Monthly Archives: February 2006

Spinning in the rain

Dubaians have very different ways of dealing with the rain. Today’s example of flash floods, hail stones and cartoonish bolts of lightning provoked panic among the uninitiated masses. Drivers who are normally reluctant to use any kind of signals, sent their indicators, headlights, fog lights and hazard lights into overdrive; as a result, the Sheikh Zayed road had more flashing lights than a cheap Blackpool disco.

While the beach road was relatively calm, the highway had more than a touch of War of the Worlds about it, with cars skidding everywhere and debris flying. Dodging the traffic cone missiles, i was thankful that the real horror of WotW (a slightly possessed Tom Cruise) wasn’t leering out from behind a car. On arrival at work, one sentence from Mercy brought the day back to earth: “Oh, this is nothing – back home in Scotland, this is like a summer’s day.”

A drink and a byte to eat

A real estate company in Dubai has launched futuristic intelligent homes (they must be off-limit for blondes). This is all well and good, but this is a city that would rather pay a pittance for a real-live human to do the housework than pay a fortune for a robot to do it.

Apparently, they have invented a robotic bartender, which just seems to defeat the point. If I want a bartender, I want one with a cute smile and a cuter bum, not one with a metallic voice and a touch screen.

Feel the pain

Whoever knew piercing could be so dangerous. Clover, who is squeamish at the best of times, required fortification with a bottle of Bolly before she could contemplate changing her belly button ring.

It took two people to hold her down, and one to numb the area with muscle spray and change the metalwork, while she screamed the house down and I hid in the bathroom. Job done, we dispersed, until a traumatised Clover called / slurred on the phone: “Help, I forgot about the muscle relaxant and touched my face…. My cheek has collapsed and I look like I’ve had a stroke!” A couple of hours, a hangover and a serious attack of the munchies later, Clover’s face has recovered.

Inflight fantasy

After more than my fair share of flights on Emirates during December and January, I was left with no in-flight movie option apart from Dreamer, starring child prodigy Dakota Fanning (incidentally responsible for the only plausible bit of human emotive acting in War of the Worlds – the aliens were far superior).

The film centres around a racehorse who is saved from the bullet after a racing injury by her broke trainer. Apparently, the story was inspired by truth – and the fiction element was no more obvious than in one scene. When describing a great stallion, the character referred to him as “one of the greatest horses that ever raced – he even won the Dubai World Cup”.

Hmmmm. A horse being defined in its greatness as the winner of the Dubai World Cup is about as likely as Elvis working down the chip shop. Especially for the parochial Yanks, 99% of whom wouldn’t know where Dubai was, let alone send a horse to race there. Blatant product placement if ever I heard it…..

Hawk-eyed

Sheikh Zayed road is full of new billboards proclaiming the wonders of Falcon City – at least seven wonders at last count. It’s a shame that the logo looks nothing like a falcon (and looks like it says TC not FC) but I guess an apartment in Budgie City just wouldn’t be as desirable.

Incidentally, when googling Falcon City, it resulted in the following message from Google.

We’re sorry…… but your query looks similar to automated requests from a computer virus or spyware application. To protect our users, we can’t process your request right now.

Sinister forces at work? Quite possibly – and that’s before broaching the topic of why anyone would want to recreate the Eiffel Tower in the middle of the desert. As the Eiffel Tower isn’t one of the seven wonders of the world, it could be a sign of impending French invasion.

A day filled with zero romance

I hate Valentine’s Day. The concept doesn’t work on any level: if you’re single, it’ll make you depressed or worried you have a stalker. If you’re coupled up, it’s either a waste of money, or you get into trouble for forgetting / not giving a nice enough present / booking a swanky enough restaurant / honestly answering the question “does my bum look big in this”.

However you look at it, it’s one day a year that is guaranteed to go as limp as the cheap red roses from the petrol station forecourt. And this year, my February 14 hit a new record low when I was stood up by my gay best friend. Enough said.

All a-quiver

It seems that customs personnel at Dubai airport are really having to be vigilant these days. Following on from Mercy’s failed rabbit rescue mission, the uniforms had to pull over a modern-day Robin Hood. Clover’s new acquaintance Will got stopped a couple of days ago when entering the country with a bow and a quiver full of arrows.

After eight hours in their “care”, Will was released and sent on his way. Clover had to go and rescue him, and on grilling him, heard that his hobby was archery. While a commendable pastime, it’s probably not the best idea in the world to try and bring a medieval weapon through customs here – unless you’re planning to rob the rich and give to the poor in the tradition of that good ole folk hero from Ye Auld England.