I will be honest. I was reluctant to
book a trip to decadent Dubai. It was not my kind of a place & did not excite me in the least. It is just that all of us were so tired of travelling to ‘difficult’ places and wanted an easier trip. And, at the end of the trip, me, in all my flabby middle-aged glory, am more than ready to run away with a rich Arab so that I can live here forever .

One of the most fascinating aspect was the unique distinctive fragrance of oud/bakhoor in hotels & malls & everywhere else. Even the smell of burj khalifa is a unique blend of 18 or so such fragrances. I will always associate the fragrance with Dubai from now on.

I wasn’t even aware that I was holding stereotypical notions about Arab men until they were broken. I do not know why I was under the impression that they would be reluctant to talk to women. This was definitely not so. An Arab man requested me to take a photo of him with his disabled son in the pool. He told me about his son and I took lots of photos of them. Our Arab desert tour guide gave me the impression that they love Indians. They even learn Hindi in schools. Of course, one swallow does not a summer make, but because these experiences are positive, I’m willing to go on holding these positive perceptions about Arab men.

Travelling through the Arabian desert while listening to Arabic songs was an amazing experience. There was another Russian family with us & I praised Russia so profusely (even telling them that I like Putin) that they were delighted. It definitely broke the ice. (I had to stop myself from bringing the US into the mix). One Arab, 3 Russians & 3 Indians experienced the Arabian desert together. This is what real travel is all about. [I also told each and every Mallu taxi driver we met, about how Kerala is my favourite state in India. Hee, Hee, Hee. They looked at me as if they did not fully agree but I went ahead, every time, anyway].

Dubai also has the pomphret & the Bombil. This was what clinched the deal & FINALLY I could eat Malvani cuisine to my heart’s content. Bliss.

I never really cared for Lebanese cuisine in the UK but the Lebanese food that you get here, is to die for. I will be seeking out more such Lebanese places in London but why do I get the feeling that they are never really going to match up?

It was heartening to see some Arabic influence even in the malls. Prevents it from being a totally soulless experience.

As always, I get the feeling – what the hell am I doing in the UK? It is DULL, DULL, DULL.


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