Tourists that know everything….

One of my oldest friends from the UK is now living in Dubai now.  He’s been here a few years with his wife and kids.  You can count the number of times he’s ventured out to the bars on one hand.  Apparently when you have a wife and kids – you are not allowed to go out?!

Anyway, some other friends from the UK are on holiday in Dubai and are staying with my pal who lives here.  I saw them in the UK last week and they were excited about coming.

On Friday evening I went over to see them and we all went out for a drink.  Which was where it all went wrong.

For starters, I had been out since lunchtime at a brunch, which means I was dressed in a polo shirt, jeans and trainers.  My ‘pals’ told me that I would not be allowed into a Dubai bar wearing trainers.  I begged to differ.  They kept up the argument for quite a while.  Even when I pointed out that out of the 4 of us, I was the only one who has actually been to the bar (Sofitel) and knew about the (lack of) dress code.

Nice view, but you get sick of it after a while.
Nice view, but you get sick of it after a while.

I also pointed out that the Sofitel bar, although nice, is not really somehere they’re going to like.  It’s rather pretentious. Expensive, full of false people and not really a party atmosphere that my pals were seeking.

When we arrived – we were asked if we had a reservation. – for a bar!  We managed to talk our way in and found a seat which looked at the Burj Khalifa.  This is where my pals pissed me off again.  They were saying how magnificent it is.  And it is, don’t get me wrong, but after looking at it day in, day out, you get used to it.  They ARGUED with me that each time I see it, I am amazed and taken aback?!  To a tourist, yes.  To a resident, it’s just another bloody building.

After half an hour or so, the management came over and hoofed us out of the seats – telling us they were reserved.

I explained to the ‘tourists’ that this is normal.  Some Emiraties will be coming in, buying expensive bottles of champagne which means they get the special service. That’s life here. Money is king.

Soon after, I got pretty fed up/bored with my friends naievty of the whole Dubai situation and made excuses to leave.

When someone lives somewhere – and had experienced something, they tend to speak with authority.   When I got here, I hit up Rafiq with all sorts of info from Sim cards to buying cars.  He has lived here a while, he knows the score.

So when my pals (tourists) start trying to tell me about places that I have experience in (albeit only a few months) then I get annoyed.

It’s the same in Thailand. I’d have a customer come through the door and tell ME how it is – with their new girlfriend who is ‘different’.

Trust me… experience, knowledge, know-how is invaluable.

Rant over.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wrap up of last year – by Flank.

People that are regulars to the Mango blog know about the shit I got up to last year in Thailand.

It was good but there was something missing….I guess too many assholes in BKK….

After Thailand, I zipped over to Europe (Lux and Belgium, France)…just to clear my head. I stayed with my cousin so, no big expenses apart from the Vodka budget…..Yes Lomeo, I know.

Ended up hooking up with a friend that I have known from childhood when we were little fuckers.

Hooked up….use your imagination……nice trip…(female friend u fuckers)

As far as RC goes, I fucked her off. To tedious wanting money every week. That would never happen.

images

 

The book on that is closed…..next one please. Poss go back to Thailand towards end of year.

Rock on.

Wings and Rings – (Dubai)

Each Wednesday, some buddies and I go out for dinner somewhere. My buddy is from Alabama, so this week thought we’d give him a taste of home and head to ‘Wings and Rings’ – a buffalo chicken kind of place.

imagesThe odd thing about this place is that you’d not walk past it in the street, you’ll not see any signs for it, and unless you knew it was there – you’d never happen upon it.

Set on the 2rd floor of a high-rise building, it’s not the 1st place you’d think to find a sports bar.

Wings and Rings is just that. Lots of large TV’s and fried food. What more could (and American) ask for?

Wednesday night at W&R happened to also be Ladies night – which meant 3 free drinks for our Lady friends. Nice one!

There should be a section for 'no kids allowed'
There should be a section for ‘no kids allowed’

 

If a drink costs around $10, it’s not hard to workout that it’s a pretty good deal. I’ve only ever seen things like ‘free entry’ or ‘10% discount’ for ladies. Never a set 3 free drinks without a commitment to purchase any after they’ve been hurled down the necks.

