Dubai – Part 1
OK, as I’ve said to some people, in some ways I have a lot to talk about because I’m in a new country and all that, but in others I feel like I don’t have much to say because I haven’t done a whole lot.
This is going to be a bit of a shambles and out-of-order but I’ll try to give y’all the gist. Basically what I’m doing is a 6 week contract playing every night in one of the restaurants inside the Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai. I’m playing with a singer called Galina who I know from WAAPA. We get provided with accommodation, food, access to hotel facilities as well as getting good pay for the actual gig, so it’s a pretty sweet deal.
So I flew Singapore Airlines to Singapore (5 hours), had a couple of hours stopover then flew to Dubai (7 hours). The first stint to Singapore I watched a couple of movies (Fast and Furious 4 and X Men Origins: Wolverine). They were both good. Jumanji was also on offer, but no Twister. The second leg to Dubai I just dozed. When I got into Dubai I managed to sync up with the time OK, there’s only six hours difference though.
At the moment I’m not actually staying in the hotel, I’m staying in a compound just outside it, across the street. It’s a bit like an up-market ECU Student Village, without the riff-raff, crossed with Tatooine (although the photo I took of it happens to have the only bit of greenery in sight, although you can see the Burj Al Arab in the background). I don’t mind it though, it’s slightly inconvenient having to ‘travel’ to the hotel to eat and play but it’s only about 600m. The compound is full of other musicians that play in the same hotel as me or other hotels. There’s also a bunch of students because there is a hospitality training thing here where the students work in the hotels. We’re going to be moving into the hotel in a few days though, but into one of the areas that are reserved for bodyguards or assistants. Not a suite, because they’re reserved for the people who fork out at least $3000 or something a night 😮
There are three hotels near here. The Madinat, which is really a complex with as two hotels in it as well as a whole bunch of other shops. It’s supposed to be in the style of some old Arabian palace kind of thing. The Burj Al Arab, where I am working. One more: Jumeirah Beach Hotel. They’re all really close by and all part of the Jumeirah group of hotels in the Jumeirah suburb of Dubai.
The Burj Al Arab:
I have photos of the other two, but that’ll have to wait until the next blog due to technology.
OK, now that that’s out of the road I’ll tell you a bit about the Burj Al Arab. It’s supposed to be ‘most luxurious hotel in the world’ and ‘the world’s only 7 star hotel’. It is fairly decadent, but really it’s about the same as any 5 star hotel. It gets the extra bit because most of the things there are either brand name things or specially imported exclusive for the hotel. The sheets are Versace, the coffee is specially imported from Italy exclusively for Burj Al Arab, etc. There are also not many guests, capacity-wise, and a lot of staff so you get looked after properly as well as having privacy. Whatever.
It’s a bit weird though with it being empty. There are more trainers in the gym than people using it and they’re bored out of their minds. Quite often I’m the only person there, the most there has ever been has been four. I don’t mind though because it means I get one-on-one personal training whenever the hell I want. Been to the swimming pool a few times. No-one else around. Whatever.
The first weekend when I got in we went to Galina’s house in Al Ain which is about an hour and a half from Dubai. I watched the Geelong vs Collingwood game with Galina’s husband, Drew, who is also a mad cats fan. Also watched the granny there the following week. Cat Attack. Their house is supposed to be just a standard middle-class house but we would consider it a mansion. Everything’s big. Big bedrooms, monster living rooms, big kitchen, etc. But I suppose they need to make space for a typical Arab’s husband and his three wives and brood. Whatever.
The cars here are crazy. Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Porsches, you name it. As well as luxury Rolls Royces worth about 700k each. Last night some Sheikh turned up in some obscure Dutch-made futuristic sports car with a million. Nutters.
This is proper desert. Like Disney’s Aladdin’s desert. Sand dunes. There are seven different types of sand in the UAE that make up the seven Emirates of the UAE. The sand around Dubai is fairly light yellow. Normal sand. The sand around Al Ain is very red. There’s a boring fact for you all.
I’ll leave you with a few shots of the hotel and the place where Galina and I perform. As I said earlier, I’m not really sure what to say so if you have any questions or requests for photos go ahead and I’ll bung ’em into the next blog.
The photos of the restaurant is the restaurant I get to eat at. It’s supposed to be like the ‘casual pool-side cafe’. It’s just your typical hotel buffet kind of thing. Good stuff though. I also put up a couple of photos of amusing signs I found in front of a couple of houses.