Proper Pool Etiquette: 101

It’s 3 am in the Dubai airport. The girls and I are staring down the barrel of six more hours here in duty-free hell. In the middle of the night. We have taken refuge at the Shake Shack in the hopes of waiting this out. At least we are well fed, for now. Save yourselves!

Two days earlier…

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Today we were up early for a little morning sail. The resort has a big wooden boat that they line with bean bag chairs to sail guests around every morning and in the evenings at sunset. We boarded the boat and headed straight to the front. The sail was pretty boring. I almost fell back asleep. But it was nice to get out on the water for an hour. Let the record show that we made a solid attempt to do something other than lounge around on our rafts and read books while blasting country music into the Indian Ocean. It’s just not for us.

This morning’s breakfast buffet featured the best food selection yet. It really made me wonder how I’ve managed to get through thirty two years without breakfast falafel. Couple update: the honeymooners seemed to be in good spirits today. There was no sign of resting bitch face, which no doubt lightened the buffet mood. Nothing notable to report from breakfast other than the usual over-eating and smuggling out contraband sandwiches for lunch.

We decided to mix things up and hit the main resort pool today. It’s a pretty rad infinity pool on the beach that looks like it spills out into the ocean. Or at least it would be rad if it wasn’t infested with the scourge of the earth that makes up a majority of our pool companions. On our boat cruise this morning we spent the better part of the hour trying to avoid and ignore an obnoxious Asian family, however they seem to have taken a liking to us and have followed us to the pool. You know the family I’m talking about – every resort has them – the woman screams commands at her family at the top of her lungs as if she owns the fucking place while the husband runs around with a DSLR snapping four thousand pictures of his motley crew from every possible angle, paying no attention to who he steps on in the process, all the while their child wreaks havoc on the vacation of every adult within a mile radius by being an ill-mannered little shit head. At one point this little inbred ass clown of a child dumped an entire bucket of pool water on Jorgie’s head while she was floating in the pool. Did his parents whip his ass? Or at the very least scold him? Fuck no. Mom and Dad were too busy screaming their buck teeth at each other from across the pool, no doubt arguing about the lighting requirements for Mom’s next headshot.

As we were lounging in a corner of the pool on our rafts trying to stay as far away from the Joy Luck Club as possible, a European couple comes over to Steph and tell hers that they want her spot in the pool. The other 95% of the pool is completely empty, yet for some reason they must go out of their way to demand the specific three square feet of the pool that Steph is currently occupying. She was obviously bemused and so she floated a few feet away in earnest anticipation of discovering the reasoning for this odd behavior. The boyfriend then proceeds to take pictures of his girlfriend deep-throating the straw of her frozen margarita in that exact spot. I guess you can’t give a seductive duck-face from just anywhere in the pool. Has no one taught any of these people proper communal pool etiquette? When I was a kid I would have gotten my ass kicked for splashing in the general direction of an adult. I’d like to say I was shocked by the lack of respect for the personal space of others, but this shit seems to be the new normal these days. Looks like I need to add a pool and beach etiquette seminar to my “How not to be a moron” curriculum. After a few hours we had our fill of fraternizing with the common folk and so we headed back the safety of our over water compound. If today proved one thing, it’s that our money was very well spent on the bungalow with a private pool. Resort pools are for peasants.

The afternoon passed much like the days prior. Reading, floating, lounging. We hit the gym in the late afternoon and then showered and cracked a bottle of wine while we watched Kardashian re-runs on E! before dinner. Tonight we headed back to the Teppanyaki restaurant, mainly because we have cycled through all the restaurants on the island and we thought it would be awkward to have the resort set up a romantic beach dinner for two…for three. We walked on to the Teppanyaki bungalow and immediately notice the Joy Fuck Club at one of the cooking stations. Their little rugrat was already banging his utensils on the table screaming for fried rice like a fucking lost boy. We made a hard left turn for the other station and settled in across from an attractive Indian couple who ate their lobster in quiet. The girl looked like she was about sixteen, but at least her parents taught her some manners before they sold her off to a rich guy. And he takes her the Maldives – so shit, can someone arrange one of those marriages for me, please?

After dinner the resort set up a movie on the beach under the stars, with bean bag chairs set in the sand around a giant projector screen. Steph and I had both recently seen the movie they played, so we only stayed long enough for me to kill a few bowls of popcorn and enjoy the general ambiance. A few couples were waiting for spots to sit so gave up our seats and headed back to our room for bed. They look like they need the entertainment more than us anyway.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Today is our last day in the Maldives. It’s the usual – early wake-up time and hit the gym, followed by our last buffet breakfast. I think ten in a row is more all-you-can-eat before 10 am than anyone needs. We enjoyed our last few hours in of private pool time before we had to check out and have all our shit moved to one of the day use rooms until our boat back to the airport later tonight. We had no choice but to brave the shared resort pool,once again.

