Wednesday, October 27, 2010

gggggggupcha, ggella gggella....

I’m sure my fans (like Jesus when he first started out, I have a small but devoted following of around 12 people) were wildly disappointed when I missed last week’s blog post.  I was airborne in more than one sense and unable to write.  Flying over the North Pole didn’t make me feel as high as you’d expect (blasted cloud cover) but I daresay the concoction of Excedrin, Neurofen, Antihistamine and several Bloody Mary’s did. God love Emirates Airlines and the near sexual favours I had to perform to secure my emergency exit seat. Verbal striptease I like to call it.

Because there really is a God out there, I was able to rest up my puffy airline ankles (where did my leg end and the foot begin?) overnight in Dubai.  But I need to start with my moment of arrival. After 17 hours of flying - sitting next to a woman from Iran whom I might add, was clearly competing with me for all the vodka and whiskey on the trolley - I was relieved to land on terra firma. Sitting stationary for an eternity left me unsure of whether my wobbly legs were very light, or very heavy.  Gravity I tell you. Gets me every time.

As we queued in the arrivals hall, I gazed round in wonder.  This, I decided, is what heaven must be like.  Every single surface has a sheen to it, the smell of expensive perfume permeated the air and the upright pillars that supported the well-lit ceiling were (I shit you not) white, with sparkly bits in the mix.  It was as if Dubai’s architectural sultan said “find me every shiny, twinkly surface that has ever been made and bring it hither for my construction”. Wait, was that violins I heard? A “NO CAMPING” sign would have completed the illusion for me.

But for the bad publicity that Islam has suffered over the last 9 years, the immigration officials looked almost angelic in their white Thobes and Ghutra’s.  I felt the effect would have been complete if they could have chosen garlands instead of black igals to hold their ghutras in place. I know black and white is classic but the contrast was all too harsh darling, all too harsh.

If French is the language of love, Italian the language of food and Afrikaans the language of clearing-your-throat, then surely Arabic is the language of cussing.  Why do they sound so pissed off the whole time? The noises they make are akin to someone’s last words as they are being garroted. Ggggggupcha gggella gggella gaaaaaa. Their much shaking of hands, heads and fingers reinforces my assumption.  I prayed they wouldn’t find a stray poppy seed from my breakfast roll amongst my clothes. I can’t imagine what they would sound like if they really were pissed off. 

I reflect on the graffiti that someone scratched onto the elevator door.  Aladdin. I wonder how many there are here? I consider scratching “open sesame” alongside but decide against it - hidden cameras are forever on my mind and I'm pretty sure the UAE has a zero tolerance attitude towards vandalism. I get to my room and flick the light switch.  Nothing.  I immediately assume that this is how they enforce “night-time is bed-time”.  After going through a series of stretching exercises that involve keeping the door open with my toe (picture a small shaft of corridor light) and feeling up every wall surface within reach, I eventually find a nifty little box that says “place card here”. Bingo, but how the hell am I supposed to find the dang box in the dark? Now I'm convinced that there are hidden cameras filming me and I am the butt end of some arabic joke. I'm impressed however, that they are realistic about the heat here. The windows don’t open at all. 

En route to the dining hall I stop at the hotel curio shop.  As you may know, permitted images on decor are limited and there's a lot of geometric shit going down on wall hangings and such, though they clearly have no problem with camels. Apparently, when it comes to Dubai men’s fashion, nothing goes better with metallic than metallic. I spot a leather jacket with fur trim for sale and have to wonder WTF? Do locals turn up the aircon full tilt just so they can have a chance to wear winter fashions? Also, from what I’ve seen on TV here so far, I can only say that costume design in Arabic countries must be a very dull career choice indeed. 

I will end my report on Dubai by saying this; they clearly pay no attention to time – 3am is no different to 3pm for them, their toilets have dangerously high water levels (maybe to encourage bidet use?), and if you want to see crushing crowds – go to the 18carrat section at the airport Gold shop. Oh, and perhaps steer away from anything that says "minced meat".  I don't doubt it.

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