The humidity would’ve killed a lesser man

I was in Dubai two weeks ago, attending a conference.  For those of you who are geographically challenged, Dubai is a bright lights, big city in the desert. For those of you who are climatically challenged, September is the start of autumn for the residents of this massive outdoor sauna and the change of season means they change their description of the heat from “hof AF” to “hot as hell”.  The problem is that Dubai is on the coast, so for non-residents the heat remains best described as “hot AF.”  The humidity is a killer.

I almost died, every time I had to walk from the hotel lobby to the conference facility.  One would think that a conference facility would be inside the hotel but no. One had to go outside and walk like 50 meters or so.  And I’m not exaggerating about evading the sickle of the Grim Reaper because attending a conference in Dubai implies having to wear a suit.  It seems that businessmen over there like to dress up for death. Continue reading

Advertisements

Sir, which knife do you prefer?

Strolled into a steakhouse in Dubai, aptly called “Hunters” as the Italian restaurant only started serving food at seven.  It was 18h15 and I was hungry.  Sue me. No pasta then.

The waiter asked if I was on my own as he couldn’t see my imaginary friend. It’s a hippo in a tutu and her name is Angelique.  (I’ve been alone for four days.) He directed me to a small table and insulted my hippo girlfriend further by removing her placemat.  Now I not only felt sad, I looked the part too. Fortunately there was no one in close proximity of where I was being forced to sit. Continue reading

The day the music died

The King of Saudi Arabia passed away yesterday at the age of 90.  Today some ex-pats are about to celebrate Australia day, which commemorates the first British fleet to arrive at the BIG island, more specifically Port Jackson in 1788.

So what does these two have days have in common?  Absolutely nothing.  Unless you are in Dubai.

The clash of cultures are evident in the way these two countries choose to remember the events. Continue reading

My return to the land of fantastic plastic and all things fake and wonderful

No it is not the USA, albeit an accurate description for half of the West Coast, for as my calculations show, that geographical area constitutes 114.38% of the global cosmetic industry.

I’m actually referring to Dubai. *insert gasp*

Photo by Wei Siong Low.  Not me.

Photo by Wei Siong Low. Not me.

I’m back at work and my annual holiday is a mere glimmer that is fading at the speed of light into a little speck, slipping from memory.  A once magnificent beast that has died and is now rotting in a field, taunting people with a foul odour as they are passing by. Continue reading

How to have fun in an elevator.

You know those little cubicles going up and down transporting people in close proximity of one another.  Some people call it lifts, other elevators.  It’s a reality of placing people, who under normal circumstances, wouldn’t be seen dead with each other, in very close proximity for a few moments of their lives.

Ok, why is there no woman featured in this picture? Probably a corporate sign in Saudi.

And no one talks in those sullen seconds, not even married couples dare raise their voices, (noted in some relationships it’s a blessing) as if there some rule about not making a sound when ascending or descending dizzying heights.  It was even more evident whilst travelling in Dubai again, for the sheer height of the buildings make those moments a tad longer.

This made me think of ways to entertain whilst in those bizarre situations of modern human existence.  Just imagine, a few years from now, someone invents an elevator to the moon.. Are we still just going to shut up and look down at our feet for the full trip?  I say NO, so here is a few ways to break the ice.  It might also result in a few broken legs, but if you can run fast, I’m sure you’ll be fine.  Just check your medical cover as a precaution.

1. Fart.  Aim for the silent but violent type so that no-one expects you to be the culprit.  Then start focusing on the old lady in the corner.  Don’t worry there will always be an old lady in an elevator.  I think some of them live there.

2. When you get in, don’t turn around and look at the door.  It’s exactly where it’s always been, nothing changed.  The same crack still sits three inches from the floor, and the weird-looking dirt spot on the mirror still reminds you of an episode of Dexter.  This time just stare at the rest of the people.   See if you can catch someone’s eye.  If you have zombie genes and can refrain from blinking, all the more entertaining.

3. When you get into the elevator, continue with your fictitious phone call with the hired killer, finalising the hit on your mother-in-law.  It works a lot better in a foreign city where no one knows how much you actually love the old lady.  Not to be confused with the old lady referenced in point 1.

4. Once you’re in, lean seductively against the wall.  Release your best pervert imitation by licking your lips, rubbing your nipple, and the other crazy un-sexy stuff these people do.  But aim all of your energy to the guy on your left.  This is where speed and hoping the guy you picked is not a cage fighter will probably save your life.

5. Get in and repeat number 4, but this time look in the mirror whilst doing it.  Love yourself, for if you don’t who else will?

