Saturday, July 14, 2012

Only in Dubai

One of the many future(istic) building planned for Dubai
And so it seems the hurley-burley is done - the battle won – for the moment and we are on the West Coast of South Africa for the summer (which is winter here) holidays.  I have been thinking of writing an “Only in Dubai “blog for a while now and I thought before I tell you more about the winter on the West Coast I should get this done. 

Dubai in many aspects is beyond belief, larger than life, an amazing place where east and west meet in a delicious blend of tradition and opulent splendor.  Leopards at the Vet, Lamborghini traffic jams, houses that can be mistaken for shopping malls, shopping malls the size of small countries and then livestock in the passenger seat and wives in the back. 

Stretch Limos are so last Tuesday - stretch Hummer
This is the place where the middle class car is a long wheel base 4x4, a license can cost more than a car and recently in a name-and-shame campaign it came to light that a gentleman has accumulated 300 000 Dhs  - around R700 000 – worth  of traffic fines over the last year.  Dubai is the birthplace of the (DON”T TRY THIS AT HOME) driver stunt where you tip your 4x4 so it drives on only two wheels while the passenger lights his Zippo on the tarmac outside his window. 

I opened my bank account at 9:30 at night, sitting in deep leather armchairs while waiting – and I am just a regular housewife-not-allowed-to-work, I can’t imagine the treatment reserved for high powered executives.  We do grocery shopping as a rule around nine at night since most stores are open till midnight – some later.

Diamonds - not on the soles 
The norm is to stop outside smaller shops (this include fast food places) and hoot.  The shop attendant will then rush outside, take your order and deliver it to your window, while you wait in the comfort of your air conditioned car.  Pizza- and other fast food places deliver to right where you are – be it in the park or on the beach.  It is perfectly acceptable to have your seven year old’s birthday party at a five star hotel - you can always progress to seven stars for later birthdays.

For little Princesses

There are Prada, Gucci, Fendi and Calvin Klein baby gear in shops and the smells of a thousand spices in the streets.  Men and Women smell equally nice and if you think perfume vending machines are a bit OTT: an Indian businessman has recently announced that they will be placing gold (jewelry) vending machines in some of the larger malls.  I have also discovered the first “Hello Kitty” day spa for little princesses that recently opened in Jumeira Town Centre. 
Perfume vending machine

The cherry on top of this Burj of delights came when Cat Boy and Geordi Bird (morning show on Dubai radio) told the story about a submarine found on the JBR beach:   

So there was this 34 year old Turkish Marketing manager who bought himself a two-seater submarine ( …… ) which he took out for a test drive (dive) only to discover after about a half an hour that is was leaking.  He steered it over to the closest dry land and - I imagine - huffed and puffed a bit dragging it out of the water, but gave up after a while and left it there - it weighs 567kg – after having removed the battery “so no one can use it.”

The police finally tracked him down after two days and he was charged with illegally cruising in Dubai waters in an unregistered submarine.

… only in Dubai :)

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