One final float in the private pool

We threw down our beach bags on some pool chairs and looked up to see none other than Resting Bitch Face herself glaring at us from beneath her oversized designer sunglasses. Someone please order this girl one of those frozen margaritas with an extra wide straw so she chills the fuck out a little. Apparently she hates pools as much as she hates breakfast, sunshine, happiness, and her husband. Where is that annoying little Asian kid with his bucket of water when you need him to splash the bitchy scowl off someone’s face?

Steph and I immediately hopped in the pool on our rafts, kindles in hand, ready to put a dent in some reading material. Just as we had gotten comfortable a resort employee comes over to inform us that there are no rafts allowed in the pool. The pool that we spent hours on our rafts in yesterday. When I inquired as to why, he claimed it was because they take up too much space and the pool is not big enough. I gestured around the pool with my head to draw attention to the fact that we were the only fucking people in the giant pool. The employee reutted by informing us that only children can have small floats in the pool. Another day at the communal pool, another bewildering encounter. Not in the mood to fight on my last day of vacation, I took my raft and headed out the ocean where I was swept half way to a neighboring island in the current and almost run over by novices kayakers who didn’t know their oars from their ass holes before having to swim back to shore, raft in tow. All the while, the pool remained relatively empty. So just to recap: Obnoxious children throwing water on people – allowed, harassing fellow resort patrons to move – allowed, subjecting everyone at the pool to your resting bitch face – allowed, grown women minding their own business reading a book on raft – NOT allowed. And the universe makes sense once again.

Our plan for the late afternoon was to do the free snorkel tour. However we walked down the dock only to be informed that the snorkel tour is not actually a boating adventure, but is instead just guided snorkeling from the reef right off the beach of our resort. The one we snorkeled in ourselves the other day. Furthermore, the Joy Luck Club was also signed up for the snorkeling excursion. We promptly returned our snorkel gear to the dive center and called it a day. I don’t want to be anywhere near that annoying little Asian boy if he drowns because this blog alone would be enough to prove motive.

We went to an early dinner and then watched the Kardashians 10th anniversary special in our loaner room before it was time to leave for the airport. I know it sounds like we watch a lot of Kardashians, but E! is pretty much the only American channel we get here and they play Kardashian reruns around the clock. On second thought, fuck it, I don’t need to justify my love of awful reality tv to you people. I watch those sluts on the regular, even when I’m home, and I like it.

Our return transfer yacht back to the airport was huge and beautiful and I wanted to stay on it and sail around the Maldives for another week, but sadly the real world was calling. Listen to the fresh hell that we must endure to get home: three hour flight from Male to Dubai, seven hour layover in the Dubai airport from 2 am to 9 am, sixteen hour flight from Dubai to LAX. Our seven hour layover was originally two hours, but Emirates canceled their second daily flight between Dubai and LA when all Trump’s travel bans went into effect earlier this year. Since no one can get into our country, they don’t have the demand to fill two flights a day, resulting in our original flight home being cancelled. I realize that in the grand scheme of Trump atrocities this is very small potatoes, but if you can’t bitch about a layover in your own blog while you are cranky at 5 am in an airport, what is the point of writing one?

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

I’m writing to most of you from the future. It’s now 5 am in the Dubai Airport. The call to prayer has woken up all the napping tourists. I am happy because now everyone is awake and miserable just like me. Miserly loves company. Four more hours until our sixteen hour flight home. I’ve forgotten what sleep feels like. If you don’t hear from me, send a search party to the booze section of the duty free shop in Emirates Terminal A.

The Breakfast Buffet Club

Friday, September 22, 2017

I was up bright and early once again around sunrise. A 9:30 pm bed time will do that to you. I headed over to the gym and had a little one-on-one time with my homegirl Jillian Michaels to start my day. We aren’t sure if it was the workouts, the massages or the yoga, but everyone is awkwardly sore today and moving slow. We headed breakfast with our beach bags in hand so that we could smuggle out food for lunch. We opted out of the all-inclusive package for our stay because (a) the Jew in me would be determined to get my money’s worth, resulting in five days of me being completely shit faced, (b) the exorbitant price led me to believe that I’m probably the only one of us even capable of drinking enough to make the plan cost effective, and (c) I think we can all agree five days of all-you-can-eat food is highly unnecessary for a girl who needs an aggressive lesbian to yell at her through an iPad to facilitate a decent workout. Yesterday we saw some couples making sandwiches from the breakfast veggie and cold-cut bar and sneaking them out. We already steal free water bottles from the gym in the morning, so I’m definitely not above putting a sandwich in my purse to save a buck.

