Dubai 2015: Week 1

Let me try this again. I haven’t updated this much (or at all) over the last year but I should start doing it again!

So, the last week of 2014 and the first week of 2015 were mental. One of my friends was in town from London with three of his friends. I’d met one of them before, both in London and Barcelona, and the other two I’d met very briefly at their home in July. They were all staying at the Conrad and arrived early on Sunday evening. I met my friend at the Conrad before dinner while the others were still getting ready and we had a drink together at Cave, the wine bar on the mezzanine level. I love this place – I’d been there twice before and always enjoy going there. On Sunday evening, however, it was very empty. One by one, the others joined us and we headed to Okku where we had our dinner reservation at 10pm. The food was great – as usual. For starters we had the sashimi salad, yellowtail sashimi, spicy tuna on crispy rice, two kinds of rock shrimp – one with creamy wasabi sauce and the other with spicy sweet soya sauce. For our main course we ordered the black cod with miso, king crab legs and truffle fried rice. We also drank. A lot. We started with a bottle of cold sake, then switched to another (cheaper) one. At midnight we had two bottles of champagne as it was my friend’s birthday and then we switched to vodka after that. We left at about 1.30 – the place was packed though. We went back to the Conrad and ended up at Suga – their ‘private’ members club. It’s always empty. We had a drink at the bar and my friend insisted on dropping me home. We ended up at Zaatar w Zeit which is open 24 hours and ate a lot – again! I didn’t get home until 4am.

I woke up on Monday with a headache. No surprises there! After lunch I joined the others at Puro Beach at the Conrad poolside. It was quite overcast and looked like it might even rain. We had some red wine and some Arabic mezze and at about 6pm I headed back home to get ready for dinner.

I went back to the Conrad before dinner. My friend had two more friends who had arrived in town and I hadn’t met them before – they were staying at the Grand Hyatt. We had a drink in my friend’s hotel room and then seven of us left for dinner. Dinner was at someone’s home in Emirates Hills. I met quite a few people that I already knew which was nice. There was so much food – and the birthday cake (from Coco’s) was fantastic. We were there till about 1.30am as getting a cab in that area isn’t easy and none of us could connect to Uber!

We spent Tuesday afternoon on a yacht. We met at the Marina Yacht Club at noon and were taken to our yacht. My friend and his friends had brought loads of champagne and vodka with them so we were all set for the afternoon. It was a spacious yacht and there were only 10 of us so we had lots of room to relax. The staff on the yacht were very attentive and made sure our glasses were full at all times! There was also finger food and sandwiches, but nobody ate much. We left the Marina and sailed around the Palm. We had an incredible view of the skydivers landing – they come down a lot faster than I thought they would! We stopped in front of the Atlantis for a few minutes for those who wanted to take photos and stopped again in front of the Burj Al Arab. I really wish I’d taken my Canon camera with me! We carried on sailing towards the World Islands and stopped near a private island for a while – those who wanted to went for a swim. We were there for about an hour before we headed back. We got back to the Yacht Club at about 5.30pm and everyone went home. I was exhausted. I got into my pajamas and decided I was going to stay in that evening – regardless of what the others were doing. I was asleep before midnight.

Wednesday. New Year’s Eve. My plan was to be up early and get my hair done before there was a queue at the salon. That didn’t happen – I got there at noon and ended up waiting a long time. It was almost 3pm by the time I left there. I always take a book with me so I’m not wasting time while I’m there. At 6.30 I headed over to the Conrad. We had some champagne in the hotel room and then went to Media City where we were going to a New Year’s Eve ‘MasterJam’ concert. I have to admit I had been dreading it. I was dreading the traffic going there and back and would have rather stayed home with a bottle of vodka than venture that far away. We thought the first act came on at 9pm so we left the Conrad at 7.30 – that would hopefully give us enough time to get there. The traffic on Sheikh Zayed Road had started to build up and was moving slowly (but still moving) until we passed the Burj Khalifa. After that there was hardly any traffic and we were at the Media City Amphitheatre at 8pm. Just as well, because Gloria Gaynor was almost done with her set and finished with ‘I Will Survive’! We found our Platinum Pod area and settled in. Again, there were 10 of us in quite a large space. Unlimited champagne was included in our package and we certainly made the most of it!

After Gloria Gaynor finished, Kathy Sledge of Sister Sledge came on. I’d forgotten what great songs they’d had (‘Lost in Music’, ‘He’s the Greatest Dancer’, ‘Frankie’ and of course ‘We Are Family’) and everyone was singing along and dancing. Thirty-five years later, Kathy Sledge still has an amazing voice!

