I’m writing this post during, and as a mental escape from, my fourteen-hour stopover in Dubai before I finally get to India. This is going to be a moany piece so I’m going to put it all into fourteen segments and make each segment a bullet point. For fun.
– As soon as I landed in Dubai, I ran to brush my teeth at the first ladies’ toilet available. I didn’t stop to think about not drinking tap water. Oh, shitting hell. (Maybe literally.)
– I asked at the info desk about leaving the airport during my stopover. Once the woman assured me it was fine, and told me when check-in would begin this evening, I stood there like a lost puppy. I asked what I should do and where I should go. She asked me what I wanted to do. I said, "I just want to see Dubai… Like, the main bit of Dubai." Never in my life have I felt more like Collin Frissle from Love Actually. "Take me to a bar. Just your average American bar." What losers. At least his day ended with a five-way. I didn’t think mine would be quite so fruitful.
– I wasn’t sure why I was being stared at on the Metro. I assumed it was because I was the only westerner in the carriage… But as soon as I’d finished my granola bar, I realised I was being stared at because I was the only stupid westerner in the carriage that didn’t know about The Rules. I clocked the sign above my neighbour’s head: "Strictly no eating or drinking. Penalty fare 100Dhs." Oops.
– I was then unsure if my carriage chums were glaring disapprovingly at the crumbs I’d unknowingly sprinkled around myself, my unshaven lower-calves or my footwear. My new chunky brown walking boots proudly screamed "VEGETARIAN SHOES" from their tongues while everyone on the train kept their mouths firmly shut.
– Before you say, ‘Mate… You had FOURTEEN HOURS to kill. You could have left the mall,’ may I just point out how easily-lost I can get, and how much my mother has instilled in us that YOU GET TO THE AIRPORT WITH AT LEAST SEVENTY-TWO HOURS TO SPARE IN CASE SOMETHING SHOULD HAPPEN ALONG THE WAY.
– After seven endless human conveyer-belts, I got to Dubai Mall. I don’t like shopping, so my first plan was to see their famous aquarium that’s plonked right in the middle of the action. I looked at the miserable fish while everyone else took family photos holding up ‘peace signs’ and the sharks and rays looked on, considerably less at-peace. My phone’s camera broke whilst I tried to take an I’m-sad-because-the-fish-are-sad selfie. The Mall didn’t like my attempt at making a point.
– I wanted to go up The World’s Fastest Lift to get to the top of The World’s Tallest Building but it cost £66 so I went for a poo in the World’s Largest Mall’s toilets instead.
– When I saw Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe, that was it.
– I went outside. It was very hot. I didn’t want to get lost or overtired from walking about in the dry heat. I sat on a wall in the shade, took my boots off, aired my sweaty, pink, swollen little piggies and did a sudoku.
– A few puzzles later, I went to the mall’s cinema to watch "The Girl on The Train" with a mango slushy. I took my walking boots off again and probably put everyone in the theatre off their nachos and Halal hotdogs. Not a bad film. Emily Blunt plays a maniac very well.
– I was trying not to look at the time because watched clocks never let you leave Dubai, but I’d hoped the film had lasted as long as it felt it had. It was less than two hours. I bought an espresso as an excuse for a sit-down in a big comfy armchair, and did another Sudoku.
– I decided it was time to go back to the airport, so after another half hour of trying to escape, I neared the exit… Not before nonchalantly strolling into the men’s toilets and taking too long to notice myself, though. I dragged myself back to the Metro, seeking the promise of a snack-less sit down. My iPod’s shuffle then proceeded to ram the nail in the coffin with the song that I associate with my ex.
– It’s only now that I realise that all I’ve had to eat today was the forbidden granola bar and a packet of Walkers Prawn Cocktail crisps I’d bought in my final WHSmiths spree at Heathrow. I normally eat at least four meals a day. I’m really hungry.
– I feel like how I feel after spending too many hours in London. All this air-conditioning is making me sneeze and I’m starting to think I’m allergic to this city. I feel homesick for India without having even stepped foot in it yet. I may be whinging and annoying but tomorrow is another day, and after I’ve had a sleep on a metal bench and a falafel I’ll be back to peeing my pants in anticipation for my real travels.
I don’t think I’ll be coming back to Dubai anytime soon… Except maybe for a mango slushy.