Breakfast was surprisingly entertaining, thanks to all the couples that are visibly sick of each other. In addition to staring at their phones for a respite from speaking to their significant other, I noticed that they also utilize stuffing large quantities of food into their faces as a means of avoiding conversation. Eye contact is also virtually non existent here. One couple in particular was seated directly in front of me and I couldn’t help but notice how utterly miserably they looked. This bitch has a diamond ring the size of a marshmallow while she eats chocolate croissants at buffet breakfast in the fucking Maldives, probably on a honeymoon after blowing her parent’s 401(k) on a lavish wedding, and she has the nerve to look miserable? This wasn’t just a serious case of resting bitch face either. This brat was visibly in the throws of a grown woman temper tantrum. Her husband was a too engrossed in his instagram to give a shit. Probably sending dick pics via DM to his wife’s bridesmaids in the hopes of bolstering his manhood given the castrating glare his bride was sending his way. I snuck pictures of the happy couple for your enjoyment. #relationshipgoals

After breakfast we headed down to one of the beaches and snagged some beach chairs with a premium view that I had eyed the other day. The on-site photographer apparently agrees with my location scouting because she brought all the couples to this beach for their romantic photo shoot. Everyone that stays at the resort gets a free half hour shoot with the resident photographer. The only thing better than a beach view in the Maldives is awkward couples fake running down the beach for your entertainment. My favorite duo of the day were the ones who did the Dirty Dancing running leap into a lift. Just substitute in two middle aged white people and cut the vertical in about half and you can probably picture it. I couldn’t get my phone out in time to snap an pic, but trust me when I tell you it was awesome. Second place goes to the picture of the woman blowing a kiss at her husband while he pretended to be “blown away” by it. Get it? I’m trying to talk the girls into doing our own photo shoot. I’m thinking three woman pyramid on the sand, but I’m open to suggestions.

We had about ten minutes of rain in the late morning, which was pretty much the most exciting part of the day. It’s technically rainy season in the Maldives at the moment so we lucked out that this intermittent cloud burst was the worst of it. After beach time we headed back to our over water bungalow and floated in our private plunge pool while reading our kindles. Once our skin hit the vitamin D max we showered and got drunk on the bottles of wine in our mini bar before heading to dinner. We did our own little photo shoot on our deck – which reminded me of our “headshots du jour” from our France trip a few years ago. My online dating profile is looking rather worldly. I’m like the fucking Carmen SanDiego of tinder. If you don’t know who that is, you’re too young to be reading this blog. Spinster bed time was at about 9 pm again tonight.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

I think I figured out why the couples at breakfast were so miserable yesterday. They must have been on the island for a solid week and were losing their fucking minds with cabin fever. Today’s crop of couples at breakfast seemed far less bitter. They looked like island newbies, with fresh smiles on their faces. They even exhibited normal couple behavior such as talking, touching and looking in each other’s general direction. Not to fear, honeymooners, there is hope. At this point I’ve planned so many honeymoons for my friends and been on so many friendmoons that I feel like an expert. Perhaps I should start a consulting business that will (a) plan your honeymoon and (b) tell you how to have some fucking fun while on your honeymoon. You know what they say – those who can’t do, teach. The millionaire matchmaker can’t find a man for herself to save her life, yet people still pay her to set them up. So why not let a perpetually single girl be in charge of some couples retreats? Someone needs to help these people factor the pigment of their skin into their honeymoon destination choice, because they obviously aren’t doing it for themselves.  Once again, this blog just bleeds with entrepreneurial spirit.  My “how not to be a moron” class never really got off the ground, but I think Spinster Travel, LLC has some real promise.  I obviously need help on name ideas

After breakfast we were determined to use the snorkel gear that we picked up in the dive shop yesterday. We geared up in our masks and fins and set out off the back of our bungalow into the ocean. Every time I go on vacation I watch the other tourists spend hours snorkeling and I think to myself, I must be missing something. So I try it again. Can we all just be honest and admit that snorkeling is fun for all of about five minutes? I can’t be the only person who gets bored swimming around looking at fish and coral while my eyes start to sting from salty sea water leaking through my mask and my feet cramp up from fins cutting off my circulation. We certainly gave it the old college try as we snorkeled around the island to the main beach. I included some pics for you just in case you actually give a shit about random fish. We walked back down the beach to the safety of our bungalow and got back to doing what we do best – floating and reading.

At one point in the day I got adventurous and took my raft down to the beach where I tried something new and different…floating and reading in the ocean. I was really thinking outside the box. We lazed away the afternoon, alternating between floating, laying out and napping. It’s amazing how time flies when you aren’t doing shit. Before we knew it, it was time for sunset yoga with our favorite Namaste Nazi. The group was bigger this time, and only a few of the woman managed to drag their significant others with them. I settled into a spot in the back row behind a guy with great arms.  My sun salutation was more of a bow to his biceps. The sunset wasn’t the only nice view I had during that yoga session. Yeah yeah, I know he’s taken, but l’m only window shopping. His appeal went downhill significantly once he turned around anyway. Luckily the front of him is his girlfriend’s problem, not mine. Also joining us at yoga today was Resting Bitch Face from breakfast yesterday! She was your typical skinny bitch with a big diamond who is great a yoga. Other than that, nothing too notable. We just performed the “normal inhalations and exhalations” as Namaste Nazi suggested. At one point I swear he laughed at me attempting to do a post. My flexibility is so pathetically hilarious that not even Namaste Nazi can resist a chuckle.

