ANNE and TASH'S TRIP travel blog

Souk From Hotel Window


13/04/2007

Dubai Traders Hotel

At two o'clock in the morning, my rooster alarm went off; repeatedly informing us it was six o five am. We both woke and I could not find the dastardly bird to deal it a lethal blow. After that it was all over for me. Tashie seemed to be asleep ok. The twin bedded room was so comfortable and came furnished with a marble bathroom. The bed linen was silky soft and the bed firm and comfortable.

I made a chamomile tea and thought about Dubai.

The purpose of our stopover this time was to luxuriate in the amenities of the hotel. We used the pool, the spa, ate a room service meal and watched yet more movies-saw some of "Age of Innocence." We got the laptop running, using the wireless from their business centre. We were both very happy with the ease of this service and the functioning of the laptop. Natasha is excellent with the remote control, and all the technological skills. She could show us our bill on the TV.

From the window of the pool area, we were able to see an area of white buildings, which seemed to have lots of mosques, which may have been the souk. We were not feeling adventurous enough to walk over there. We decided we would look on the way back from our trip.

Tashie commented frequently on the overcast sky, but I felt it looked like dust hanging in the smog. It was no clearer the next day. The temperature was posted as 35 degrees.

No upgrade on the plane, but Tashie thought it quite the nicest one she has been on-it was a Boeing 777, Emirates. There was a problem with the transport to the hotel. We waited a while, and then a man arrived with a standard sedan. He would not speak to us; just spoke to the girl from a type of Budget or Avis, called Patriot. He delivered us safely enough, after alternately standing stock still or hurtling through the jam packed streets, startling us with his driving, which resulted in the odd horn tooting every few hundred metres.

The staff was friendly and interested in helping us. They were professional in dealing with our needs and wants.

All other Westerners seemed relaxed. Mostly they were couples or women with young children. Immediately, the cultural differences were obvious. An instant impression that comes to mind is of one man who was organising two women in birkahs, one young girl with her face open and a boy in western dress. They were at the Patriot counter. The men on the streets outnumbered the women one hundred to one. The men in western clothing outnumbered those in traditional dress one thousand to one.

At the beginning of the flight English was the first language spoken on the announcements, but it was reversed as we approached Dubai.

At breakfast: sand sculptures, honey in the comb, chicken sausages, beef bacon, cinnamon sugar on pancakes, Danish, fruit, chicken wings done in black sauce. Zar Zar, the girl from Myanmar, delightful girl who explained that 50% of the staff is from Myanmar, 40 % from the Philippines, and the remainder from other countries. The Hotel Manager hails from Myanmar and recruits staff from there as he likes their manner. So do we.

Zar Zar enquired as to whether we liked the breakfast, and we assured her that, as Australians eat much Asian food, we were quite at home.

Lovely pot of tea. Tashie did not enjoy the coffee. We both made up for it with the delecable food.

Afterwards, we were given a copy of the Gulf News, Tashie and I had another swim.

At the airport we spoke with Abdul. We were at the Starbucks cafe waiting when he asked us if we were going to Barhain. It turned out that he was going to the Grand Prix the following day. He was a driver himself, "But not in that league." He was about 26, born in Saudi Arabia and raised in San Diego, of Saudi Arabian family. He liked living in Dubai, as the living was more open and cosmopolitan than in Saudi Arabia. He didn't work-"I don't need to." He was very interested in hearing all about Australia, but had never heard of Perth. We understood he knew about mining, as he commented on safety records in Australia.

We were intrigued by the white costume of some of the males and intend to find out more of its significance. Onward to Paris.

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