 

 

Miss Tim being Thai, I was looking to her to impress the gang by eating the hottest of the wings. Something she once did with some of my Insanity sauce in the Mango.   Old customers will recall I’d often get people to dip a cocktail stick in the sauce and taste/test it.   The heat was madness.

Miss Tim was often shaking her head at us and calling us something along the lines of a ‘bunch of homos’ – albeit in Thai. I was still the boss after all.

It was one of these occasions we dared Miss Tim to dip a chip (French fry) in the sauce and eat it. She not only dipped, but she actually scooped up a load of the sauce and ate it. She didn’t flinch, screw her face or nothing. Impressive.

However, that was long ago. We’re older and weaker now. Time for Miss Tim to see if she still ‘has it’.

My usual gripe about smoking in restaurants raises it’s head. I asked for non-smoking – which basically means we were seated at the back, on low tables by the kids arcade machines. Basically, it didn’t seem like fun at all.

Rafiq got us moved to the ‘adults’ tables – which, unfortunately meant we were now in the smoking area. A win for Rafiq – being a smoker.   Rafiq, it’s now 2015 and smoking is officially uncool now!

On the drinks menu, there are all sorts of things on offer under the ‘moonshine’ label – served in a (jam) jar. Very novel and gimmicky, just not very strong (moonshiny)! Tasty though.

This place gives you rather generous portions, so we made note not to order too much.

Starting with the appetizers, we ordered some ‘burn your ring’ wings and some nachos.

When they arrived, there was no fire or warning signs. We prompted Miss Tim to taste the red hot chicken to see if it was ‘fire’ hot. She wasn’t impressed.   In fact, she then asked which bowl had the hot ones, as she couldn’t tell by the taste. We then joined her and came to the same conclusion. It’s just not hot like we’re used to!

Don't expect a burning ring.
Don’t expect a burning ring.

 

More drinks flowed and at 8pm the girls were issued with their drinks vouchers – 3 each which covers Wines and House pours.

However, with a colorful cocktail menu, the girls were not too interested in the house pours and were hitting the hard stuff.   Fortunately our waitress was pretty good and took the vouchers as payment for the non-house drinks. Score!

 

The waitress was pretty hot at her job. I can’t say I have found anywhere yet to rival the waiting staff in America, but this girl was spot on with all the orders and didn’t need to write it all down. With all the different dishes, drinks, sauces – she memorized it all and recalled them back to us for confirmation. Very impressive.   I used to go nuts at the (old) Mango staff when the useless cows would get an order of ‘Burger and Fries’ wrong.

With our healthy portions of appetizers demolished and more drinking underway, we didn’t really fancy a main course, so we ordered some small items to nibble on.

We met the owner – a larger than life Brit who seemed pleasant enough.

All in all, a good way to burn a few hours.   We had to be aware of our surroundings (kids) when telling stories (of Lomeo and Jonas) but that aside, it’s definitely somewhere to visit again when the game is on and you want chicken and beer.

– Just bring your own hot sauce.

Small update….

Just arrived back in Dubai after spending a week in the UK.    I still like the UK.  London is buzzing.

With all this flying around and spending time enjoying myself, I am finding it increasingly difficult to find time for the blog.

I shall at some point get back to Thailand (hopefully next month) and see what the troops have been upto.

If I can’t think of anything to fill these pages…   I think I’ll just ‘switch it off’!

It was fun while it lasted, but now I just don’t have the time.

Will see.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekend living….

Living in the UAE is fun, there is no denying it. But, you do need a little more cash here than you’d need in Thailand that’s for sure.

On Fridays, most of the hotels run an all you can eat/drink brunch. Prices range from 200AED (1700) to the higher end 700AED (6000thb). The higher end are full of the ‘h-so’ people who are totally glammed up and drink champagne. The lower end are the ‘normal’ people who like to have a laugh and get drunk after their meal. It’s a bit of a tradition.