Ocean floating

We had a few glasses of wine back at the room and then headed out to dinner at “Sand” restaurant, which is, you guessed it, on the sand. The entire resort is technically on sand, but this restaurant is out on the beach with tables under little huts. The chefs cook outdoors in an open air hut as well, which is pretty cool. We ordered some fancy dinner and bottle of wine while we creeped on an adorable older couple having a “romantic dinner” out on the beach under the stars surrounded by lanterns and lights.

Saturday night is “DJ Night” at the main bar. We actually walked over to take a look at the scene, not because we wanted to join, but because we thought there might be some decent people watching. Much to our dismay but not to our surprise, Resting Bitch Face was not out on the dance floor dropping her scrawny ass like its hot. Nor was the chubby couple re-enacting their dirty dancing floor routine. Just a bunch of couples sitting around whispering to each over loud music with a disco ball overhead and lights flashing. Having fun at this “party” would require more alcohol than I’m willing to pay for and more calories than I’m willing to work off. We headed back to the room and left the couples to have their fun.

Maldave-a-Trois

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Dubai has been fun, but it’s time to blow this gold jewelry stand and head to part deux of our friendmoon in the Maldives! We were in no state to pack last night, thanks to our little booze cruise around Dubai, so alarms went off at 6am. I had been staring at the ceiling since 3 am, probably more out of excitement than travel insomnia, so I was more than ready to get moving. We quickly packed and headed down for our final breakfast at the Mina a Salam. I’m really gonna miss those damn latkes – have I mentioned the brekky latkes? They legit taste like someone’s Bubbie is in the back shredding potatoes. We hopped in a cab to the airport and showed up way too early – but you never know what an international airport is going to be like, and there is no way in hell I’m missing a flight to the fucking Maldives.

The Emirates departure terminal looks just like the baggage claim, with rows of giant white columns and tons of open space. We power-walked our way to check-in where we were “helped” by a woman who woke up on the wrong side of her camel this morning. She moved slower than dirt and glared at us the entire time. When Steph asked for a luggage tag you would have thought we demanded her firstborn child. Perhaps she was just hungover from “ladies night” and we took it personally. Nah, she’s just a bitch.

We had some time, so we decided to peruse the Dubai airport and get some ideas of how to stay busy during our seven hour layover on the way home. I’ll explain how that happened in a later bog (cough::Trump travel bans::cough). Turns out – there isn’t shit to do in the Dubai airport for seven hours. Or any other airport for that matter. We walked through the Duty Free shops for a good thirty minutes before we even reach a terminal. How is it possible that all these people didn’t reach their shopping quota in the bottomless abyss of retail carnage known as the Dubai Mall? What on earth could you possibly have left to buy? I will never understand the fascination with shopping on vacation. Or shopping at home, for that matter. My second post-mega millions entourage position is personal shopper. No wait, driver. Pool boy, then driver, then personal shopper. Priorities.

The flight was uneventful. After our sixteen hour haul to Dubai, this four hour flight felt like a quick joyride over the Indian Ocean. Jorgie spilled her wine all over the floor. Steph’s two seat mates decided to snuggle with her at one end of her row instead of moving down to the empty isle seat on the other end. And apparently there was some seat-reclining drama a few rows behind me. But I was watching Westworld and drinking free Pinot Grigio so I didn’t notice a thing.

We arrived in Male, the capital and main island of the Maldives, and whizzed through customs and baggage claim. We quickly found our resort representative who informed us that we were just waiting on two couples who were on our same flight. No problem – we’ll just people watch while we wait. For the most part, the arrivals hall looked like the Olympic trials for the three legged race – lots of awkward couples attached at the hip. To be expected, given our destination. One thing that did shock me, however, was how pale many of these tourists were. Do these people not know the importance of getting a base tan before you leave for a sunny vacation destination? Especially one this close to the equator. Enjoy your vacation in the burn unit, morons. I also noticed quite a few people covered from head to toe in clothing to avoid the sun. I got the impression that their plan for the entire trip is to somehow avoid the sun coming into direct contact with skin. In the Maldives. Now, I’m not saying you have to be tan to visit the Maldives, but, wait yes, that is exactly what I’m saying. The other two couples showed up at a painfully leisurely pace and we walked out of the airport and on to our resort’s boat.

The girls and I quickly jumped on the boat first and headed up to the small upper deck to get a good view. Snooze ya lose when it comes to seating positions on a boat, am I right people? Apparently our resort mates didn’t get the boat etiquette memo and so they decided to all come up to the top deck and squish in with us. The first couple sat on either side of the girls and I. I found it odd they didn’t want to sit next to each other until I realized it was so that the guy could take a photo shoot of his girlfriend from across the deck. Hopefully he can photoshop my resting bitch face out of her “I;m on a boat” pictures. The other couple was painfully awkward and looked like brother and sister. Once we were all cozy, we headed off to our resort.

