NEVER MIND THE WEATHER
Alright, alright... so for 7 months a year, the weather's hell. 42?C on a good day, and that's not even taking into account the absolute lack of breeze and sapping humidity. But you can easily get around all that, like most seasoned Dubai expats do. Hop into an air-conditoned car or cab. Step into an air-conditioned office. Head off for lunch to an air-conditioned mall... you get the drift.
In the evenings, if you're going to be outdoors, you better do it by the beach, where you'll still be able to sense the slightest breeze. Otherwise, just crash into the nearest watering hole or club... needless to add, also air-conditioned. I love it when the weather starts to change... softly, slowly, sometime around mid-October. Your body starts to sense this change in the air, and your mind starts to dance at the thought of long walks by the creek, and night-swimming in the ocean. Between then and mid-April, it's clear sailing on Dubai's breezy streets.
I hate bowling! The Big Lebowski's one of my favourite movies though. So some afternoons when nothing much's happening, I'll let myself be dragged along to a round or two. Have to admit, it's pretty good fun seeing grown men and women calculating and conniving their way into decapitating nine pins!
And in Dubai, Thunderbowl's probably a better place to do this than any other. It's easily the largest bowling rink in Dubai, with something like 20 lanes lying side-by-side. If you get sick of all the bowling, there are thankfully a few pool tables upstairs. It's largely frequented by local Arab kids, and you wouldn't want to waste more than an hour in here.
Many souks sell shishas you can find of any size and price.As we decided to get back home with a shisha, we visited several shops and souks before deciding what to buy.
What we found out is that most shishas sold in souks are done in Romania or Czech republic, which disappointed us as it seemed a nonsense to buy a local craft done in europe.
At the end we found our made in Egypt shishas at the international airport and paid them less than the price told us at souks. Tobacco for shisha.
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE MUSIC
Don’t step in here for atmosphere. The vibe, as it is, is dark, seedy and of an altogether soulless nature. Tables arranged geometrically in a large music hall sort of space, a large bar area where even the alcohol bottles appear to be depressed out of their skulls! But fear not, the Music Room lends ample credence to its name, with a fairly impressive 1-2 punch of current performing bands.
The Flipside are a jazz quintet, who venture into slightly rockier territory from time to time. The female lead singer holds her own, but the guitarist/male vocalist’s gravelly voice seems more suited to some interesting takes on Baker Street, and the like.
Next up on the roster are The Rock Spyders. Despite the Philipino outfit’s sad-80s moniker and cartoon-like stage presence (co-ordinated ‘peroxide-hair-bashing’!), they pack an enthusiastic little punch with some loud, abrasive renderings of The Scorpions, The Eagles, and some more of the same. A good little 2-hour music pit stop, enough to quench the thirst and air the lungs, before heading on elsewhere into the night.
Top class steakhouse!
The Palm Grill restaurant is situated in the Intercontinental hotel, on the first floor (Americans would say second floor) of the small shopping center. In total, there are about 7 or 8 restaurants side by side. It is not possible to have dinner outside, but believe me: you don't want that in Dubai except maybe in December and January.
The first night of our 3 night stay in Dubai, my wife and I enjoyed an excellent mid-night dinner at Palm Grill. It was so very very good, that we went back the second night and they again did not disappoint us. Everything about the restaurant is perfect: the service, the skills and friendliness of the waiters, the food (top quality meat!!!), the wine, the ambiance, the live (background) music et cetera et cetera.
The wine list is actually a book with 40 pages, and inclused wines in the price range of US$ 40 to US$ 1,500. We enjoyed a wine with a price that was closer to US$ 40 than to US$ 1,500, and it was one of the best wines I have ever had.
For a three course à la carte meal including wine will cost you US$ 70 to US$ 100 per person. Everything that we had was excellent, both from a taste and a garnishing point of view.