Well. I thought I’d never get to go back to the sandpit again. But I did. Truth be told, I didn’t even know I would be there two weeks before flying in. Short, sweet and left me longing for more. I kind of felt blue on the way back. Not having seen everyone I wanted to see. I have on the other hand caught up with my vitamin D and some much needed alcohol. Weird in a Muslim country you might think. But Dubai is everything and it’s opposite. You have my word.
I knew I was back the moment I sat myself in the aircraft. I had absolutely wiped the fact that Emirates is in fact India’s national airline. Completely forgot how dependent on such a strong diaspora a single operation could be. Without Indian expatriates. Emirates wouldn’t be where it is now. And this can be a cultural shock to many non-acclimatised individuals such as the retired couple sitting across the aisle from me. It was a spectacle they had never experienced, it was probably their first trip abroad after some 60 years of hard labor at work. Poor souls, lost in the tornado of the boarding process that is an Emirates Airline flight to Dubai. Trying to figure out what was to come next after a rather large family finally sorted themselves, their kids, and their grand-parents down for what was to be a un-eventful flight over most of Eastern Europe and most of Irak… The couple seemed lost in their thoughts, mesmerized by the sight : a cabin packed with loud, expressive and overwhelming passengers (I assumed they were from Delhi, I could be wrong, but from past experiences, I’m pretty certain). Anyway, the flight went on, pax were fed, albeit in a weird sequence… I think the SFS got lost with meal carts at some point. The right side of Aft cabin being left to starve. This includes my rather large family of overwhelming Asians and their obvious gargantuan appetite.
The second phase of me realizing I was finally back to Dubai, was to be my Metro ride. I was eagerly looking forward to my early morning eye-opener on this state of the art piece of infrastructure. But alas. My hopes were doomed the moment I got to the escalators leading up to the platform. The damned thing was only opening at 1 pm on this Friday morning. I was going to miss on the joys of having to mingle with Filipino maids and over-reactive middle-class businessmen hooked on their Blackberries… Instead, I was kindly directed to the taxi rank and the much appreciated, always copied but never equaled Dubai Taxis and all it entails.
I was pleasantly surprised though. Always being the lucky bugger out there, I was mentally preparing myself for some sweat infused air-con, foot odors wafting through my nostrils and some nasty grunting from the driver at 7 in the morning. Instead, I got a rather swank, clean shaven, and very polite young man in a brand new people-carrier. Way to go Dubai, you’re getting there. Although, my happiness dampened when I checked the pricing of these official taxis from the airport. An added 25 AED to top the already sizable amount of dosh I would have to cough for this first ride from downtown Deira to the other side of the desert, in Al Barsha, all of this just because the Metro wasn’t operating that particular morning… Got over the mishap rather swiftly… In fact as soon as I sat down to have breakfast in the Greens (at Bert’s) with some fresh orange juice, the heat rising significantly and the sun disappearing behind an indescribable dust haze… I knew this was going to be quality vacaycayhs! Did I mention the soundtrack to my taxi ride ? No, don’t think so, give it a spin right now while you read on :
[mp3] Angus & Julia Stone – Draw Your Swords [audio:https://sodwee.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/11-Draw-Your-Swords.mp3|titles=Draw Your Swords]
So arrived pretty early in the sandpit. I had to wait for Wesley to rock up from his New York flight which was arriving at about 8.30 am… As he was my host for the little week ! Thanks Wesley. He got home, wrecked, as you’d expect from a JFK flight… So we decided to catch up on some sleep with a power nap before unleashing the inner-party-animal in us…
I was to meet up with Greg, my long time friend and ab-inito in crime here in Dubai (along with the rest of the French mafia) as he wanted to attend the closing party of club-amaze 360 near the Burj Al Arab on the beach… So we did, but not before checking on Nivine and her new pad, her new life and not so knew shopping habits. We met in Dubai Mall (where else ?) where she was scavenging some swag at a random shop. Met her there, half-way through buying the whole stock of shoes and dresses they had… Poor shop assistants, had to go back and forth between the shelves and the changing rooms. They got a deal in the end. She spent quite a fortune. Gurls…. Ended in California Pizza Kitchen, by the world famous Burj Khalifa Fountains. Catching up on some long overdue gossip. Turns out she now drives in Dubai, which I thought was kind of courageous. But not only does she drive in Dubai, she drives pretty well. Passive-agressive driving, like it mucho. Especially when you line-up with some pricks at traffic lights and show them how it’s done… go Nivine !
