Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Postcard From Dubai #2

It is prayer-time, and I can hear the prayers bellowed out through loudspeakers from the near-by mosque. The view from the balcony is dust-coloured; the horizon disappears in the clouds of sand that swirl around the city, the buildings are almost without exception, also the colour of sand. The impression is that everything could melt back into the desert given a strong enough breeze.

Last night I convinced Mr Smith to go to Deira to see the gold and spice souks (shopping is insufferably dull to him, no matter how exotic the location). We caught an abra across the river, for 1 dirham (about forty cents). The English translation for abra appears to be ‘water-taxi’, which sounds quite sophisticated, but really these things are little more than planks with a motor. Passengers sit around the edge of this water-borne plank, and the driver aims to tip us all into the water by smashing into other abra, and veering into the bow-waves of other boats. The locals cheer with excitement at this. The exotic riches of the souks seemed positively dull by comparison.

Being a Muslim country, there are restrictions on the availability of alcohol; it is only available at hotel bars. We are not staying in a hotel. Mr Smith will pay for this unforgivable transgression dearly. However, I found a bar at a nearby hotel, and watched a curious scene unfold. Above the door, there was a sign that said ‘Members Only.’ I, of course, ignored this, sailed past the security guard, and found a suitable table by the door. Men came and went, but I noticed that women were being turned away. The women (all Asian) seemed quite familiar with the guard, and attempted to wheedle their way in, but he would insist that they could not. After some time, he would wave them in. I wondered why I entered unchallenged.

Insatiably nosey, I asked the guard why the women weren’t allowed in. He looked disconcerted, and mumbled that they were not members. I didn’t bother to point out that I wasn't either. Further observation revealed that the women were eventually permitted to enter, shortly after they slipped the guard something. Bribes? I decided in the end they were hookers. Perhaps some of my dear readers can enlighten me.

Leaving Dubai tomorrow morning, and heading off to Europe, which is good, as I need new shoes.

Mrs Smith


Cactus Kate said...

You are white (I assume).

We get in to all the clubs.

It's one of the perks of paleness.

unPC lesbian said...

Maybe the doorman thought by letting them in he was delaying construction progress. One assumes as they were all Asian they should be working in high rise.

New shoes, I swoon at the thought. I guess fake Chuckd for the child don't count.

Mrs Smith said...

Hurrah for being white!