In Route to City in the Sand. Dubai.

17 Jan

Jan. 6, 2010

The flight from Cape Town to Dubai.

On Emirates Air. One of the premier airlines of the world, and now I get why. These people pay attention to detail. Like Disney detail… Even the flight attendants’ lips are all painted the same shade of red. Perfectly coiffed. Serving FREE booze with a smile.

What else? Movies are recent. Chairs recline. Bin space big enough for a small animals. Food is digestible. Bread served warm. Full can of coke. And, I was sitting in toilet class. Literally, two rows away from the flusher.

The downside to the flight was sitting a stones throw from a two year old who cried, talked, moaned and cried 10+ hours. I felt like the Twilight Zone, where I was on a flight from Orlando toooooo Hell, where all the kids are either revved up to see Mickey or screaming to leave the little rat. Either way, its surround-sound loudness.

On this flight, the father was in charge. Mom looked like she could not be bothered. I wondered about their relationship. Based on dress alone, they were a conservative, Muslim family. The mother was covered. The father was not. Yet, the father was responsible for tending to his child, not the mother. She watched movies and slept. Maybe they had some arrangement of “she’s yours to Dubai and she’s mine to Damascus.”

Couldn’t figure it out… Made up a lot of stories to by the end of it, I was super-mom and knew I could settle down the little girl. Please remember, this nonsense comes from the girl who opted to mow lawns instead of babysit.

First movie on the docket was Eat, Pray, Love. You can read about my review in the next blog. Imagine that I have an opinion about the movie??!! After EPL, I moved onto a Woody Allen movie called Meet a Tall Dark Handsome Man. Never been into Woody Allen, but liked the title. It was OK. Never figured out who the TDHM is for Anthony Hopkins and Antonio Bandares both come in around 5’7 on a good day. And, I think Antonio Banderas has a rolling eye… So, I’m still waiting. Maybe TDHM is in his traditional costume, waiting for me at airport border security.

Oh, funniest thing happened to me. Apparently, when I say the word “water” it sounds to the South African ear, I’m saying the word “wine.” No joke. First time it happened was at an outdoor restaurant in Kei Mouth.

We’re riding horses. Stopped for lunch. Asked for “water.” The woman did not understand me. I repeated it three times. She said, “wine?” Second time this occurred was at lunch in Cape Town. I asked for “water” and the waiter asked if I liked the “house or wine list?” Well, maybe I looked liked I needed wine, so I ordered the house white. Third time, was on the flight from Cape Town to Dubai. Instead of water, lip-stick lady gave me a small bottle of FREE wine. Since, she handed over the whole mini-bottle, I ordered another once the kid started cranking it up into high gear.

Americans, in general, don’t use a hard “T” when saying “water.” And, we jumbled it together in one syllable. Whereas, British English pronounces the word “wa-ter” in two syllables, with a harsh “T.” So, warning to future travelers, you may be getting a fair share of wine when visiting South Africa. It worked for me…

—————

Just landed at Dubai airport. The immaculate, pressed, gleaming men flanked in their white robes and red-checkered hats greeted me at border patrol. No more green uniforms, these Emirates border patrol dudes can turn out. This meant, there’s bleach in the city built in the sand. So, far, so good.. I’m liking Dubai.

In line next to me, were eight Chinese men wearing germ masks. All of them couldn’t be carriers of swine, dog, avian or rodent flu. I just stared at them and wondered what message they’re sending. Was the message, “your city is as polluted as mine? Or, you don’t want what I have?” The masks made me nervous. And, I just don’t get it…

I’m next in line. And, I’m the one singled out, not the mask fearing men. Can’t figure out why it’s always the tall blond in Arab countries. Do I look like I’m going to hurt someone? Or, is it my adorable allure after sitting near a toilet for 10 hours.

If it’s this hard to get into Dubai, I can only imagine what it is going to be like leaving this place… Israel comes to mind. I exhale. Look around. Roll my eyes. And, try not to look annoyed. I wanted to say, just take me. And, make sure the holding cell has a goose-down pillow and tempurpedic mattress. I’m tired.

So, Dubai border patrol agent called over his twin in a white robe. They pointed at my passport and laughed. I could hear them saying my name. They continued to laugh. Looked around the room. Never looking at me. I followed their gaze. Are they calling in the reserves. I just stand. Shift my weight back and forth. Why smile. No use.

The twin wrote something down in Arabic. Fab. They kept on talking. I stood. Looked around. After much conversation, the young lad in white stamped my passport, smiled real big and said “Welcome to Dubai.” Now, I’m spooked. Wonder if they are selling me into Royal sex slavery? Back to reality. They brought in reinforcements for my passport looks like it was stapled together at the Dollar Store. I get it.

Right now, I’m at the Hilton in Dubai. Waiting for my room. Got here at 7 am and it’s around 9 am. A cute Italian family is skyping next to me. Gosh, I love their accent. I just want to scream out PREGO and Gellato and Cioa Bella! Sounded as if he’s saying Bellini, as in the drink. Start early in Italy.

Irritated with the Hilton for they want to charge me an additional $50 for internet and fruit/pastries per day. I can’t believe the Hilton can get by with this…

And, tell me again WHY am I in Dubai? Oh, to see concrete, kitty litter, steel, asphalt, white robes, and seven-star hotels in their glory…

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