Upon arrival, the island looked similar to the pictures, save for one little problem. It’s very close proximity to Male, the main island. Why is this a problem? Because Male is a shit hole. I knew it was only a boat ride away instead of a flight, but was not aware (a) how ugly Male is and (b) just how close it was. Being able to see buildings in the distance kind of takes away from the deserted island experience. I had emailed ahead of time and asked for a room on the side of the island that doesn’t face Male (out of sight, out of mind), but as soon as they walked us to our over water bungalow it was painfully obvious that my request was not granted. I kept my cool and didn’t lose my shit on anyone. Maybe I’m turning over a new leaf in the Maldives. We kindly requested that we be moved to a room on the other side without another island in our skyline. They promised to look into it and let us know. A few hours later they called and told us we could move to the other side tomorrow at noon. Apparently being patient and agreeable does work…sometimes.

By the time we checked in and got settled it was about 5 pm in the Maldives. We caught the sunset at the “Chill bar” on our island, which serves weak and over priced cocktails. The Maldives is a dry country, which means that booze is illegal, except at the resorts which have special license to sell to tourists. This means no BYO duty free booze for happy hour in your room. Which in turn means that you either pay out the ass for booze or stay sober. Given the fact that nightlife here consists of a cover band at an island bar full of couples, we’ll probably be opting for the sober route. I could use a week to dry out anyway, lets be honest. The Hermosa Beach summer season has not been kind to the old liver.

I had made dinner reservations for each night ahead of time, to avoid restaurants being booked and having to eat in the over priced buffet at the resort. Tonight was teppanyaki night. We walked along the sand lined paths through the resort to the restaurant on the other side of the island. It’s basically a mini Benihana’s on an open aired over water bungalow. A nice Sri Lankan chef gave us a little cooking show after which we stuffed our faces and went to bed.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Pay attention to the general itinerary of today, as it’ll probably repeat quite a bit over the next few days. My general plan for the day is to not do a fucking thing and enjoy my first full day in the Maldives. Today I was up in time to catch the sunrise around 6am, after which I hit the gym. We then hit up the breakfast buffet. It’s no Middle East Disneyland buffet, but as our only free meal of the day, we’re gonna make it work. We were surprised to find a few other group of friends at breakfast today – all girls, of course. A blind person could tell which tables are friends because they are the only ones actually talking. Most of the tables of couples just sit there together silently chewing and avoiding eye contact. Some of the men play on their phones while their wives or girlfriends glare at them. It’s almost painful to watch. That’s a lie, it’s funny as hell. I wonder how long these people have been here if they have ran out of things to talk about? Isn’t the plan to eat breakfast together for the rest of your lives? Yikes.  The girls and I may ignore eachother for hours while we read on the beach, but we at least have the decency to communicate while we break bread. We aren’t savages.

Steph and I lounging in our pool

After breakfast we headed back to the room and blew up our rafts. We never go on vacation without rafts. The only way you last more than an hour in this heat is if you are partially submerged on your raft at all times. Around noon we took a break from floating in our private plunge pool to change rooms, at which point we started floating in our new private plunge pool. At 3 pm we headed over to the resort spa for our 90 minute deep tissue massages. The spa menu says that deep tissue is recommended for men. Leave it to us to book the man massage. Senor Boston strikes again. Not only did I get the man massage, I gave my masseuse specific instructions to do her absolute worst. If you aren’t sore the next day what is the point? The spa is absolutely beautiful. It’s set in over water bungalows, with each treatment room it’s own little bungalow complete with a view of the crystal blue water and the sound of the little waves serenading you throughout the massage. It was heaven. There is a big whirlpool overlooking the ocean in the main spa area that you can relax in after your treatment. We walked up to find a very unattractive couple making out in it. But hey, at least these two spoke to each other. I cleared my throat and they took the hint.

We chilled in the spa for a bit until it was time for sunset yoga on the beach. The setting was beautiful. Yoga mats set up on a powder white sand beach overlooking the sea and a group of bungalows. We were joined by three couples – the men obviously did not want to be there and didn’t have a fucking clue what they were doing. The yoga instructor was kind of awesome. He was definitely the soup Nazi of yoga – every move had to be done just to his specifications. No taking liberties with poses or going half assed. He constantly yelled at us to “continue the normal inhalation and exhalations”. Steph does a great impression. The poor men were grunting in frustration and stumbling around like baby deer. Yoga Nazi fucking hated them. He corrected their every move with daggers in his eyes. One couple strolled in ten minutes late and then spent the entire class giggling and falling in the back. Yoga Nazi was visibly pissed at their lack of respect for his art. You could tell he spent the entire hour questioning what wrong turn in his life led him this point – the yoga instructor for a bunch of spoiled pricks who can’t touch their fingers to their toes. The girls and I looked like fucking yoga goddesses in comparison to the rest of these people. And we suck at yoga, so that’s really saying something.

