UAE - Round The World Tour 2003 Day 105


Wednesday 25th June

I’ve deliberately tried not to think about the fact that today is our last full day of travelling for this leg of the trip. Although we are becoming more and more anxious to go home, I can’t help but feel a deep sadness for having to stop travelling, at least for a while.

I slumbered in absolute comfort last night and awoke well rested and thinking that it was much earlier than it was. There’s no clock in the room and I’ve pretty much given up wearing a watch whilst travelling. Sandy was not in the bed and I assumed that she had gone downstairs to enjoy reading through a few more pages of her Harry Potter book. She does this every now and then if and when she can’t sleep. Gingerly, I got out of bed and crept down the winding staircase to find her sitting at the office laptop writing e-mails. A broad grin across her face told me that she had also slept well and was in a good mood today. To my great surprise, it was already gone ten o’clock. We leapt into action to make it to breakfast in time. Not that there was any real danger of us missing it but I certainly didn’t want a repeat of the situation that threw off our experience at the previous hotel.

Breakfast was at the coffee shop downstairs by the pool. It was buffet style with a beautiful selection of just about everything you might ever expect for breakfast laid out neatly. The orange juice was very freshly squeezed and the pork sausages (just off to the side with the other pork foods) were plump and delicious. Yes, I could get very used to this indeed.

With breakfast having been a success, we had to now decide how to dine for later on in the day. There are two very nice and very exclusive restaurants here at the Burg Al Arab and we had decided that we would indulge and eat at one of them this evening. It would probably cost us well over $200 for the meal but what the hell. After speaking with our floor manager, it transpired that the restaurant in the basement had an extremely strict dress code that I would not be able to conform to given the limited selection of clothes in my backpack. This was a shame since this is the restaurant that has been designed to look like it is submerged in the sea with an enormous round aquarium being the centrepiece feature. There is even a submarine that transports the guests on a three of four-minute journey to the restaurant. Since it is a seafood restaurant (what else would they serve in a restaurant under the sea), we decided to eat at the suspended panoramic view restaurant on the top floor instead. We asked if we could at least get to see the seafood restaurant and our butler gave us a brief tour. I’m sure the food is just a s spectacular as the setting.

Having decided to eat at the fancy restaurant upstairs, Sandy insisted that she buy a new dress and shoes for the occasion. We took the golf buggy across to the other side of the bridge and hailed a taxi to a nearby shopping centre where we spend an hour or more wandering around in the near one hundred percent humidity looking for some new clothes. Sandy found everything that she wanted accept for some shoes. I didn’t buy anything in the end but I still had my travel shirt tucked away in the bottom of my backpack. This, together with the legs that I can attach to my shorts would suffice for the somewhat less restrictive dress code for the restaurant upstairs. The taxi that took us back to the hotel dropped Sandy off at a nearby shopping mall where she would attempt to find the right shoes. I continued on to the hotel and headed straight for the spa for my full body hot stone therapy massage and facial. Sandy had had her turn being pampered yesterday and she insisted that I also take advantage of the relaxation offered by the spa facilities. A very nice and very camp little Filipino man works me over for the better part of a couple of hours. There’s just something about a little Filipino man rubbing his hands all over my body that makes me want to just lay but with a grin and think of England.

It took Sandy a while to return from shopping so I spent some time playing snooker and browsing the Internet in the spa. She eventually returned, empty-handed I might add, and also spent some time relaxing in the steam room and swimming pool.

With Sandy relaxing, I took some time out to iron some clothes for our evening meal (so much for having your own butler). Sandy was fashionably late but we both made it to the twenty-seventh floor (according to the buttons in the elevator) in time for our gastronomic joyride. The restaurant upstairs is very nice and we were initially sat at a table in the bar area for a drink before sitting for dinner. I had neglected to ask for a table with a window view but it wasn’t necessary as they sat us at the very best table in the whole restaurant. We overlooked the coastline at about three hundred feet above the sea and the view was spectacular.

The meal itself was everything it could be from a top-end restaurant – and then some. I did my best to try everything on the various plates as they came out and actually surprised myself by enjoying almost everything. Our favourite banana-split desert wasn’t actually on the menu but the chef agreed to make us one anyway. It was no less delicious than the rest of the meal and we were both utterly content after polishing it off. The bill was just over $230 but it didn’t matter. We were enjoying ourselves and not allowing money to be an obstacle in appreciating all that the hotel has to offer. I may feel differently in the days and weeks ahead but for now, we are living like royalty and damn the expense.

Even though we didn’t get out of the restaurant till around nine o’clock, we decided to swing by the spa one more time and both spent an enjoyable half an hour there.

We are now back in our room, tucked nicely under the lush sheets and ready to drop off. For tomorrow, I’ve arranged transportation to the airport in style. We will be chauffer driven to the airport in a Rolls Royce. If there is a better way to conclude our trip, I can’t think of it.