We have a guest writer and she's good too

Trip Start Apr 08, 2007
Trip End Dec 22, 2007

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Flag of United Arab Emirates  ,
Friday, May 25, 2007

Hello to all the friends and family of Pete and Mandy Hutch. Shane and I were invited to submit the Emirates-leg of their journey, as special guest bloggers! It's going to be hard to compete with Pete's vivid entries...but we'll give it a burl.

Day 1
There's been so much anticipation for their visit to our new country that Shane didn't even moan when he dragged himself out of bed at 4am to collect Pete and Mandy (from here on to be called 'The Hutches'). The cheapo rent-a-wreck we hired for the week while they were here turned out to be great. As is typical on this side of the world, our booking had disappeared so they had to upgrade us. Don't get too excited, it was still the size of a matchbox with wheels.
The first I saw of them was when they came by to pick me up from work for lunch. It was pretty weird as you're not allowed to show public affection here, so there was a lot of hand shaking and smiling going on. Ha ha. We snuck a hug and it all felt very illicit.
That night we went to a popular local expat hangout called the Captain's Arms. Wall to wall poms getting trashed on Fosters. Not a pretty sight. After a fairly scary (but typical) taxi ride we stopped off at our favourite take-away joint: Caracas. Go there for the best pizza in the world. The Hutches acted like tourists taking photos of the uncooked pizza, the store front and the smiling cook (now known as Superstar). We went back last week and they asked where The Hutches were.

Day 2
Everyone slept in as the constant flying with no sleep had taken its toll. We eventually got up, went for a quick cruise up and around the Corniche. It was about 40degrees so we tried not to spend too much time outside the aircon splendour of the rent-a-wreck.
We drove back to Dubai via Jumeirah beach where we saw the new huge Palm Jumeirah island and the famous Burj Al Arab (the big sail looking building that Dubai's famous for). We stopped for a delish bite at a café owned by two Aussie chicks before we trekked across the hot scoulding sand to the public beach for a dip. The beach was pretty empty other than some scantily clad women, a bunch of local guys salivating next to them and rubbing their crotches, a group (or swarm) of 15 local boys with no understanding of personal space when swimming at the beach and a guy we'll call 'Fabio'. I'm sure he only goes to the beach to check himself out in the reflection of the water while in bad DTs. Eeeek.
We were having too much fun laughing at Fabio to realise we were running late for our overnight desert Safari tour. Lucky for us they waited and we, and our guide Jaffa, sped off to the desert in a sick Landcruiser to the melodic singing of our ol' fave Olivia Newton John. What more could you ask for? (I'm going to stab myself in the neck if I ever hear the song 'Pegasus' again...and I think The Hutches would agree).
Within 30 seconds of dune-bashing Mandy had already popped a motion-sickness tablet. She must have seen what was coming cause we all felt a little queasy when we felt Jaffa take our 'dive' down a massive dune. At some points it felt like we were driving on only two wheels, ala Dukes of Hazzard style. Jaffa thought it was pretty funny that us white people were getting whiter. Mandy's fingers dug into my thighs as we gripped on for the ride of a life (not unlike a taxi ride in Abu Dhabi really).
We saw camels and amazing sunsets. Then Shane nearly puked. Seems the big man couldn't handle it, so we had to give up the prime front seat for him. Shane wasn't alone, on the way to our camp 3-4 other landcruisers were stopping for their barfing passengers. Which brings us to dinner...
We cruised on into the camp and made ourselves at home sitting on cushions on the ground around our dining table. We checked out the market stalls before Mandy and I got some Henna on our wrists. Mandy was pretty pissed off with her Henna design and especially so when it rubbed off all over her pants. The belly dancer was good, but not as good as Shane was. That could be me being biased, but I have to say there's nothing like seeing a 6"1 bald man flick is 'hair' around while gyrating his belly. Everyone that knows Shane knows that ain't too much of a stretch. (ouch sorry Shane). We had a couple of beers and enjoyed some chicken, fish (remember this for later) and other good food. That night we slept under the stars to the peaceful sounds of mozzies and screeching stray cats.
Day 3
We woke up before sunrise, had a quick bite of brekky and headed out with Jaffa to the Hatta Pools. We crossed the border into Oman and before long we were swimming in the beautiful cold, clear water of the pools. And even better we had the whole place to ourselves. On the drive out we saw the car loads of day trippers heading in to the pools...just missed them.
We got back to Dubai, checked into our hotel and had an afternoon nap. Late in the afternoon we jumped on an abra (old wooden water taxi) and crossed the Dubai creek to the Old Souk. Cruising around the old streets was fun and Mandy was bartering the pants off the salesmen. It was at this point I realised Shane wasn't with us. Pete said he'd 'ducked off to find a loo'. 20 minutes later Shane emerges from the crowd, a little white, and a little shaky. Seems that fish from the night before had come back to haunt him. he'd been running around the market pressing his butt-cheeks together in desperate search for a toilet. He was even contemplating the dark corner of an alley before he remembered a market stall nearby that we'd been in earlier. Luckily they had a toilet they were willing to share with Shane. Lucky for them! We cruised back across the river and walked around Deira for a short while. There were so many Indians around it felt like we were in New Delhi. Pete couldn't get enough of the local street-side food option: shwarma. You can get them on nearly any street corner and they all taste a little different. (hmm, is that chicken or stray cat?).

Day 4
On our last day we had a late brekky at the hotel and hung out together in our hotel rooms helping The Hutches repack their backpacks for their onward journey. We waved and kissed them goodbye at the Dubai airport. It was very sad. But boy did we have fun

Thanks to Shane and Kate for their organisation of our great weekend and for writing the best blog entry so far. We were starting to get lazy with our writing and have now been put on notice by Kate's enthralling account.

Pete and Mandy
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