After yoga the girls headed back to the room to shower for dinner while I went to the front desk to sign us up for any activity on the schedule with the word “complementary” in front of it. There were two activities that looked good tomorrow, but I was soon informed that they were already booked up. I know you’re all thinking that this probably pissed me off, and it did, but let me explain why. Before we left I emailed the resort to make our dinner and spa reservations and I specifically asked if it was necessary to book activities in advance if they are likely to book up. I was told no. So instead of the free snorkeling trip tomorrow, they informed me that they could schedule us on the earlier snorkeling trip – the one that costs $70 per person. Instead of telling the resort worker who apparently fancies himself a salesman to go fuck himself, I just kindly informed him that we are here five days and will wait for the next free trip in a few days. Luckily for them I was very relaxed after my fabulous day of sun, spa and yoga. We had dinner at the Etesian restaurant at the resort. It’s pricey, but the food was fucking awesome. I even took a picture of it for you. Bed time tonight was at about 9:30 pm. We are getting crazy in the Maldives.

Dinner

Living the High Life in Dubai

Monday, September 18, 2017

Last night was rough. I found myself wide awake at 2 am staring at the cieling, so I gave up and read a book until about 6:30 am when I headed down to the gym. Our hotel gym seems to also double as the Equinox of Dubai. I fumbled around fake working out for about twenty minutes until I noticed a spin class was starting, so I joined in on that and actually earned my breakfast buffet for a change. After we all hit the gym we headed down to our usual buffet. I smuggled a few bottles of sparking water out in my bag for vodka sodas later today. Zero shame. After breakfast we headed down to the pool at the Al Naseer hotel, which is another hotel in our resort complex. We have access to four different pools and the entire stretch of beach at the Jumeirah Madinat complex. Or as we like to call it, Middle East Disneyland. We spent a few hours by the pool until we were sufficiently overheated in the sweaty armpit of the universe that is Dubai in September. We headed back up to the room for some drinks before our next outing.

Everyone drinks before they go to the mall, right? Oh, the Dubai Mall. How to describe you? For all the talk it garners, I had some high expectations for the Dubai Mall. I was picturing an architecturally stunning building with oversized high-end stores sprinkled with impressive art installations around every corner. Spoiler alert – its just a fucking mall. A giant, anxiety-inducing, douche-bag filled square box of a mall with every store you could possibly imagine. Ok, so there are some cool fountains outside that light up at night – but nothing I can’t see fifteen hours closer to home at the Bellagio. Yes, there is an aquarium in the mall, but since I’m not eight years old that doesn’t really do it for me. I don’t need to travel sixteen hours to shop in a fucking H&M. I didn’t think there was a way for me to possibly hate shopping more – but Dubai, you have done it. We basically used the mall as exercised as we power walked through. I think the only store we actually stopped in was a giant candy store, and that was just because they were giving away free samples. Steph’s friend had recommended a restaurant in the mall so we stopped there and got some hummus in an attempt to kill time before our reservation at Atmosphere lounge in the Burj Khalifa. The moral of the story here is; skip the Dubai mall and do your shopping at home. Or on Amazon, like a normal person.

There are a few ways for lowly tourists like us to get to a high floor of the Burj Khalifa. The most popular way is to wait in line with a shit ton of other clueless tourists and ride up to the “at the top” observation deck. Or, for about $20 more, you can make a reservation at the Atmosphere lounge in the Armani hotel a few floors below the observation deck and use your money towards the minimum spend for a table. Decisions, decisions. I could have my personal space violated in an enclosed glass box by a Chinese tour group following around a guide holding a stick with a stuffed panda on it, or I could get drunk in the highest bar in the world. If anyone needs to claim they’ve had a drink in the superlatives of bars, it’s this bitch. So up we went, 123 floors, to the Atmosphere lounge where I had a window table booked for the 5:30 pm slot – perfect to see the view of Dubai during the day, the sunset, and the view at night. Overall, the Armani hotel is pretentious and sterile. My gynecologist’s office is more inviting than this place. I couldn’t even wear flip flops. My ability to be dressed comfortably is usually the standard by which I measure drinking establishments. Hence my VIP card at the Poop Deck in Hermosa. The lounge looked like a 1970s James Bond movie. Plush velvet, expensive drinks, and waiters on standby to rush over as soon as you blink in their general direction. I’ll be damned if I didn’t think it was fucking rad. We ordered $20 cocktails and a few appetizers and enjoyed pretending like we were rich for a few hours. Upon our way downstairs, we attempted to walk to the windows on the third floor to see the Dubai mall fountain show, but were told a security guard that we weren’t allowed to look out the window. I shit you not. Come for the cool bar with a great view, but leave because they are pretentious pricks in the Armani hotel.

The plan was to go back to the mall to a restaurant with a view of the fountain show after the lounge, but I was down for the count after my 2 am wake up time. That, and the thought of going back to that mall strikes fear into my heart. So we hopped in a cab and headed back to Middle East Disneyland. I think we were in bed by about 9:30 pm. Sorry for not partying.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Today I woke up and had a leisurely morning in the hotel room. Steph worked out, Jorgie drank coffee, I watched TV. Then we did something terrible. We cheated on our breakfast buffet. Blatantly and in the light of day. We took an abra boat to the other side of Middle East Disneyland to the Al Qsar hotel breakfast buffet. In true cheating fashion, it ended up being a lot of work for a sub par experience. I was pretty disappointed in this buffet, until I found a cronut on my way out. All is well that ends well. Now that we had adequately stuffed our faces, it was naturally time to go to the water park.

