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Thread: Dubai Perestroika.

  1. #1
    MANICHAEAN MANICHAEAN's Avatar
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    Dubai Perestroika.

    Dubai Perestroika.

    Chapter 1.

    It must have been sometime in the mid 1980’s that Dubai became for me, a stop off point between home in the UK and work tours in Iran. Initially it was just that; “a stopover” between flights. Heathrow to Dubai, night in a hotel, then a short hop in a small aircraft across the Gulf to the Islamic State of Iran.

    I cannot pinpoint exactly as to when this event got extended, and for what reasons, but I can only speculate based on memory.

    Iran had been a tough place to work: restrictive socially, forebodingly conservative, and with an ever-constant serpentine hint of menace. The ordinary Iranians I had met had been great and were extremely hospitable. But above that, one could never know Post Revolution, who exactly was in charge and pulling the levers.

    An expat crane operator on the construction project I worked on just happened to mention, innocently enough at the time, regards a budget hotel he stayed at when undertaking the same itinerary on home leave.

    “Clean,” he said.

    “Foods not bad, and there is a bar with draught beer downstairs.”

    On that basis, I decided to give it a try.

    Two different worlds.

    The flight from Asseluya on Iran's south west coast across to Dubai took only 30 minutes, and it was the usual take it or leave it Iran Air experience. Stewardesses with liquid dark eyes, in black chodra’s, a cheese roll, orange drink with straw and a propaganda pamphlet hyping up the national agricultural sector’s performance.

    Getting off in Dubai was the opposite; modern skyscrapers, broad freeways, opulence run riot, and glitz on steroids.

    This was naturally uplifting sea change. Taxi to the hotel, check-in, shower, quick change, then down to explore the bar on the ground floor for a beer.



    It's not common that I am wrong footed or surprised in life, but on this occasion, I must confess to having been so.

    I strode into what I initially perceived was an empty bar and ordering a beer, was feeling relaxed.

    But it was then that I realised that I was not alone.

    A series of multi directional “Pssssssst” hisses were directed at me.

    Turning, I perceived groups of young ladies; of indeterminate backgrounds and pedigrees, sitting in alcove tables, smiling and beckoning me with suggestive forefingers and eyes full of jungle commercial emotion.

    It's not that I’m normally the reserved “No sex please. I’m British,” type of guy; but there was the feeling of the deer in the rifle sights syndrome that kicked in.

    I was actually embarrassed. No male hunter dominance. I was the hunted, figuratively speaking. Twixt the wrong side of Styx and Lethe.

    A nearby overhead TV provided a temporary degree of equipoise, as I took what I hoped was a disciplined poise, pretending to be engrossed in some banal Emirates football game.

    Help was further strengthened upon the entry of another European looking male.

    He had popped in for what in Britain we refer to as “a swift half,” before engaging in the more serious weekend pursuits. I’m pretty sure that I initiated the conversation; explaining that this was my first time in Dubai, and that I was surprised at the proliferation of nubile night fighters, quite at odds to the place I had left.

    It soon transpired that he was a resident of Dubai and knew the town well. For he suggested that the current watering hole was in his eyes quite dead, and that he was on his way to the Palm Jumeirah Skorpeus Club in the Emerald Palace Kempinski to spend the evening.

    “Would I like to tag along?”

    “Much more lively.”

    “You bet your sweet ***,” or some such other reply, would have been my likely reply.



    The first impression of the Skorpeus upon getting past the doorman, were of a bar longer than that even in the Hong Kong Business Lounge. And encompassed within this promising feature, were the promising aspects of; mirrors, strobe lights, disco music and wall to wall crumpet.

    It made my hotel bar look like something out of Famine Relief. The cliental, mainly female, were of all sizes, hues, nationalities and demeanors.

    But in common they were all dressed to kill.

    A saturnalia of; noise, ambiance and barely suppressed passion that the ancient Romans would have been proud of.

    It was, to put it succinctly, “A nice location to have bad habits in.”

    By now I was acclimatizing to this town. It was akin my dream and intentions later in life, of spending my declining years in long term care with ex-carnival queen nurses, staffing a Rio de Janeiro nursing home. Ronnie Biggs move over.

    My new found friend was obviously well known, and was soon pulled off further down the bar by one night fighter. As for myself, I settled into a coign of advantage with a rather attractive looking blonde with a promising balcony and calm green eyes. She looked like the kind of girl who could function under strain.

    In 19th century England the politest way to refer to a lady’s bosom was to comment that she had “a fine neck”; but perhaps in those particular circumstances and at that time, it would have been a definitive anachronism in poor taste.

    She turned out to be Russian, and devoid of absolutely zero English.

    Now this, the reader may gather, is where the perestroika or glasnost comes in.

    Have you ever tried chatting up someone who you are attracted to, but don’t speak the language? Hand signals can only go so far; although for most Italians it would have been less challenging. To them, speech and gestures are the equivalent of being bilingual.

    No, I had to somehow conjure up words that connected with her. But this was not easy, in what was now on my part becoming an increasing inebriating state.

    But game she was.

    She matched me drink for drink. She was durable, and while I slurred, dragging up words like; “Moscow, vodka, Dostoevsky, dacha, Kremlin, Stalin, Gorbachev & Yeltsin,” in a string of meaningless attempts to get through, she smiled indulgently, bless her.

    My friend from down the bar came up, and in a murmuring aside, whispered that the friend of his friend liked me. I looked in that direction and politely declined.

    I had put in too much work with green eyes, and anyway the new prospective nubile was so young, I had images of helping her with her school homework.



    I will not bore the reader with subsequent exploits back at the hotel; suffice to say that we had a very pleasant few days together. I recount that I even took her shopping and brought her a pair of pale green shoes to match her eyes.



    When I returned to England we never met again on subsequent visits, but I remembered her. It was a pleasant interlude.

    It was then, much later in life, when I became an actor and was asked to play the part of a Russian oligarch, that I remembered her again. I was experiencing difficulty with the Russian accent and had to hire a Ukrainian lady to give me lessons.

    But that’s a different story. It was a far cry from Perestroika in Dubai.

  2. #2
    A User, but Registered! tonywalt's Avatar
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    Enjoyed this one!

  3. #3
    MANICHAEAN MANICHAEAN's Avatar
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    Thank you Tony.

    I'm trying unsuccessfully to edit typo errors and the word repetition that I'm prone to, but no joy so far.

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