Monday, 9 July 2007

The curse of the land of sand

Want to know what IRKS the hell out of me about Dubai? The list really could go on for hours, so I'll cut it back to my favourite few:

  • The shitty exchange rate
  • Taxi drivers
  • Unnecessary & completely UNDESERVED tipping
  • The heat
  • My building doesn't have opening windows
  • I miss home

Right, so the shitty exchange rate tops my list of pooey occurrences today. When I moved over, it was sitting at a solid 2.7, meaning that for every Aussie dollar one could get 2.7 dizzas. I'd estimate it sat solidly at that rate for a good year, and then we were all mortified that it rose to 3. That's right, THREE! So imagine my outrage, horror and disgust when I pranced into the magical money senders today clutching 3000 hard earned dizzas, thinking that it would score me a grand of Aussieness. Not so. The exchange rate today is teetering at about 3.1/3.2 depending on if you're buying or selling. Right, so that reduced my fabulous money to only $927 - and with great effort I used my phone calculator to work out what I'd have got a year and a half ago. I'd have got $1127!!!!!!!!!!!

That's right, the exchange rate has cost me $200 in the space of a year and a half! Who's to blame for my misery? I'm not sure yet, but you can bet your mouldy old boots that I'm going to track them down and throw fetid tomatoes at them!

Taxi drivers here are very odd people. Today a member of the Rastafarian brotherhood gave me a lift home from the magical money senders and it was a ride to remember. We were stationary on the lead up to the roundabout when the lights changed and he was rather heavy handed with his horn. The poor fellow in front of us stalled his attempt at a (very small) hill start and this caused Rasta to freak out and put all of his 120kgs or so directly onto the horn. Needless to say, we missed that light change.

Taxis in summer are not a pleasant experience. Scratch that, they're not a pleasant experience EVER but in summer they reach unbearable. Summer for many nationalities means extra deodorant and perfume to combat the 50+ temperatures each day. Taxi drivers clearly are exempt from this rule and getting into their vehicles is like climbing into a dark fetid space that has had an extremely old, off over sized emu egg explode in it. Rank. Putrid. Vulgar. REVOLTING. Those are a few words that easily spring to mind.

Rasta & his crib smelt ok, but the journey after we got clear of the roundabout was stop-start-stop-start-stop-start due to his dependence on having one foot planted squarely on the accelerator and the other on the break - and using them alternately. I was rather shaken once I'd arrived at my destination, but cheered myself up at the thought of washing my hair and getting ready for a tomato soup extravaganza at More Cafe with my good friend Ange.

Unnecessary & completely UNDESERVED tipping is next on my beef list. I did a quick calculation en route to the magical money senders and worked out (with the OLD exchange rate) that I tip approximately 3 dizzas per trip and I might use a taxi at least once each day that I'm in Dubai. The reality is that I'm probably in at least 3 taxis if I step out of the apartment, so my figures are rather modest. Bear with me. So, I've been here for abut 550 days now, and I'd say I've used taxis for about 300 of those. The rest I've been hibernating inside, on leave and actually working. So, 3 times 300 = 900. And according to the exchange rate of THREE, I've spend a whopping $300 on tipping. I hear you saying, tipping's not so bad. Well, in Dubai, I'm not tipping for service, nor a pleasant environment. I'm actually tipping for near-death-experience driving, nausea-inducing rank stench AND (my favourite) having to provide my own directions. Now remember, this is ON TOP of the fare that I have to pay. I can only thank my lucky stars that we're charged on distance travelled, not on time spent in the taxi like at home.

The heat in summer in Dubai is actually ok this year. Either I've grown accustomed to 50+ temperatures or it really isn't that hot. YET. So far so good. I've spent far too much time in the sun, but I really enjoy the heat up at the pool. I've cultivated quite a tan and yes Mum, I know it looks good now, but that I'll eventually look like Ashleigh's tan leather Jimmy Choo bag. However, the heat, combined with whatever bug it was I picked up in Accra in May caused me to almost faint at a super trendy club while wearing a little white dress. Not cool.

The fact that my building doesn't have opening windows, or doors didn't deter me from moving in a year and a half ago, but if Ash and I could secure ourselves a new apartment that did have such comodities AND didn't require us to move ANY of our stuff in order to move in, I'd jump at the chance! I'm feeling very nesty at the moment and DESPERATELY want a pet. Like a cat. Or a lapdog. Or anything with a pulse at this stage. But the reality of having a pet in a cramped three bedroom apartment with no opening orifices and combined with the fact that I was only here for about 6 days last month means I can't really have one.

Which leads me onto my next point: I miss home. So much. I have three cats and one dog and one brother at home and I miss them all. I've just come off three back to back Brissie trips, so am feeling the inevitable tug that home has when one spends 12 days out of a single month in her own bed with a warm little kitten to cuddle. I'm giving great thought to my prodigal return and am very eager to buy the pet poodle that Mum keeps telling me I can't have. Here's a tip people: she's going to be a black poodle and her name will be FIFI. We'll have Sunday afternoon walks at the beach and can meet up with Ange and her Schnauzer at New Farm Park. The two of us human girls will feast on pea & ham soup and the puppies can have water. Isn't that what dogs ingest in public?

Right, so now that I've had a rant and got it out of my system, I'm off to get ready for some serous soup. For the bargain price of about 22 dizzas, one can have a go at a MASSIVE pot of tomato with mozzarella cheese. My record is about 4 bowls. Then I need to lie very still for a few hours.

We'll see how I go tonight.

I'm off to Casablanca tomorrow (not happy but couldn't get rid of it), so who knows how long it'll be before I get my hands on the laptop again xxx

1 comment:

boardingpass said...

How about a goldfish?