Did you honestly think Middle East Disneyland could be complete without its own water park? The Wild Wadi waterpark is located in our hotel complex and is free to everyone staying at the hotel. I’m not talking about a kids club with a jungle gym in the middle of some fountains here (although they have that too). This is an actual fucking waterpark right on the beach, adjacent to our hotel, with a view of the Burj Al Arab from the slide towers. It opens at 10 am, so we naturally arrived at 9:55 am. When they opened there were about ten people total in the entire water park, and three of them were us. Which was great, because the fewer people that question why three 30-something year old women are running around a waterpark in Dubai, the better. We tackled the group rides first – the ones we could all go on together. Our second ride required exactly four passengers, because the weight had to be evenly distributed on the raft or you’ll flip over. When will this blatant discrimination of threesomes stop?! It might as well say “couples only”. At this point, getting a fourth person on one of our annual trips would be way too much work, since we would all have veto power and the three of us just don’t like very many people. I had a half a mind to tell them to take their even numbered water slide and shove it, but Jorgie noticed that there was a male lifeguard at the top on our last ride and was confident that we could make him our fourth wheel. So we hiked up and played dumb and pouted when they told us about the four person rule. Sure enough, the lifeguard offered to round out our foursome, so if you are wondering who the middle eastern man with a whistle around his neck in our pictures is, now you know. We hit up every single ride in the park in about an hour and a half and made our exit just as all the families started arriving.

We then headed down to the beach and snagged some chairs under a giant umbrella. We spent the next few hours laying in the shade while cute cabana boys brought us lunch. It is damn near impossible to lay in the sun in Dubai this time of year because of the heat, even the shade is a chore. But ME Disneyland does a good job of trying to keep you cool with men walking around to all the pool and beach chairs handing out watermelon slices and popsicles. Today we even got a visit from the schfitzer man – a guy who walks around with what is basically a turbo powered water gun strapped to his back and sprays down the guests upon request. How did this hotel know that a man who’s sole purpose is to spraying me with water while I tan is Rory’s entourage job opening numero uno as soon as I win the lottery? It’s like they are reading my mind.

Once the sun poisoning set in we moved our little party back up to the room to get ready for the grand finale of our Dubai trip – BOAT TIME! We packed up our booze and headed out in a cab to a marina to meet our private boat. Our taxi driver got a little lost on the way, but I my nautical sixth sense told me we were headed in the wrong direction. Once we taught our driver how to use GPS we were at our boat in no time. It was obviously necessary for me to book a 15 person yacht for the three of us. Boats are absurdly cheap to rent in Dubai for some reason. If I ever come back, I’m just going to rent one every damn day and pretend I’m Beyonce. Our captain looked slightly confused when only three of us got on and told him we were ready to go, but that is a look we are used to. The first mate put our booze on ice and we headed out to the coast guard boat to get clearance to leave the Marina. I have zero clue what pirate laws govern the Dubai waterways, all I know is that our passports were given to a guy in army fatigues with gold teeth along with a wad of cash. Gold Teeth then boarded our boat, gave each of us the once over, and searched the vessel like we were hiding Elian Gonzalez in the berth. Jorgie was, once again, certain that this situation would end with us being sold into sex slavery, but I assured her that we were far too old to be worth anything more than ransom. A few minutes later we were released by the powers that be and cruising by the Burj Al Arab headed for the palm islands of Dubai.

We had the boat for three hours, which was plenty of time to cruise through the Marina area of Dubai and around the Palm Islands, where the Atlantis hotel is. Waters were a bit rough at first but calmed once we made it to the safety of the islands. As we cruised through the Marina district we passed numerous other yachts packed with Asian tourists. I think they assumed that three white girls popping bottles of champagne on a private yacht meant that we were famous because they would blatantly take pictures of us as we passed them. This is the closest I’ll ever come to paparazzi, so I ate it up. The girls wouldn’t let me flash them. Or moon them. I supposed I should thank them for holding me back because I doubtpublic nudity is highly regarded in Dubai. Now I know what the Kardashians feels like – life in the public eye is just so hard. We basically spent three hours boozing on the front of our yacht while we motored through skyscraper lined canals blasting country music throughout the Persian Gulf. It was the perfect adieu to the city of gold. After our three hour tour we were sufficiently drunk. If I’m being honest, we were downright shit faced. If you aren’t drunk every time you step off a boat, you need to seriously re-evaluate your priorities. No one at the marina was too keen on calling a taxi for three drunk American chicks, so we hoofed it out to the main road and flagged down a taxi back to our resort.

