classy in Dubai? a weekend of indulgence
Every now and then we like to pretend that we’re a little bit classy – not a lot, just a little. So we sneak into classy resorts, do a little bit of dressing up, enjoy some classy meals, drinks and even the odd canape… before we head back to our apartment ready to throw up when reconciling the receipts. It just so happens that Dubai is the perfect place to indulge these tragic little fantasies of wealth and grandeur given that there seems to be a never-ending list of 5+ star resorts at which to indulge all of your classy notions. And there seems to be no shortage of classy wannabes to share your tragic fantasies with. Everywhere you look when you go to these places there’s a never-ending display of plastic, silicon, bleach, steroids and DHA – and we’re not talking about in the janitor’s room either!!
So, given it was our anniversary over the weekend, lovely hubby thought he would surprise me with a weekend away somewhere classy where we could enjoy some much-needed chill time. When he finally spilled the beans my eyes lit up with a response of “ohmigosh, what did you do with the kids” and he had to let me down gently and explain they were still coming – that sounds really mean doesn’t it, but I’ll bet that any parents of a boisterous, cheeky, defiant little two-year old will feel my pain and understand the very slight change in pitch as my shrill voice chirped that “oh the kids will love it”…
But nevertheless, super excited for a lovely weekend away as we trundle over the bridge to the entirely man-made, sand dredged but very cool island of the Palm Jumeirah to find our exceptionally classy, 5 star frond home for the weekend. Upon arrival, we are greeted in the foyer by lovely ladies dressed in black handing me a beautiful rose to celebrate our anniversary (lovely hubby does still have a couple of tricks up his sleeve) as we admire the beautiful reception and outlook over the water. And then, it happens – I turn around too late to see this lovely lady dressed in black handing the kids a cone full of gummy bears each.
I equate this sort of transaction somewhat akin to your pre-child days where your friends would have kids and you delighted in buying them the noisiest, most annoying toys on the market each birthday and Christmas. It was as though all the karma Lovely Hubby and I accumulated over the years converged to join together on this evening at the start of our beautiful classy weekend and before you knew it, we had Chubs on the ground screaming, crying, foaming at the mouth refusing to have his poopy nappy changed. Followed closely by swinging arms, scratching, biting and banshee type squeals as we attempted to give him a bath.. the list goes on as the sugar low came crashing in. Miss Sparky’s offers of letting him distribute the bubbles on his own head made not a bit of difference.
And then, cha ching – Lovely Hubby guarantees not having to wash up for the next decade in one go when he calmly announces that the nanny should be here in a minute and we should get ready to go to our adults only dinner date. There are many occasions in our relationship where I have felt like taking this man instantly on the spot and making his dreams come true, but never more than this moment!! I don’t think either of us have showered and dressed that quickly since we were kids being told we couldn’t have dessert until after our showers!
Before you know it, we’re on our way to sitting on the deck of a beautiful lounge bar, sipping cocktails and watching the sunset. Heaven on earth.
As I mentioned at the beginning, we like to pretend that we fit in when we go to these places – well, at least I do. Lovely Hubby has never really grasped the concept of letting go of those purse strings even if just for one night. As we are leisurely wandering by looking for just the right setting for our evening indulgence, he hears the words “happy hour” mentioned. I know immediately that this is where we will be having our drink. Sure enough the words “this place looks pretty good” come out and before I know it, we’re sitting sipping cocktails, enjoying the sunset sans screaming Mr Chubs and negotiating with the waiter over whether or not you can get a little bit more off the happy hour discount with our airline employee discount card – sigh.
So we have a lovely couple of cocktails, find an even lovelier place to enjoy an amazing dinner prepared by a Michelin Star chef where we enjoy some stunning flavours, beautiful service and the cool sea breeze off the gulf. Just magical! Lovely Hubby is super excited as well with the 25% off and surprise complimentary anniversary cake – a great evening all round.
I need to contrast this with the second night of our sojourn to the classy end of town.
