Friday, April 20, 2007

Club Tropicana

Long gap. A small matter of a conference presentation and then related “social” events in the evenings. The gig took place at the Grand Hyatt, which I think is the first Gulf hotel I have ever been in that I would describe as cool on the inside, aside from the temperature that is. Located the other side of Gharhoud Bridge, west of the creek, the place is enormous and not especially interesting as far as Dubai building designs go. However, inside is like a jungle crossed with a Japanese garden, where you walk across a pond via undulating wooden bridges. There is a very nice looking sushi restaurant where I should bring my wife, and will. I would be tempted to ask them if the fish are straight from the pond outside, but I would guess they're just gold fish….The conference venue was a rather more standard design, that’s standard by Gulf hotel... eh …standards, which means that conferences take place in what look like the grand vizier’s ballroom and make the reception rooms in that dump the Dorchester in Park Lane London look like assembly rooms in a secondary modern..The first night of the conference the booze flowed…and flowed….and yet I kept declining even a beer. Sponsored by Tropicana, a Dubai based oil tanker company (of course)….I so wanted to ask what flavours their products came in and kept thinking of the Club of Wham fame…The second night, peroration over, I was ready for few bevies, only to find that that night’s entertainment was sponsored by Enoc (no typo, sadly), who are an emirati refining company, and thus didn’t offer so much as a fuggin shandy…Shite. Still, a bloke I met at the conference invited me to his company reception the next night, with the beguiling promise that it would be held in the cocktail/jazz bar of a hotel. There was a live jazzy band and I got a beer within moments of walking in. The conversation was not fascinating but pleasant, and I managed to consume five by the end of the evening, leaving feeling almost pissed. This was fine in the taxi but less good in my hotel room as I went into muso retro mode and got depressed, thinking of my wife and wishing we were together right then, not necessarily to have sex (too pissed), or to listen to my music, but to go to one of the bars in my hotel….I didn’t really need another drink but I so wanted to see her….

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