6. Look real nervous, migrate to the back and start rambling random shit about being stuck in this damn thing for seven hours the day before and your knee operation doesn’t allow you to use the stairs.  Then escalate your ramblings to poor maintenance, lack of safety standards, budgets cuts and profit maximization.  You’ll probably have to wait until everyone has exited before getting a chance to leave as well,

7. Push all the buttons of the lift as you get in.  It might be wise not to get into the lift as well once you’ve done it, but here speed will play another important role.  If you can’t and you have to travel with some very annoyed people, take out your ventriloquist doll you were hiding in your pants.  Oh, you don’t have one? Odd…  Moving on.

8.  Push floor 32 (assuming your entering a building with more than 32 floors) and when the doors open just stand right in front of the opened doors and don’t move.  Once the doors close, press 32 again.

9. Get in, sit down and start chanting an ancient native Indian song. If you don’t know one, knowing I might be dealing with amateurs, just make funny noises.  The effect will be the same.

10.  Start talking to your imaginary friend, the 12-year old Boxing Kangaroo named Spot.  Yes, you can talk about bed wetting if you really want too.

All this will be greatly enhanced if you can do it whilst dressed in a suit or other formal looking attire.  So go out there, find a lift and have fun.  To use the words of the Joker, not that we’re in any way connected: “Why so Serious?”  Yes start with that…

Sandwich’ed in

Sorry for being a little inactive in my posts.  I left on a jet plane, soared across the African Savannah, made my way over the pirate invested waters of Somalia and dropped down in Dubai, the capital of all things fake OR of human achievement. (Depending on your point of view.) But this is not a post about my love-hate relationship with the famous city, this is about something much more serious, it’s about my new-found sympathy for cheese. And peanut butter.

Cramped

Isn’t flying awesome?
Borrowed from http://www.blog.air-supply.com

Since the credit crunch/world recession/American bank bail-out, business travel have become far less glamorous than the fly-hotel-meeting-fly-hotel-meeting-fly reality it actually is. For now businessmen, unless you are real top brass, are forced to span the globe with Joe and family.

Not that it really bothers me, as I don’t care where I sit after four glasses of wine. With that being said at 6″4′, I appreciate the emergency exit as much as the next guy. And fortunately I have stunning good looks for I always seem to get one. Did I say always?

This specific flight to Dubai was filled to capacity and I was wondering if some of these people would be forced to sit on the roof like those Indian trains and ferry’s and buses we always see on the news. There was moments where I panicked, thinking a zombie apocalypse hit South Africa and the only safe place on earth was a massive mall in the middle of the desert. Relax, it wasn’t the case.

When I finally reached the check-in counter, I showed all of my not-quite-white teeth and charmed my socks off to get my favourite spot on the plane. Needless to say, the bitch at the counter had a massive fight with her boyfriend that morning and now hated all men.  It also took away her ability to smile. So I got stuck with a seat in the middle. Yes people not even an isle.

Some sanity prevailed as I didn’t call her out for what I thought she really was, and through clenched teeth I swallowed my pride and opted for a last resort, a seat as close to the front of the plane as possible, for at least I could disembark quickly on arrival.  (I wanted to use “get-off quickly” but that would just been a cheap laugh.)

After I sat in the business lounge and took my “sleeping pills” I journeyed through the airport to the departing gate and ogled all passengers for who might be my neighbours for the next eight hours. Like any sane person I was hoping for a hotty on my left and a midget on my right, but I didn’t see either. Then we started boarding the plane. People seated in the back were boarding first, so I board last. (Think about that for a while.)

I struggled pass business class passengers with condescending looks, air hostesses putting jackets away and numerous others who were trying to fit a coffin in the overhead compartments. What are people thinking? If you can’t carry or lift it, then it doesn’t qualify as carry-on luggage. Check that shit in.

I came to a halt at my designated middle seat. Or rather what was left of it. On the seats next to mine were two of the heaviest people I have ever laid eyes upon as they were literally spilling over the arm rests. This is why some people feel that largely obese people should pay more per seat, as they literally occupy more space. I know, I know this implies every single South African politician, but that’s another story.  Getting back to me and the only thought I had: How am I going to fit in there and last for eight hours? I should have inserted my catheter.

I don’t want to generate nightmares so I’m cutting the story short, having some understanding that I would rather eat of my own arm before experiencing another flight like that one. Between all the touching, rubbing, body odour, bad breath, fighting for the hand rest and movies, dinner was served. Being the nice guy I am, I was passing cutlery, plates, glasses but there is a very good reason why I was fired as a waiter.

You guessed it, it got worse.  I spilled water on the lap of the guy to my right. He wasn’t impressed.  And now I was stuck between two people who didn’t even like me.

That’s why I have a sudden appreciation for cheese on a sandwich, stuck between two slices of bread.  From now on, I will only have cheese on toast, allowing the critter a right to breathe before I shove it in my mouth.

I’m sorry ya’ll, I get a little emotional without the wife. And kids.