We have made some beautiful friends since we’ve been in Dubai. The parents of Miss Sparky’s new bestie just happen to be a pretty cool couple. They are South Africans, and as you Aussies out there will know, Aussies and Safas get along pretty well most of the time, unless you are talking about rugby of course.
So we invite them out for the day to hang with us by the pool so that we can all be frauds together. Lovely Hubby and Bestie’s Dad are scarily similar in their tightne… ahem… sorry… frugality and we’ve had many an evening together discussing the best discounts in town, who keeps the best spending records and whose wife spends the most. What’s fantastic about this couple though is that we have a very similar sense of humour and frequently spend hours laughing, telling stories and generally having a total wow of a time together. What we now know as well is that they have about the same level of classiness as us, so when we suggest extending into the evening they gleefully accept an invitation of cheap, french bubbles that have been sneaked into the classy five-star hotel and happily offer to bring the plastic flutes.
A few hours later and we’re sitting out on our classy deck, drinking cheap plonk while the exhausted sunburnt children are inside zoned out in front of the iPad. The Chubs has been put to bed in the cupboard as it’s the only part of the room where he can be segregated – anyone who has tried to put a little one to sleep in a hotel room where you can all see each other will understand the drama of trying to get a kid to sleep when you can’t get them away from the action. I have to add here that I at least tried to keep the cupboard door open to avoid asphyxiation. Lovely Hubby was so paranoid about him waking up that he kept closing the door to nearly shut and so the dance continued all evening of the door being opened when I went inside and shut when he did. Thank goodness Chubs was so exhausted he slept through the whole crazy dance.
Its getting late and we’re all starving but no-one can face the thought of yet another meal that we almost have to sell one of the children to pay for. So our kindred spirits suggest ordering burgers.
A long debate follows around whether burger places will come to a resort? Are there are any around? Will we get in trouble from the hotel? And then Bestie’s Dad cements the decision by flashing his 50% off card for Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK). The thrill of adrenalin gives us all an instant rush as we begin plotting how to get the 50% off burgers from the street into the hotel without being noticed. There is a loud debate over which bag to carry them in – the ladies tote which, whilst large enough for said burgers, may draw attention to the tall, strapping South African gentleman carrying it. So we empty out one of the kids backpacks and assess the situation – tall, strapping South African carrying baby blue kids backpack with snoopy characters, accompanied by somewhat shorter, red-eyed, sweaty dude still dressed in gym gear and glaring white sneakers. We figure that in Dubai, anything goes, and warn them not to hold hands as they trot down to try to intercept the delivery man.
Out on the road, they debate about whether the food will come in a car or on a bike to which bestie’s dad confidently answers that it will be a car, just as the bike messenger shows up and pulls the bag with the food out of his little heater box. Lovely Hubby dives through a hedge, almost tackling the poor guy to stop him going up the driveway, all under the watchful and suspicious eye of the long-suffering security guard who has no doubt seen this sort of nonsense before. The brown paper bags are whisked into the kid’s backpack while hubby’s watchful eyes dart around and the cash is transacted, then the boys head up the driveway trying to stifle giggles and stride out as though they own the place, staring down anyone who might stare curiously at these two strange men and their baby blue backpack.
We celebrate on the deck with soggy, lukewarm burgers that were cheaper than the sprite we bought the kids to share for dinner all whilst high-fiving each other and celebrating our moment of triumph over the oppression of the classy establishment.
Long live slightly un-classy people jamming two families into single hotels rooms, sneaking in their own food and making their kids sleep in the cupboard while the parents drink cheap, smuggled wine and get nibbled by mozzies outside. It almost felt like we were back in Australia for a moment! We are certainly resigned to our inability to retain a level of class for more than one evening, but we also know that we most definitely have a damn good time in the process!
A great weekend was had by all…well, all except the poor delivery boy…
And full points to Lovely Hubby for organising such a fun, happy and indulgent weekend. One lucky lady here!
Have a great week!