So we finally get in 360 with Greg, Francoise and Brigitte to only get back home at unholy hours of the night. We danced the night away, smiling hidiously at how lucky we were to be here, beneath the mammoth 7 star joint, in the fresh nightly sea breeze passing through. We had a ball. Such a laugh. With a pair of party animals on the loose, it’s bound to be. Having been to a few after-parties after that. We finally make it home. Just before sunrise and after a much needed Subway Sub in place of breakfast : did the job.
Poolside afternoons, mall-hoping, sun-taning, and music indulging was on our agendas. We did all that, and here’s my favourite so far. The one track I will keep :
[mp3] GusGus – Within You [audio:https://sodwee.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/1-05-Within-You.mp3|titles=GusGus – Within You]
Being back in Dubai sure was creepy, and being back in the same building I inaugurated (see videos below) was even weirder. A gut feeling ran through every single elevator ride past floor number 2. I didn’t dare go near my previous flat… I dunno why, maybe the sheer thought of running into “Othmeister” was enough of a deterrent (kidding of course). Either way I enjoyed seeing how built-up is has become around the place. Got my usual Wagamama Katsu Curry run and some poolside action in for good measure, much to Wesley’s despair… lol.
In spite of all the hate, the highlight (I’m pretty shameless) of the week was the quiet, gentle night at Zinc. A crew’s hotspot on Mondays in Dubai. I purposely worked the flights schedules around to include a pit-stop in the famed watering hole. Only this time I wasn’t going to enjoy the free Facecard entry and cheap drinks (got round that actually). The place hasn’t changed that much. But I think it has become worse over time. I remember having great nights in there. But maybe it’s because I don’t get the crew jokes no more or something. But this time round, the vibe wasn’t pumping like it used to. People weren’t has open-minded or maybe I wasn’t as approachable. I don’t know. Anyway, music-wise, same shit, different Monday really. A night to be forgotten if it wasn’t for the weirdest after-party in Millenium
we managed we had the privilege to attend… I will not develop any further, but one thing I can share, is that we had the almighty pleasure of checking out some of the coolest view upon Business Bay and the whole of Downtown Dubai including Burj Khalifa Tower… The cider came in handy at that point too, because it was near sunrise. Kudos to the french mafia again, thinking of Moos, Wahid, Maxime and of course the Brazilian gang that, took care, had to bear with me and my non-crew status for the whole night. You will not get any pictures of the night, as I was cameraless, and above all, camera-shy. It also applies for the rest of the trip…sorry.
The next day was spent recovering from that Monday Madness, and the previous night at Rock Bottom. Lazing around in the heat, taking dips here and there. Steaming away in the sauna and so forth was the awesome plan. A quick hop to another mall far out in the desert (Outlet Mall) for a well deserved pair of jeans, and a taxi ride later we were back, knackered, in front of a movie… The next tune is taken from a famous travel program here in France, the french readers will definitely get it :
[mp3] Fabrice Viel – Transe Air [audio:https://sodwee.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/transe_air.mp3|titles=Fabrice Viel – Transe Air]
Also had a brief catchup with Mel, landlordess of Tampax Towers blog and Blogging Royalty in the Middle East. I answered a distress call of hers on her way back from Baku Eurovision Song Contest (don’t ask why the Eurovision, I can’t even get my head round it). Met up at the break of dawn in *gasp* Terminal 1. I secretly wished it was terminal 3 but didn’t phase as she appeared. She needed extra hand with her luggage back home… Caught up in the taxi, as you do…. Just random happenings. Overly Random but oh so Dubai. Nice to see her.
And that pretty much sums the whole adventures, except for one thing. My flight back. Delayed for bad weather conditions on inbound flight. FOG galore and mayhem in Dubai. Had the feeling it was going to be a kerfuffle as I stepped out of Nivine’s place in Business Bay. I just couldn’t see my shoes. And the taxi driver was being overly cautious on the roads too. Didn’t miss a beat, we were delayed for 2 hours, thankfully, they have a brand new, jazzy smoking section on the old concourse with glass windows that you can actually see through. Which made the wait a little more bearable. Other than that, the flight was pretty much smooth. Mother picked me up to sunshine and 20 degrees. Only 20 less than I could enjoy 7 hours prior… meh.
Thanks to Wesley, for putting me up and having to endure my presence. All the others whom I said I’d see, but didn’t have the time to. To Danilo, Mariana, Flavia, Misato, Jarad, Wahid, Moos, Greg, Nivine, Brigitte, Francoise, Mathieu… and everyone I’ve not mentioned. It was great.
I’ll let you go with this fantastic track from Moonlight Matters (who remixed plenty of A-list DJs) from his debut EP called “Come For Me” and I feel it will end up being a summer hit and because it’s just damn good, catchy and jumpy :