Old World Dubai

It’s been one year and seven months since we moved offices from Bur Dubai to Jumeirah. I still remember the day and the weeks to follow very clearly: there was a heavy sandstorm on the day the movers hauled our stuff which meant the very fine sand infiltrated every corner of the newly cleaned villa. The days after that weekend was filled with no less than twenty trips up and down two plights of stairs; the Admin Room is located on the second floor of the villa! After the first day we all had legs aching like crazy.

It cut down our coffee breaks, which is very good on two counts because it meant we had more time to devote to work and it also cut down our caffeine intake. A staff canteen was installed in the back kitchen where we have a long table and access to the fridge, microwave, sink and water cooler.

Being at the far end of Jumeirah Beach Road has its advantages and its drawbacks. Yes we finally won the battle against the elusive parking space. Yes, we are now closer to the new business centre of Dubai but nowhere near where all the good food outlets are! You get the posh Jumeirah Group outlets which are rather pricey for a bit of lunch or you go to the closest Emarat petrol station where they have a Bakeria outlet with a selection of sandwiches and baked goods, coffee and drinks and chocolates and ice cream. But you can only have so much of the same thing day in, day out for months on end!

Some of the girls have resorted to packing lunches to be heated up in the microwave but sitting down to a hot meal at lunchtime is one of the few luxuries we can afford ourselves so at least once a week I try and explore my options. The boys in the office have been going on about The Chalet and how good the food is. I succumbed and went with Brian, Bob, Neha and Nadine the other day. You know what? It’s not so bad either for a quasi Indian-Arabic-Chinese place. I had a bowl of chicken fried rice and I swear the bowl magically refilled the rice every time I get a spoonful because the rice didn’t seem to get less. The fresh juices were great too!

Today, however, I joined Ben, Bob, Dan and Andrew at the Dome Cafe at the Madinat Jumeirah. Nice place and you always know the food is going to be great. I don’t quite like the level of the noise. For a quick bite and great coffee, it’s not half as bad. After a Dome Twister (official description: Blended with a shot each of espresso and chocolate as well as real, freshly roasted coffee beans. Topped with whipped cream and a light dusting of chocolate.), a banana chocolate crunchie and two Chocolate Crumble Espreskis were delivered to our table, we saw a European-looking couple who sat down with another lady on one of the tables outside the main restaurant. They were directly in front of me, a couple of tables away. Then, out of the blue, the man who had a beard and moustache and a ponytail whipped out two large stacks of bills tied together with rubber bands. He just placed it down on the table as if it was his mobile phone.

Two of the guys I was with are Financial Advisors and the other two are Business Coordinators, i.e. it is their job to find people with money and help them decide what to do with said money. Dan wanted to get out there and give the guy his business card! After a while, the lady they were with pulled out some papers and they started filling them out and signing them. The man started counting the bills, which took him quite a while considering how much there was! After a while the cash all went into the lady’s handbag and off they went. They didn’t even order anything from the cafe!

That was certainly one of the weirdest things I have seen in Dubai. Three bowls of pastas, one club sandwich and a plate of Nasi Goreng later we were all either about ready to burst or fall asleep. I knew I should have stayed for a macchiato.

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