Monday, 21 January 2008

Jono Returns to the Sand Pit

Late last year it was decided that Jono would return to the pit because he had such a great time here in September. After scrambling for flights the that returned before the school term began at the end of January, he managed to book a seat with my little airline and flew in on the 10th. I of course had no luck with swapping my roster to be here to collect him from the airport, but Jena was here to let him in and welcome him back.

I returned from Accra the following morning to a lovely sight - he'd decorated my room with all sorts of goodies from home!! Think packets of strawberry & cream lollies, Allen's snakes, jars of perinaise, sprinkles for my cupcakes, a cupcake book and A CUPCAKE STAND!!!! There were tim tams and all sorts of yummies.

We set about welcoming Jono back in the best way we know - a boozy brunch!!!

Jono celebrated his 25th birthday the day he flew back to Brissie, so it was a perfect early birthday celebration.

Off we went to Yalumba, the scene of many a boozy brunch - think back to Easter last year! A gorgeous Australian restaurant at one of the airport hotels, it serves unlimited Bollinger champagne and a fantastic a la carte menu and buffet. When I made the booking, I told them it was for Jon's birthday and when we arrived, our table was strewn with streamers, party hats and balloons. What a promising day! We started off very civilised and then smashed the champagne. The food was fantastic, as always, and we found it hard to eat as much as we wanted! The major challenge of a boozy brunch is to FINISH (completely drain) a glass of bubbly. The super attentive staff at Yalumba make it near impossible to do so, as they're always at your shoulder with a massive bottle, ready to slosh it into your glass. Jono and I managed to sneakily finish a glass and much cheering was heard.

I discovered THE BEST sheppard's pie and potato bake and that's all I wanted to munch on. The lobster wasn't bad (I've had better on board) and the surprise chocolate birthday cake was out-of-this-world good! We demolished it in every sense of the word. Initially we were going to have a little sample and bring it home, but then temptation (and being pissed) got the better of us and we literally destroyed it.

Once it hit 3.30 and brunch was over, we hit the dance floor along with about 100 other very drunk (mostly Aussie) patrons and danced until we had to take off our shoes. Well I had to take mine off. Very classy indeed!

We dragged ourselves out of bed the next morning and set off for lunch before heading out to do a spot of shopping. Jono was interested in getting a suit and as the Dubai Shopping Festival was on, we thought it was the perfect time to go bargain hunting! And bargains we found! We weren't so successful with suits, but found Jono a gorgeous Cashmere coat, jumper and a lovely scarf.

Still in suit-hunting mode, we scooted over to the other side of town to visit Babu - my tailor. We say Babu has "the vision" because when we go and describe what we want to him, he whips his pen out, draws it freehand and makes remarkably good clothes. When we're a little unsure, he always knows what we want. By the time we battled with traffic and our slight hangovers, we were both feeling the need for a nap. Jono was a bit bamboozled by the dazzling array of fabrics at Babu's and we quickly selected one, got him measured up and after some discussions on what type of suit we wanted we were out of there! Spending too much time in that part of town can send a perfectly normal person pretty crazy - the symphony of car horns is deafening, the screeching traffic at a standstill and incredibly short light changes all make for a good dose of road rage. This was the general area of my traffic fine (which I'm still silently fuming about) and many an afternoon spent sitting for hours in the car, while the trip inside only takes 20 minutes.

After spending much of the year overseas and working in far north Queensland and fishing on the weekends, Jono was in need of a private-school-appropriate-teacher-haircut. On advice of fellow Aussie cabin crew, we wandered down the road to visit Charles. There are two gay stylists at the salon and we've heard that one of them puts on a mighty good show - think checking himself out in the mirror WHILE he's cutting hair, pouting and prancing and generally being as camp as a row of tents. We were hopeful, but got stuck with the older, more sedate of the two - who still managed a good haircut.

Dubai's yearly rainfall is usually 4 days of very light showers. In the last two years, we've been seeing at least a week of consistent drizzle and moderate rain and this year we witnessed FLASH FLOODING for most of the time Jono was here. We sat inside in the safety of Yo! Sushi and watched the rain fall and nibbled on delicious freshly prepared sushi from the sushi train. I demolished platefuls of steamed beans, while Jono made it his mission to try EVERY dish with fish on it.

The following day was spent marveling at the fact that Sheikh Zayed road was CLOSED. A few friends went downstairs and were taking pictures of themselves standing in the middle of the road and lying down on it. A truly once in a lifetime opportunity to be alone on a 12 lane super-highway. The roads were all closed and it took so long to drive out to Festival City for lunch that we honestly thought we could have walked there faster! We kept our eyes peeled puma and peacocks and all sorts of exotic wildlife as we drove past the Sheikh's palace and tried to busy ourselves with singing along to the radio to pass the time. Didn't work so well. After a few wrong turns down roads I'm not familiar with due to the closures of the roads I DID know, we were rather amused to find ourselves on a road that was meant to be closed. It was just us. And a lone police cruiser that drove past - I was terrified that I wasn't meant to have driven over that flattened rope barrier and I'd be shot on site by over-enthusiastic coppers looking for target practice. You can imagine our frustration when we finally arrived at our destination to be told by security that nothing was open due to the "public holiday". When pushed for a further explanation about this holiday we'd never heard about, we were told it was in honour of His Excellency George Bush. What a bloody joke! Not only was it not a real public holiday (of which this country has oodles), it was pointless, as His Highness wasn't likely to be visiting Ikea that day. It was really just an excuse for everyone to come in late for work or have the day off. For a country with the majority of the world's crane population and the enormous amount of work going on here, there sure are a lot of lazy people!

After huffing and puffing, we settled on a delicious Lebanese feast close to home. Jono had a turn driving my little car home and announced that he thought she was great. We drive left hand drive cars in Dubai, so adjusting to a manual on the other side of the road was a big deal for me. Subsequently, I very rarely sit in the passenger seat of my car, so having him driving it was a bit scary, as I kept thinking he was going to side-swipe everything on my side of the road!

Much drinking and eating was done during Jono's visit and much fun and adventures were had. Having him back in Dubai as another great opportunity to try out some new restaurants and a gorgeous rooftop bar that has a stunning view of Dubai's coast line at night. Babu did a fantastic job on Jon's suit and he can't wait to wear it to a wedding he's going to in Finland in July. On his second last day here, Jono treated himself to an old-fashioned face shave with a razor and lather and came out baby smooth and smelling delicious!!

While it's fantastic to have visitors from home, I'm heading home in April on leave and can't wait to catch up with everyone. I've got 2 weeks of blissful ham sandwiches and fish & chips and cuddles with my cats to look forward to and I just can't wait!!!

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