Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Day 3: Limes...like lemons except green, yes?

Today was a busy day.

Jason was out running errands and topping up our groceries for us so we were left to deal with the myriad of visitors we had at the villa today.

First, Deidre took a water delivery. Then, the plumbers came. How many plumbers does it take to fix a leaky tap? Evidently four, then a fifth gets called in. There was a lot of leaning and looking around going on. At one point I went upstairs and one of the five plumbers was leaning casually against the wall, arms folded, enjoying the view. But, as Deidre point out, her bathroom only holds 2 plumbers at best. Mine could accomodate a cricket team.

Then the pool boys came. Then, praise Allah, luggage delivery boy! One for Ashley and one for Terry. I would like to point out that I left PEI with 2 bags. This whole luggage fiasco is getting too funny. Let me recap, because I need to vent into the ether. If you are not interested in my ravings, proceed down to END OF STORY.

I arrived on Saturday. It is now Tuesday. There are about 6 direct Emirate flights from London every day to Dubai. When I sat down with the trainees at Dubai International upon arrival to file my report, the boss said upon consulting the computer, "Oh, Mr. Terry, it is now on its way on the 2PM flight that departed Heathrow". Again, that was Saturday. It is now Tuesday. I waited patiently for a day and then decided I would call Sunday night, "Oh, Mr. Terry, it is on the midnight flight. We will deliver it at 4 a.m. tomorrow morning." Now, I am on vacation so a 4am wakeup to receive luggage was not too damn appealing. And Jason is a fine house-boy, but I didn't think this would go over too well (we weren't aware of this late night carousing at this point either). I asked if it could be delayed a wee bit. "Oh, Mr. Terry, we would certainly do that for you." Finally! I should point out that at this point we were focussing on one of two bags. I sort of thought they would be travelling together so I didn't get too fussed. I notified Jason to stand ready to receive the bags upon his return from dropping us off for our Big Bus Tour starting at the Mall of the Emirates.

Our return to the villa after each outing is usually started by Jason greeting us with a bashful head shake and "No bags yet". And that's how it went yesterday. Apparently, though, they called on the villa cell while we were out which I did not hear on account of the windy open bus ride. He said I need to call them to get an e-mail address to e-mail the contents of my bag to 'identify'. I guess my baggage tag from Charlottetown, my name tag, and the contents description I gave trainee wasn't enough. Becoming a pro dealing with Emirates Baggage Services, I called and simply started with "Hi, This is Mr. Terry. My reference number is...."

"Oh, Mr. Terry, we are so happy you called. Your bag is here at the airport. We will send it out with a driver tomorrow tonight at 10 or 11. but we need your mobile number." OK, so I am not giving them my Canada cell as that would just confuse the hell out of them. I couldn't find the villa cell and was becoming tired and frustrated so I gave them our land number at the villa. This didn't impress them much even though I assured them I would be here and didn't plan on going anywhere on account I have no clean clothes. To keep them happy I gave them Jason's mobile number. Not wanting to confuse them....further confuse them...I hung up and handed the phone to Ashley to start all over with her bag. In the meantime I found the villa cell and asked her to have them update my file with the all important mobile number. So Ashley calls and hers AND MINE will be delivered the next morning at 7 or 8 the next morning! This is was THREE minutes after I spoke to them. When Ashley gave them the cell number for my file, they advised her that they already had Mr. Terry's cell number. I know drugs are totally forbidden/banned/inaccesible here, but I think they are on crack. Anyway, Ashley set the alarm and was in bag receiving mode at 6:30 a.m. Somewhere throughout all this Emirates called Jason at 10PM while he was out and about as well with assured delivery times.

I awoke this morning at 8:30 (on account that I didn't get to sleep until quite late as I was worried that the villa would burn down on account of a bit of an incident I had in the kitchen involving sparks, flames, tripped fuses, and a slightly sizzled electricity adaptor. Aren't you glad that you got the long story short on that one!) expecting to find my luggage. Silly Mr. Terry.But one bag of mine and Ashley's one and only arrived at about 2p.m. Still not second bag. I think I will call now.

"Oh, but Mr. Terry, your other bag was delivered last night."

END OF STORY (for now). Thanks for listening.

Jason drove us to the Souk Madinat Jemeirah which is a very cool mall in Arab architecture. All the stores are in a souk/alley style, but very nice and prices are fixed (albeit inflated). It was a gorgeous browsing experience and allowed us to get a sense of what prices are as they are not marked in the real souks. Some things were actually quite reasonably priced, but decided to go to the real souks to see what deals we could barter.

We rounded a corner and there was the Burj Al Arab - the closest we've been yet! It was a fantastic view, framed by the palm trees and the Arabic Architecture. Then Deidre spotted an Abra tour. An Abra is a small boat used frequently used in the region. I guess i forgot to mention that the Souk Medinat is a whole developement including fancy hotels - all connected by canals fed by the waters of the Arabian Gulf. If you are staying at one of the hotels or villas, you get to and fro by the Abra. For 50 dirham ($18) we had a 45 minute tour, captained by Sebastian from India.

Our return to the villa involved naps, snacks, internet, and swims. A stir fry ensued and Jason lit the tiki torches outside for us. We intended to observe a well-publicized earth hour at 8PM, but that was pretty well a bust. I guess we could have turned off one of the umpteen mood lights he turns on for us each evening, but we did turn out all the lights once supper was prepared as we dined al fresco...as we have done each evening.

We had been intending for a long time to walk along the street of the frond and tonight was the night! It was a gorgeous warm (not too warm) still night. Of course, we commented on each villa - it's size, landscaping, style and the vehicle parked in the drive. We played the license plate game. In this part of the world, the lower the license plate number, the more prestigious. So, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has number 1. I read in the Gulf Times that number 9 is up for auction. The lowest on this Frond was 778, but on our travels yesterday we saw 64 and 87.

A little pool, outdoor stereo and Bailey's on ice brings us to the present time -1AM. Lynda just went to bed, Ash sitting next to me on the Net, Dave is playing boxing on PS3, and Deidre is reading. We've realized that we have been intending to do laundry for three days now. Maybe tomorrow...after we return from Wild Wadi.

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