Thursday, October 04, 2007

Hello Dubai? It's Blair From America.

Today was one of those days when everything is beautiful and people are kind. I had a "limo" driver pick me up at The Holiday Inn Downtown. Not really a limo but a nice car, and not really a screaming cabbie lying about petrol but a kind man who could carry on a decent conversation about politics and people from different cultures. He also knew a lot about Dubai. He was from India but has been working here for many years and loves it.
As we drove to my lunch date at The Burj Al Arab you could see Dubai is booming. Everywhere there are new skyscrapers going up and even a Metro system will be up and running by 2009. Dubai also will have the World's tallest building pretty soon. Even though Dubai is an opulent society, there isn't this obvious class difference you can see in other countries like in The Carribean. Dubai has a fluidity to it and people here seem happy and hard-working. But I get the feeling they are paid correctly for their hard work.
We arrived at the hotel and as I kindly disagreed with my driver about his tip, I wanted to pay him a little more- another fact here: people don't readily accept tips. There were two bell boys trying to put together my chair. They were at it for a few minutes because I was trying to get my driver to take the extra money. When I find a good driver you want to let him know you appreciate his awareness. I turned around and showed the two men how to put it together and they said, Oooooh, and smiled at me. I went into the hotel and it was just as I had imagined from the pictures online. The design is a futuristic post-modern: basically there are pod like cups that run up the inside of the hotel. The colors are all primary but the background is an elegant gold trim on all the sofas and floors.
I went to the 27th Floor for lunch. The view is humbling. You can see The Persian Gulf and the Finger Islands, the beach, it makes you feel stress-free just sitting up there. I was content smiling at the waiters and well, just smiling. The Maitre'De brought me a newspaper which I didn't need to read. I wasn't even bothered by the crying children in the restaurant or the constant tourists taking pictures. I ate my meal and then went to a quiet section of the restaurant and took pictures. I was saddened by the fact I had no one to share the experience with. Then I was sad that I wasn't staying here and I wanted to take a speedboat ride over to the Finger Islands. I vowed I would be back.
I used each bathroom the hotel had that was big enough for me. The bathrooms smelled like this smooth, citrus, perfume and so did the elevators. I took pictures of the bathrooms which spooked the woman working in it. But she worked here and I didn't know exactly when I would return.
I had a great conversation while waiting for my driver to return with an employee from Nigeria. I asked him if he ever ate up in the restaurant on the 27th Floor and he said oh yes, with a very big smile. He said he was awarded Best Employee and he got a free meal up there. He said it was very nice. I congratulated him. He was very kind.
I located the gift shop where items were extremely over-priced, it was like a trinkity-New York City Shop but in the World's Best Hotel. As I looked around the small shop there was a man tucked away in the corner praying. I felt embarrassed but I really needed woman's supplies. So after a few whispers with the young woman at the counter I got my supplies and left. I visited the beautiful bathrooms one last time and went outside and found my driver waiting. We drove away and I was happy.
The ride back he drove by the Gold Center for me. This looked like the old Dubai before The Boom. It was still clean and there seemed to be more people outside at this time because it would soon be the end of the day's fasting. As we drove back to the Holiday Inn Downtown you could see in front of each restaurant the chairs were ready for people to sit in and the waiters were all dressed and ready to take orders. Like the restaurants in front of the Mosques people were waiting too for 6pm to come. There wasn't an anxiety in the air, there was a happyness.
As we pulled up to the hotel the driver told me to call him if I needed a ride the next day. We were greeted by all my new friends: the giggly bell boy, the concierge, a new security guard whose uniform was too big for him, and another bell boy from my first day. There were all smiling and it took all of them to put the wheelchair together.
I went inside and ordered some sodas and went to sleep. I woke up with an odd ringing in my right ear. I thought something crawled in it and was playing a tuning fork. It went away after I shoved three Q-Tips in it. Maybe it's a parasite like in that "Star Trek" episode or maybe it's just a ringing that stopped. It was there then it was gone. Like a bad day, they come they go but I remembered today to le yesterday go, and pay attention or I would have missed today. The End For Now.


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