As September is 9 months after New Year you would expect to run into a few birthdays here and there this month, and even in our case, with our severely depleted social circle, you would be right! In fact we have 2 birthday celebrations this month, one this last week for Eunice, and one this coming week for my dear husband Stuart. We joined Eunice in celebrating her 26th birthday (man don’t I feel old) on Thursday evening at the Grand Grill in the Grand Habtoor Hotel and Resort, Jumeirah Beach. We decided to take a cab so that we could both have a celebratory drink, but man oh man was the journey hair raising; the cabbie seemed determined to hit 120km/h between speed bumps on the way there, and this, combined with the squeakiest brakes this side of the equator, left me feeling rather seasick. However we arrived in one shaken-but-not-stirred piece, in fact we beat the birthday girl who was fashionably late, and had to settle for water for a pre-dinner drink as no alcohol is served until 19h30 due to Ramadan. The advertised cuisine of the restaurant is South African and the menu included a boerewors starter with pap and even a taste of bobotie served with banana ice-cream. Most of the guys and gals went for home-reared slabs of beef, whilst Stu had a burger and I did the sacrilegious ordering fish at a steak house. Happily it was delicious. We also made up for the slow start on the drinks side eventually flattening about 6 bottles of some lovely Porcupine Ridge Merlot and Fairview Pinotage. After that we headed up to Bar 44 for a nightcap, this is a watering hole (frighteningly expensive) on the 44th floor of the Grosvenor House hotel which is just opposite the Grand Habtoor, and reached by a rather frightening dash through sand and over a busy road, not recommended in heels. This is one place you notice the lack of no non-smoking laws here (well this could change any day as the Sheikh is planning to ban all smoking in public places). It reminded me a little of Spats back in Sandton in the old days (well the 90s anyway), minus the live music and with the addition of the most amazing view of the Jumeirah Beach area (ok maybe not much like Spats after all). The view does make it worth visiting at least once, but save up first! Incidentally Grosvenor House is also home to Dubai’s own version of the Buddha Bar, which we plan to visit another night.
Friday morning we headed off to PQ for breakfast only to realise when we got there that they aren’t open during the day during Ramadan. As Homer Simpson would have said – DOH! We were forced to wander over to the Hilton opposite and settled for their breakfast buffet. Actually that’s not really fair as it was actually very pleasant. Fed and watered we were ready to face the Mall of the Emirates for a spot of clothes shopping (for me yes) and gadget shopping (for Stu). We also ended up buying a gelato machine, which is something Stu has wanted for years, but with the great prices here could actually justify buying. After a more leisurely afternoon at home we ventured down the Beach Road to find a sushi spot that had been recommended to us. Not surprisingly Peter’s directions were vague and incorrect and the place we were looking for ended up being in the shopping center next to the one we originally thought, but at least we were in the right area! I think if it weren’t for Sumo Sushi there would be no one in the Town Centre Jumeirah, a very eclectic mix of shops makes up the balance of the tenants there. We had a very tasty meal of extremely fresh sushi and tempura prawns.
Interesting and pointless fact about Dubai #2: approximately 5000 people have been treated for sun-stroke this summer. Most of those treated were labourers so next time you are sitting in your air-conditioned office complaining about your job be grateful that you don’t work outside in 50 degree heat for $100 a month!
Until next time, Ramadan Mubarak or Happy Ramadan..