Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A Day in the Life of.....

I am occasionally asked by friends and passengers about how a typical day off in Dubai would be spent by the average Flight Attendant living in Dubai. While i can only answer for myself I think it would be safe to say that there would be no such thing as an average day. I will take my day off today as a fine example.

This afternoon I went to lunch with my friends Dan and Freya, to a large corporate building which we had never been to before, right behind our own 53-storey building. Unsuspectingly this building housed a number of very impressive restaurants and among many things - a newly opened unisex beauty/hair salon. After unashamedly licking our fingers and remnants from our plates of quite possibly the world's best (Angus Beef) burger, Dan asked Freya and I if we would mind waiting while he went and tried the salon next door for a quick trim, to which of course we were most happy to oblige.

They quickly ushered Dan through the waiting room and behind a frosted glass door into the secret-men's-business style hair salon. Freya and I began to use this time wisely, assessing and objectively scrutinising their retail stock of nail polish brands and colours. Reading loudly to Freya the more humorous nail colour names "I'm not really a Waitress..........My Chihuahua Bites!" a slightly older, distinguished well dressed man interrupts, grinning at me - me who was possibly a waitress in denial who owns a rabid mongrel. "I notice" he begins, talking over the top of his glasses "that you are both new to this salon. I am the owner and I was wondering if you would like to enjoy a free hair hot oil treatment and blow dry while your friend is having his hair cut". At this point I notice him using the unfair advantage of height to eye off our untended tresses "perhaps you will be impressed by what you experience and one day will return" he finishes with. Being the more sceptical of us both I try to subtly give Freya the "nothing is for free" eyebrow raise at the very same time the words "why not!" escape out of her mouth. Then I remind myself that this was Dubai, and I had been shown before that it was possible to enjoy something for nothing in this city (ie cocktails on a ladies night, the Bollinger champagne give-away at the Easter brunch, grocery home delivery, a night at the Burj, golf cart transport etc etc).

Side by side we were eased into our basin-side reclining chairs before our friendly hairdressers started massaging us into a drooling comatose. After gently prodding us awake we were then escorted to some more seats for our hot oil hair treatment facilitated by a state of the art steaming machine. The hair oil ingredients (we were informed by the owner) was his own concoction and contained so many secret herbs and spices that even the Colonel would have had heart palpitations over (not his words). As Freya and I resumed our chatting over steaming cups of tea, and under our visibly steaming hair machine, I couldn't help but notice my feet were being lowered into a warm body of water. Looking down and to my left it became apparent that we were also being given manicures and pedicures!!

Unaware of this insane series of events, Daniel walks into the salon to find his patiently waiting friends being waited on (quite literally) hand and foot!! He shakes his head and starts laughing at the scene in front of him, I can see the question marks plastered all over his head and we gently advise him that it would be best if he continued on home without us while we see the rest of the treatments out.

An hour and a half later we both emerge from the salon with twinkling fingers and toes and seriously shiny hair. Of course the two of us were suckers to both a good deal and amazing service, and walked out armed with a wad of their business cards and a three month membership.

* Photos will be posted as soon as they come to hand!

Monday, April 02, 2007

A Day at the Races

On the weekend Dubai's glittering social event of the year once again graced its shores - The Dubai World Cup. The theme this year had been deemed (by a few of us girls) as being English garden party inspired. Using this vision as her tool, my friend Jessie played the role of perfect host by holding the pre-race drinks in her apartment with champagne, flowers, candles and lots of pink and white touches around the place. My contribution was home made smoked salmon blinis - which were eagerly received by the well perfumed and suited up attendees.

A picture perfect scene of pre-race festivities

No sooner had we all stepped out of the taxis and in front of the venue had Jessie decided to take a short cut downhill, off road, into terrain of quicksand consistency which devoured her dainty white peep toed silk shoes as easy prey. Holding dangerously still with her hands up in the air reaching for imaginary rope, and resembling something similar to that of a street performance artist, our friend Daniel precariously tip toed across and took Jess by the hand leading her with great chivalry back to the safety of bitumen. A quick footwear brush-off against the lush green turf and we were off and racing once again, clicking our heels through the not so festive metal detectors and baggage scanning points.

(L-R) Jess, Nat and I

First stop was the Ahlan tent/studio - Ahlan being Dubai's conservative answer to a trashy gossip magazine. Like well trained monkeys we (Jessie, Natalie, Dan and I) proceeded to snap into an array of poses as instructed by our follicly challenged European photographer on the count of each "THREE!!". The contorting and pouting in our heels was all très tiring and as such we continued our search for a well populated watering hole. After establishing our base camp and ascertaining that the closest bar did indeed stock Pimms we began to survey the immaculately dressed punters (I use this term loosely as betting in Dubai is illegal). One major difference I noted at these races compared to the ones I had been to at home, was the absence of actually being able to see the horses race in front of the masses, this would require entrance into a dry area. Needless to say I saw no horses that day.

Always an ingenious idea, I used this occasion to break in a new pair of towering black high heels. Thinking that my gel insert "party heels" would provide me with cushy satin like comfort all day I was sadly mistaken. Note to self: blisters cannot be numbed/prevented by marketing ploys involving pictures of masseuses and phrases like walking on clouds and floating on air. Instead my feet were making it clear by the end of the evening that walking on glass, fire or cactus plants was now an enticing option.

Rather than run the risk of perpetuating any race-day barefoot cliches, Natalie and I accosted the one-eyed driver of a passing golf buggy to give us a lift to the nearest first aid tent for some medical attention. We may or may not have stretched the truth somewhat as to my condition (ie glass wedged in foot) but what ever we said (or didn't say) worked! Our visually impaired driver took us with great speed and accuracy across grassy knolls and through the clusters of glossy girls and well dressed men until we reached an oasis of medical supplies. We were understandably met with some raised eyebrows and looks of disappointment from the first aid team when presented with the situation at hand but I was a desperate desperate woman - who was laughing uncontrollably at Natalie who was now getting trigger happy with her camera pointed squarely at me! With shoes firmly on, and blindingly white plasters beaming away from my feet we ended the day via our final golf buggy ride to the exit. Waving like two beauty pageant runners-up on a float, we stood perched on the back of the cart clinging onto the vehicle's roof frame giggling like a couple of school girls.

Me getting plastered