Thursday, May 12, 2011


The 20 hour flight to Dubai was painless and past by pretty quick. As it turns out I sat next to a woman who's brother in law is a skipper on a super yacht so I gave her my details and she said she would pass them on.

The walk from the plane to customs in Terminal 3 is really long and feels like you’re walking for ever. Luckily, there was hardly a queue at immigration so with in 5 minutes I had my passport stamped, collected my bag and was waiting for Iain outside.

A few weeks before my flight, Iain emailed saying ‘Matty, you'll have to let me know how big your bags are so I know whether to pick you up in the Hummer or the Porsche’. I thought he was having a laugh and talking in hypothetical dreamland but as we approached a Hummer he slowed down and opened the boot. I started laughing and said ‘I suppose you have a Porsche sitting at home’ he smiled and nodded his head.

The layout and style of Dubai reminded me of Vegas. Although Dubai is nothing like Vegas in the fact that alcohol and gambling are illegal, both Cities’ are situated in the middle of a dessert and built along a strip. All the buildings are modern, tall and built of glass. They are very impressive but leave Dubai feeling a little cold with no sense of history or culture.

The balcony
Iain and Becky’s apartment is really nice. The area was called the Palm and had been reclaimed from the sea in the shape of a palm of a palm tree. The apartment block backed onto the beach and from the living room you could look out onto the sea. We sat out on the balcony for a few hours and caught up. I loved the idea that everyday before work they could do this and chill with breakfast – it seemed to me like an ideal lifestyle.

I hadn’t managed to sleep on the plane so when Becky and Iain went to work, I had a cheeky hour kip on the sofa. As soon as I lied down and stretched my legs, I knew I was going to fall asleep. It was tough getting up when my alarm went off but I knew that if I would have stayed, jet lag would have kicked in and ruined my time in Dubai.

Jon and Cherisse were also staying with Iain and Becky. The four of us had meet in Australia at the good old Palladium Apartments, 9 years ago. We caught up for a little while in the apartment then headed off to the beach to carry on the conversation and sunbath.

The weather was overcast but you could see the sun trying to shine through the clouds and it was bloody hot. The Beach was a private beach for all the residents so nice and quiet and the sea was a striking light blue and very appealing. Jon made me laugh slagging a big muscled poser who was baby oiled up and kept checking out his arms, pecks and abs as the lapped the beach. It was good to catch up and we had a nice relaxing day lying in the sun and having a good old chat.

The Porsche
After work, Hirdy called from the car park and took me for a spin in his Porsche. The car used to be owned by the Porsche dealers manager so it was fitted with all the extras. In the shade it looked black but when the sun shone on the paint it turned a dark brown. With the dark creme interior and the 911 wheels the car looked the bollocks. My favourite extra was the sports exhaust. The car was very quick and stuck to the road like glue but the exhaust made the car sound fast, meaty and as though it meant business. Cars don’t normally do it for me but this thing was lovely and by the time we got back I could definitely see myself driving one.

Me, Becky, Cherisse and John in front of the Burj Al Arab
 In the evening we went to Bar Zen for a few drinks then to the Meat Company for dinner. Bar Zen was a stylish but relaxed bar, that backed onto a man made canal. The complex was trying to create a Venice theme and gave people rides along the canal on gondola style boats. The Meat Company was just around the corner from Bar Zen in the same complex. As the name suggests the Meat Company served up big meaty dishes, which was great news for me and I really enjoyed my meal. By the time I got home and into bed it was nearly 1am, which was 9am Auckland time so I had, had a big day. I was happy that I’d managed to adjust to Dubai time so well and been able to enjoy the evening without being too tired.

Iain and Becky have Friday and Saturday’s off work so the four of us chilled out at the beach the next day. The sky wasn’t as overcast as yesterday and it felt much hotter. The temperature was just about right, any hotter and it would have been too much. In the afternoon Becky’s friends, Neil and Toni arrived from the Maldives for the last leg off their honeymoon. We had lunch together and spent the rest of the day at the beach. In the evening we went to the Mirage hotel to the Jetty Bar and had a meal at the Beach and Bar Grill. I really enjoyed the Jetty Bar and it reminded of Ibiza. It was on the sea front, full of comfortable wicker sofa’s and played chilled tunes. Again the place was really stylish and had a good vibe to it. The Beach Bar and Grill was only a short walk away and our table over looked the sea. The setting was idyllic and the food was first-class. The complex appeared high end and posh but the atmosphere was relaxed and chilled out, it was superb.   

Inside the Jetty Bar

Saturday morning was Jon and Cher’s last. It was really good to catch up and I was glad I got to spend time with them and Iain and Becky in Dubai. I like the fact that we’ve always made the effort to see each other since Australia and have meet up in all over the England and now abroad.

After Jon and Cher left, Iain and I played Fifa on the PS3 for about 3 hours to Becky’s bewilderment. Girls just don’t understand the importance of boy’s toys and the enjoyment they bring. In the end Becky hurried us out the door as Iain wanted to take me on a whistle stop tour of Dubai in the Porsche before meeting Neil and Toni at their hotel. First stop was Dubai Creek, which is a natural sea water inlet that cuts through the centre of the city. We visited the port where the QE2 is now moored, drove past Union Square to see the largest flag pole in the world when it was built in 2001 and stopped off at Jumeirah Beach, Dubai’s main public beach. Finally we stood at the foot of the Burj Khalifa, which is the tallest man made structure ever built before spending the afternoon at the Palace Hotel with Neil and Toni by the pool. It was quality pulling up to the front of the hotel, handing the keys to the valet staff and walking straight in. I’ve never done anything like that before and I loved getting out of a convertible Porsche and having the other guests looking at us.

After spending 21 months backpacking it was nice to experience the finer side of life and sample what you can do when you have money. Dubai was a great way to round of my travels and get in some relaxation and sun before going home. It was great to spend time with Iain, Becky, John and Cherrise, reminiscing about Australia and catching up. I’m really pleased that over the past 9 years we’ve always made the effort to see each other and can always pick up where we left off.

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