We like the brunches
We like the brunches

The only problem with hitting the drink hard after lunch is that by 5pm you’re pretty much done. Unless you have a little nap, re-group and then head on out into the night. At my age, the little nap ends it all.

That leaves Saturday. What to do? Well, there is a fantastic beach of course, shopping, skiing, sand dune climbing etc.. but Miss Tim and I being adrenaline junkies decided to hit the gokart track with some of our pals.

I’ve been to a fair few gokart tracks in my time, but none of them have come close to the quality of the one here. It’s probably unfair to compare the one here to say, one in Thailand as the one in Thailand (Hua Hin) appears to have been created on a tight/limited budget.

At the track, you’re given racing suits, (new) gloves and crash helmets that are not 30 years old and have no padding left. You’re given safety briefings and clear instructions on how to navigate round the track. They even do a lap behind the pace-car so you can learn the racing-line. All very civilized indeed.

When you register on arrival, it’s all done on a touch screen computer on the wall which takes your photo. When you’re due to race, your photo appears on the screen and you’re given the number of a kart. Each race you are given a different kart – just to keep things fair.

gokart

At the end of each race – you receive an e-mail of the timings of the session. Real good fun. There were a bunch of fit youngsters who spend a lot of time there racing each other each week. I think I did pretty well to come 3rd and make it onto the podium. Not bad for a guy who must be twice their age and weight!

Prices – I think was somewhere around 300AED for 2 x 15 minutes sessions – which is enough. We did 4 x 15 minute sessions mid-week and it were knackered by the end of it. Two sessions is enough.

Compared with Hua Hin – it’s not cheap, the cars not so good, there are on lap timings and you’re given manky old safety clothing. No race suits. It’s just a little too ‘amateur showtime’ for my liking.

In the evenings, Miss Tim and I like to go for a little walk around the Burj Kalifa. It’s interesting to see all the Ferrari’s, Lambos and other posers. Often there is a biker wheelie-ing down the road showing off. Miss Tim asks why he does that – which I respond ‘because he can’.

Popped into a nice little bar called the Left Bank close to the Fountain (well, next to it). It was Ladies night when we went – unknown to us. All ladies get 3 Free drinks which is pretty good!

Of course, there is the darker side to Dubai that is well written about. I am keeping Miss Tim far from that – for the simple reason that we have a real nice place around us. Spectacular views, restaurants and bars. No need to expose ourselves to places that are not so nice.

Some of the darker places here – really are seedier than a lot of the places in Thailand. I’ve been to some grotty places in Thailand in my dark and (not so) distant past, but the lower-end bars here really can be a turn off. For those of you that know Washington Square of old, if I tell you those places were probably more respectable than the seedy places here – you’ll have an idea.

I had to laugh, the other night Miss Tim and I went to see one of my oldest friends who moved out here a few years ago. His wife told us how she didn’t sleep for a week when she heard I was moving out here! Apparently I am a bad influence on her husband!! That’ll explain the message I received from her the 1st night I went out with him here.. I received it around 3am and it said “Tell my husband to get his ass home. This is not acceptable”!
– I got the blame for that one.

Looks like I am heading to the UK in a few days – so I’ll be leaving Miss Tim alone with the debit card. She has been good so far and has not bought one pair of shoes. I can only think she is lining up her kill.

Miss Tim maybe heading back to Thailand a little earlier than planned as I have to hit the sky and go on some business trips. I’ll head back to Thailand next month for a bit of a rest too – and then bring her back here.

Carry on

Thai in Dubai

Miss Tim arrived on Thursday night. Although she had the Emirates Limo service to bring her to my apartment, I went to the airport to meet her anyway.

She breezed through immigration and customs as to be expected – except for having to physically open her eyes wide for the camera to scan her eyes. With the amount of Asians coming through Dubai you’d have thought they would have better cameras.

We didn’t arrive home until 8:30. No time to waste so we took a little walk to the Fountain to see the water show.   The Fountain is a 10 minute walk from where I live. Pretty cool.

