Arab Lab -the exhibition, and thereafter!!!
Saturday, Feb 9 – Arrival
06:00 AM (IST)
Jatin and I arrive at the IGI airport amidst some thick fog. We proceed thru the customs and security check without much haste. I am a little apprehensive, understandably so - since this is my first visit abroad and the customs officer might presume he has a “bakra” in his hands. I am briefed well by my brother and we breeze through with the customs official giving a customary glance at my goatee... wondering if the fellow in the Passport (from 1999) is the same fellow in front of him.
Security check takes about an hour.. cos’ we’re in the longest line and there is a change of guard at the security section.
I am hungry - so we settle down to devour some hot dogs (eesh at 7:30 AM). They even have a VEGETARIAN hot dog on offer these days!.
The airplane is firmly parked on the tarmac. Hey - what about the timely departure syndrome. We lift off at 08:45 and FYI - the Indian Airlines hostess is quite pretty - was expecting an old hag!! We’re still hungry - so a double helping of breakfast helps to quell the revolt of the rumbling tummy rats.
11:00 AM (DST)
The plane lands. I’m expecting drums and whistles. Nothing happens. Jatin is watching my excitement with a twinkle in his eye. He has gone through most of this in his years of international travel and has that “been there - done that” look.
It’s a long walk to the luggage collection area and my bag takes its own sweet time to round the bend. I was wondering if they forgot it in Delhi or sent in on a connecting flight to someplace else. No funny questions at the immigration check and we’re outside in the sun. Yep - it’s hot!! So off come the sweaters and we’re into a DUBAI TAXI. These are high end cars by Indian Road standards and it is heartening to hear HINDI music, even if the driver is Pakistani. He cracks a few jokes at Indias expense but we’re not in the mood to reply. He has been here for umpteen years and proceeds to give us a breakup of how life has worsened, prices have escalated and maybe things would have been different, had India not given up control of Dubai in 1963.
That last one was a bouncer and had us stumped. Both, Jatin and I looked at each others faces - perplexed and then just nodded in agreement. yes - things could have been different in Dubai
12:30 PM (DST)
The hotel - PALM BEACH - a 3 star establishment - reminds one of home. Mostly South asians here. There is the Punjabi family of 6 heckling with the guy at the travel desk for a good tour deal and there’s the bar christened - TODDY SHOP!! Our rooms are not yet ready - so we put the stuff with the concierge and attempt to get to the convention centre. We’re here on work after all!!
Try hailing down a Taxi here. They just don’t stop. And I don’t think that there are enough of them anyways!!
02:00 PM (DST)
We get to our destination after a bit of huffing and puffing. A few bureaucratic procedural minutes later - we arrive at our stall - 625 in hall 7! Our stuff is yet to come....
It arrives after some consternation and we take an hour to set things up. Most of the women are of chinese, korean or filipino origin The exception being the one who travelled with us from Delhi and the Gujju behn in the adjacent stall!
We finish our work and head back t the hotel. The room is still not ready. She offers a king size double bed ... but we’d rather wait and give them time to setup the twin beds!
A taxi is hailed and we set off to do some mall hopping in Dubai. The first stop is at the Mall of the Emirates. It is also the last stop of the day. This is HUGGEE.. and I mean like in a superlative of the term. It’s the one with an indoor snow park and has like - wow - tons of avenues to spend money. The only purchase today is my iWORK 08 software for my MACbook - cos that as necessary and it ain’t available in India. That purchase is the reason I was able to compose this blog post
We finish off with a Turkish meal at the restaurant - called PASHA. The kebabs were really filling and since neither of us had had lunch - we ran thru the portions served to us.
It must be something about the color of my skin. From the waiter in the restaurant who served us a bowl of bread short or the fact that the concierge is extra sweet with the FIRANGs. Yes - i understand that Indians are commonplace here - but it’s just that sometime you want to feel like a guest I’ve gotten better treatment in hotels in India with a lower Star rating. So both the brothers are bushed. We head back to the hotel and crash for the day! I sit up another 30 mins - putting thoughts to screen!
Tomorrow is another day....