After Kathy Sledge finished her set, Chaka Khan came on. I’d been looking forward to her the most but she was disappointing. She seemed to have forgotten the words to some of her songs (my favourite ones!) so I wasn’t all that thrilled by her. She also sang her two most famous songs first (‘I Feel For You’ and ‘Ain’t Nobody’) and that didn’t make much sense to me.

After that came Nile Rodgers. I’m embarrassed to say I’d never heard of him, but he was in the band CHIC in the 1970s. I had no idea how many hits he’d written/produced – the album Diana by Diana Ross (Upside Down, I’m Coming Out), the album Let’s Dance by David Bowie, ‘The Reflex’ by Duran Duran, Like a Virgin by Madonna, and so many others – Thompson Twins, Mick Jagger, Steve Winwood; he even co-wrote Daft Punk’s ‘Get Lucky’. The man is a genius and he was on stage for a long time as he performed a lot of the songs he’d written and produced.

And then it was midnight!

As you can see, we really made the most of that champagne! After midnight, the Jacksons came on stage.

I think they were having some sound issues. I don’t remember much after that. Oops. We ended up at a party in Emirates Hills until about 4.30am and then three of us went to Zaatar w Zeit (again). I eventually got home at 5.45am.

My parents and I had lunch at home the next day – I’d hardly seen them over the last few days between hectic social schedules! After lunch I went to Puro Beach at the Conrad to sit by the pool with my friends. Our evening plans were up in the air for a while but eventually got sorted thanks to the concierge at the hotel. I went to a friend’s place in the Meadows for early evening drinks and left at about 8.30 to meet my friends from out of town at Sass Cafe. We had a lovely table outside and decided we’d share some starters and a couple of main courses. We started with lentil salad, fried calamari, baked goats cheese, sea bass carpaccio and a couple of other things. We were quite full after that and decided to share just two main courses between five of us: the lamb chops and a whole sea bream. We also ordered a side of mashed potatoes with truffles, some green beans and a portion of French fries. The ‘whole’ sea bream was the size of a sardine and the lamb chops were mostly fat – very disappointing. There were about ten French fries in the portion so that disappeared in about 5 seconds. We ordered another portion of the truffle mash and French fries and asked for the bill. We’d complained about the fish and the lamb and the manager came over to speak to us. He eventually took both main courses off the bill!

Until this point our evening had been quite relaxed. We’d been sitting outside, the music wasn’t too loud, we were all very chilled. I’d booked a table at Pacha for after dinner and we thought we’d go for one drink and then head back home. We got to Pacha at about 11.30 and were shown to our table on the rooftop. What a fun place! Of course we ended up staying until almost closing time – and this time we all ended up at Zaatar w Zeit until 4am!

By Friday, I was shattered. We’d been out almost every day and night and I was actually relieved that Friday night was a dry night! This meant that nowhere would be serving alcohol after 6pm. Our original plan for Friday was to go to Blue Marlin but as it was a dry night they weren’t open at all. We ended up at Iris for brunch. We didn’t get there until 3pm and opted for the brunch option with house wine (instead of the champagne option). We also had Bloody Marys which went down well. There was a salad and sushi bar inside the restaurant, and out on the terrace they had the barbecue – truffle burgers, sausages, steaks. They also had a pasta station where they were making pasta and truffle risotto. You could eat and drink as much as you wanted to. A couple of my friends who live in Dubai ended up joining us as well. We were there until 6pm and then left.

I went home for a couple of hours and then met my friends at Zuma for dinner. It was busier than I thought it would be and we could only get a table upstairs in the lounge area. The food was as good as ever: crispy squid, yellowtail sashimi, rock shrimp, spinach ohitashi, tuna tataki (my absolute favourite), black cod, spicy beef and of course the green tea and banana cake for dessert. It was odd being at dinner and not drinking, but that evening was definitely all about the food – and there was so much of it! It was an early night as my friends had flights in the morning – I was home by 11pm and in bed by 11.15!

I spent all of Saturday at home in my pajamas. It was bliss.

I love my life.

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5 thoughts on “Dubai 2015: Week 1

  1. […] the craziness of the week before, this week was quite the […]

  2. […] away for a couple of weeks (not together, I don’t think). The week after Christmas I had some friends in town for the whole week. And the week after that I was ill! And before I knew it, almost a month had […]

  3. […] I had just two glasses of red wine (I hadn’t had any alcohol since my friends left after that mad week they were here). I hadn’t really missed it and even started with a mocktail, but because we […]

  4. […] friend from London who was here for New Year’s Eve was back in town for one night and staying at the Conrad again. We spent the afternoon at the […]

  5. […] couldn’t. That evening I had a friend in town from London for the weekend (the same one from January and February). We went to the 40th birthday part of one of his friends – it was at the […]

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