary outfits and enjoying a cold beer on a not so cold day and our little black, undernourished feline friend.
Shower… ooh the shower, could possibly have been the best ever despite the distinct lack of water pressure.
Time for food. Our cab driver could not understand a word of English. My first opportunity to wax authentic Arab. I busted a rhyme and in no time (several attempts) we were on our way out for some local cuisine.
Again my Arabic vernacular was put to good use (or tested depending on your view), their dialect was strange (maybe they thought the same) but we got what we wanted. Vicki asked if smoking was allowed. A cheeky grin from the waiter then a screen around the table blocking us from public view and an ashtray appeared suddenly. Out of sight out of mind I guess.
What a feast, how the hell were two people meant to get through the bounty that had been presented before us? We did alright, I won’t say we ate it all but came as close as two hungry jetlagged foreigners could.
Cramps. The most uncomfortable cramps you could ever experience and it could only mean one thing. You know and I know where I was headed. I’ll spare the details but lets say my conventional western toilet paper firewall was no match for the toilet seat free bowl. Just in time.
Shopping. Emirates mall. Home of the collagen injection. Mutton everywhere, top heavy with camel like lips. No wonder the western world has a bad wrap in these parts. These women were so far up themselves you could walk up and pluck an organ off their lifeless, self-indulgent bodies. Otherwise a very impressive mall.
The cosmetics counter. Vicki’s relentless pursuit of the ‘perfect’ moisturiser lead us to a nice natured, gentle Lebanese bloke operating the Estee Lauder counter, Wassim. I don’t believe he was gay. C’mon there are no gay Arabs. He paid her the normal amount of attention due to a prospective buyer but then as if he could smell the Lebo blood in me, queried and identified my origins. The landscape changed a little now, we conversed for a few moments in Arabic then he began showering Vicki with samples and testers. All the good stuff too. Lots of goodies for a fixed price. He spoke to the doors of his den of treats: “Eftah Sim Sim”, he whispered. Translated “Open Sesame”.
Ski Dubai. Yep, these guys have money. An artificial ski resort inside a shopping mall. Very believable. I suppose if I too had obscene amounts of money and lived in a desert, I’d probably create my own snow filled happy place too.
Quick beer by the pool and off to bed after a visit from the maintenance crew about the water pressure.