It is disaster, gentle man.

I’ve spent $15 on a SIM card that doesn’t work. I bought it via the DDC/Multi Commodities Centre, installed it (even though I had to use an emery board to saw it down) and then I can’t activate it. Piece of garbage.

As I’ve read in the newspaper this morning, there have only been 11 beheadings so far in Saudi Arabia this year. Last year there were 76 total, so I’d say we’re right on course. Also, there’s some kind of propaganda about how all Europeans are eaters of horse meat and that the Syrians have leprosy because they’re covered in flies.
What can I say? It’s kind of sweet.

Back to my hotel.
The lobby is beautiful. Marbles and dark wood. Tea carts. Hanging paper star lamps. Real trees.
The hotel is covered in the finest materials but underneath, the infrastructure is crap. I didn’t perform an official count but there are at least 11 switches i can think of for various light control and only 4 of them work. None of them make sense in their location, but at least they have measurable results when you activate the room with your electricity key.
You can’t take a shower without flooding the entire bathroom because the floor isn’t sloped or channeled or anything. Water leaks through the massive gaps around the doors. Go figure.
Also, I thought i might avoid this fiasco by filling up the huge stand-alone bathtub that’s sort of in the middle of my room. I had to boil 5 kettles of water in my room just to get the bath water remotely tepid. Sat in it for the length of a Long Winters song and then got the hell out.

All the employees are from the Philippines or weirder places, like Nepal. Russia. Mongolia.
Everyone is polite but find ways to inadvertently twist it into saccharine. “Yes marm. No marm. Please marm. Right this way marm. May I unfold your paper marm?” Actually, I’m exaggerating. They don’t do this to me, they do it to my boss. Our Nepalese waiter on Monday was trying so hard to be a good sommelier too and ok, he tried his best but you can’t always get a perfect pair. Every other sentence out of him was “Please enjoy.” It would’ve been funnier if he hadn’t sounded so desperate, like without “some enjoy,” he would be denied meals and told to sleep on the beach.
First, my boss’s mezze plate and entrée were cooked together instead of arriving separately. Then the steak was a bit undercooked. By the time he admitted he could use a different glass of wine, the Nepalese waiter was bowing, cringing, and handwringing. My favorite bit was when the waiter shrieked “IT IS DISASTER, GENTLE MAN.”

Last night at the Lebanese restaurant by the Burj Khalifa fountain, the waiter wouldn’t even look at me. Boss had to order the whole meal and the drinks (nonalcoholic.) The food was great, of course, but it’s hard to screw up heavily spiced meats and hummus. Even grape leaves/dolmas don’t take a genius to make. But get this service…
In New York, I used to get pissed if a waiter placed the check down in front of a male counterpart even if I paid and it’s my FEMALE name on the credit card. Could be oversight or pure stupidity. But this guy last night wouldn’t clear the table because my boss stood up for a cigarette. I had to flag him down for the check. He almost fainted when I took out the company card to pay, but he still wouldn’t touch the check until my boss sat back down. I cannot figure this all out.
My boss and I had a really interesting conversation about Dubai as it relates to religion, architecture, economy, lifestyle, law, Westernism, sexism and general perceptions, but it all comes down to WHAT IS THIS SHIT. WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON.

And more relevant: why am I invisible?

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