10 mins from HQ.
10 mins from HQ.

The next day we were invited to Brunch with the boss. Brunch at the Westin Hotel. These brunches are a bit of Dubai tradition on a Friday. Basically you pay between 200 and 700AED  (depending on the bar) and eat/drink as much as you like for 4 hours.

The Westin is at the higher end of the table and costs 680AED (approx 6k bht). This basically means you have to eat & drink a lot to get your monies worth.

After 4 we headed to Barasti bar for a few sun-downers.   I love the view of this bar. It’s right opposite the Torch building that went up in flames a few weeks ago. When the sun goes down and all the lights in the sky-scrapers go on – it’s a real cool sight.

8pm was approaching so we set of for another bar ‘downtown’. Drinking all day really is a younger mans sport. We’re just too old for this.

Home by 10 and we were out for the count.

Next day was…. Shopping Day!   The Dubai Mall being the biggest in the world was not something that was going to go unnoticed by Miss Tim. – it even has an App!

After a few hours of walking around the Mall and the Fountain – we returned to base camp with a single purchase. A Rice maker.  Typical Thai.

Thinking I has forced a lot of Dubai onto Miss Tim, I thought I’d take her out to a Thai Restaurant for a taste of home cooking.

Unfortunately the food (for me) was shite.  Miss Tim likes it though.

The rest of the week has been uneventful really. I suffered from a dodgy stomach and felt like crap for a number of days now.

Now getting back to normal now that the weekend is almost upon us.

It’s almost Brunch-time again!

Next on the list to do is the Go-Karting and to get myself a car…..

Miss Tim is liking Dubai.
Miss Tim is liking Dubai.

1 Month in Dubai – Some photos

Life in Dubai has been passing at 1000mph this past month.   Moving into an apartment is a ball ache which takes time. After shelling out a years rent up front, then getting the electric, water and internet connected is not exactly the easiest thing to do in the world.

Still, it’s all done now. Moved in, internet up and running, knives, forks and Marmite are now in the cupboards. All that’s missing now is Miss Tim.

I’ve sent out the Batsign… hopefully she’ll be here at the end of the week.

Some pictures for you… of my time here so far….

Drunken one night… 3am munchies. This guy is actually wearing Simpson pajamas!

Must have been a bet?
Must have been a bet?

Some tasty cars here for sure. We all know that. The money these people have can only be described as ‘vulgar’.   I’ve found a car I want – but it’s no way in the league of the average Joe here.   It’s does have a 5.7ltr engine though. More on that later.

Yeah, but is he happy?
Yeah, but is he happy?

When Lambos and Bentleys are ten a penny…. This is a real head turner….

still don't know what it is?
still don’t know what it is?

I still can’t express how impressive the Dubai skyline is when driving through Downtown. Truly awesome.

One of the things I like about my new Downtown apartment is the coffee shop. Perfect place to grab a bit of breakfast and take in the early morning sun. Not a bad view either…

The view as I come out of my front door.
The view as I come out of my front door.

I’ll be happy when Miss Tim get here – so I can share it all with her. I have a good circle of pals here which is cool, but there are things I want to do which really isn’t appropriate with a bunch of guys.

This is a nice little trendy bar called the Barasti. For me, I’ll take this view over the Golden Bar any day.

It's just 'nicer' than the bars I am used to.
It’s just ‘nicer’ than the bars I am used to.

As I am now working 9 to 5, just trying to make a living, people are asking me what is Miss Tim going to do to amuse herself while I am at work? Well, apart from sleeping, the Dubai Mall is within walking distance. The Dubai Mall being the largest in the world I am told. What do Malls have?
– shoes. I sent her this picture I took the other day.

This is going to cost me...
This is going to cost me…

Dubai is expensive. Compared to Bangkok.. Bangkok is a bargain. I’ve been burning through cash like Jonas goes through women. I am putting it down to settling in and getting to know the place. Now it’s been a month and Miss Tim is inbound, I can calm it down a little.

Having said that – there are an awful lot of shoe shops here.