Day 3 – 4th May 2009 – Vicki’s Birthday
04.05.2009 30 °C
Gym again in the morning. What a way to start the day without having to worry about getting to work late.
Vicki’s Day. Off to the Gold, Textile and Spice Sooqs. Sooq means shop in Arabic so no wonder Vicki’s desire to visit on her birthday.
Lunch. Nice little Arabic looking café with a private upstairs area that allowed you to dine in your own ottoman filled room. I was mixing it with the Arabs well now. I had made friends this time. The owner invited me to visit him in the Yemen with all living expenses accounted for. He also refused to accept payment for lunch. A nice gesture. I feel connected now. I’m in with the locals.
Sooqs. Are we in the Middle East or the subcontinent? Harassing, dishonest merchants all peddling their shotty merchandise at exaggerated prices. To be honest, it was difficult to even meet a local of Arab origin. They had infested the markets and seemed to dominate the population. Annoying. The boat ride across the ‘creek’ was nice. The gold sook’s a Mecca for gold lovers. My Mum and Sister Manel would have had a field day and certainly would have given the fuckers a run for their money. Still a good day. Lots of haggling and a few trinkets to boot.
Taxi. What a dick. This guy took us to the wrong hotel and of course wouldn’t admit responsibility. I told him that I would be happy to pay the charge on the meter if he dropped us at the CORRECT hotel. He refused to stop the meter. He thought it perfectly alright to pay double the fare. The ultimatum put simply was that he stop the meter, drop us off at our hotel and get paid or stop the car, let us out and get nothing. He opted for the latter. Lots of shouting and honking of the horn until we just jumped into another cab. He rushed to the driver door of the second cab and continued yelling and screaming. I kindly offered to give him the option again but he declined. His parting words were: “Fucken no pay fuck”.
Hummer. Picked up at the hotel by a big black Hummer. I hate the things on common roads but this vehicle was built for just such an occasion so it seemed ok. We shared the car with a nice couple from the palms, Jen and Fon (Belgian and Thai).
Screaming over the dunes at high speed. Steep drop offs and sharp turns made it feel like a roller coaster but one that went for an hour. I loved it, a veritable treat for any boy with a propensity for speed and thrill. The girls struggled. Their intestines churned with every turn before finally giving way to a mandatory pit stop allowing for some projectile vomiting. Wipe of the mouth and we’re off again. A bit of sand boarding, a camel ride and on to the desert camp for a bbq and some belly dancing.
Shisha. Included in the price but not provided. I insisted and we got but not easily, not without a fight and not without an extremely disgruntled driver. What the fuck were we doing with a Sri Lankan driving us through the dunes of Dubai anyway? Greedy, selfish and no Customer focus. A wanker in the end.
Not tainted by the driver’s lack of etiquette, we enjoyed each others company and the series of scheduled (and non-scheduled) events then headed back for a drink at the Palms with Jen and Fon where Jen began a lecture in effective email management. A topic sparked by his constant and dependent use of the ‘Blackberry’. I must admit, he had some good tips but our Blackberrys were locked away in the bottom of a drawer back in Australia. Exactly where they shall remain. The Palm village is a beautiful little spot and again we were reminded of how much money had been pumped into modern day Dubai. Cocktails were good and so was the company. Thanks again Jen for grabbing the bill. We’ll repay the gesture one day.
Atlantis on the Palm. Magnificent splendour and opulence… you could also call it extravagance but really whatever you call it this hotel was a treat. The indoor aquarium and outdoor pool area were showstoppers. Nice way to end the night. No more aggression or controversy.