At this point, I still had every intention of partying tonight. We quickly showered and tried to lock it up for a night out on the town. By town, I obviously mean the various bars within the confines of our resort complex. Some people had recommended a few clubs in downtown Dubai to check out, but I’m not crazy about the word “club” any more than I am about the word “downtown”. We headed downstairs to Bahri Bar where we met Steph’s friend from home and his wife, who now live in Dubai. Yes, this is the same friend who recommended Zero Gravity Beach Hell and yes, we gave him shit about it. It was ladies night at the bar, which meant three free glasses of champagne for anyone with two X chromosomes. Three very unecessary, yet much appreciated glasses of champagne for the gals! Now it’s about 10pm and I’ve been drunk for over six hours with nothing to eat, so mama needs to be fed. Jorgie and I headed over in one of the Disneyland boats to a tapas restaurant at our resort where we proceeded to order half the menu (free half board = three courses per person at any restaurant at the resort). Steph joined us a few minutes later after her friends had left for their early work morning the next day. By midnight it had become glaringly obvious that we were not making it to another bar. So we took our drunk asses home to dream about our arrival in the Maldives tomorrow. Dubai, it’s been real. Real hot.

Tapas?

Gold Tastes on a Curry Budget

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Today we managed to get a full night of decent sleep. The girls went to the gym in the morning while I blogged and then we all headed down to the enormous breakfast buffet. I am forcing myself to stick to only one plate today. The food situation here has gotten out of hand quickly. Today we met who we assume to be the manager of the breakfast buffet – an adorable British boy who looks like he is about 24 years old at best. Who needs gelato at breakfast when you already have eye candy? Oh god, I just realized I’m the creepy older lady hitting on the much younger help. Can’t stop, won’t stop.

After breakfast we hopped in a cab down to the Diera area of Dubai, which is the historical commercial center. Now overshadowed by all the new development, it basically represents what Dubai used to be like back before they lead the race for the world’s tallest buildings and biggest malls. The plan for the morning is to hit up the gold souk and the spice souk and then take an abra boat ride across the creek. As usual, our taxi driver drove like a fucking maniac and we feared for our lives the entire way. It’s par for the course in Dubai. You get a nut bag driver fifty percent of the time, every time. The drive took about half an hour, because everything in Dubai is farther than you think and takes twice as long as it should. Driving here would be complete nightmare. Our surly driver dropped us off outside of the gold souk and we were immediately bombarded by men asking us to come look at their fake handbags. If you have a vagina in the gold souk, it is assumed that you care about nothing but designer handbags, colorful pagminas and engagement rings.

The three of us were picturing more a traditional souk – similar to the one in Marrakech with vendors in little stalls selling various trinkets and wares, good-natured and ready to make a deal. My inner Fatima CousCous was ready to haggle. The gold souk in Dubai resembles more of an alley made up of small jewelry stores with aggressive prices – Basically in Santee Alley, with a serious attitude problem. Jorgie found a ring she liked in one of the windows so we went in to see what kind of deal we could make. The guy gave us an opening price of about USD $600, at which point we realized we were in way over our heads. I could haggle the shit out of this guy and still not get to place anyone would be comfortable with. 24 kt gold and precious gems demand a high price that we just aren’t interested in paying.

The intense heat and thick humidity only further exacerbated our cheapness and annoyance. It was at this point that I realized why the souk is open until 10 pm – no one in their right minds comes to this money pit in daylight. I guess we missed the memo. I was thinking more about beating the crowds than the heat. With jewelry shopping out of the question it become apparent that we would be making a swift exit. But first, Steph and I were determined to have our Sex and the City moment in the souk. It’s a girl thing, just roll with it. The next young man that came over to us asking us if we like Gucci and Prada handbags was the lucky winner. We told him we would take a look and followed in down an alley, up a decrepit stairwell, to an unassuming brown door where he registered a secret knock of some sort. At this point Jorgie was convinced that it was finally happening – we were selling her into white girl slavery. There is a point in every trip where she fears for her life and thinks we are being taken, but she follows Steph and I down the rabbit hole like a good friend anyway. We had zero interest in buying fake designer bags, we were purely in it for the experience. What the fuck would I do with a fake Prada bag anyway, wear it around in Sharkeez in some matching lulu lemons while I take Jell-O shots and play flip cup on Thursday nights? It’s a good thing I wasn’t a serious shopper, because these were the worst fucking fake bags I have ever seen. I could do a better job with some pleather and a bedazzler. The guy then offered to show us fake watches or sunglasses, but based on the bag selection I surmised that I was better off waiting on my next Target run. Besides, our Sex and the City moment had passed. We left the creepy room and headed back to the souk where Jorgie was finally able to unclench and breathe a sigh of relief.

Knock twice if you have rich white girls

Next stop was the spice souk. It was even shittier than the gold souk. None of the Arabic authenticity we had imagined. Our faces were sweating down our necks and we were desperate to make a quick purchase and get back to some air conditioning. A nice man with a spice shop invited us in to give us a run down on his product and we obliged. He offered to mix some specialty curry. We asked the price and he quoted us in grams, assuring us it was super cheap. So he mixed us up three huge batches of house curry that we will never be able to get through, along with some other spices. The main problem here was our complete lack of knowledge about the metric system. What American knows how much a fucking gram is? Apparently they are extremely small. So we ended up with a small fortune of spices that we then had to argue the price down on. It was clear we had let our heat exhaustion and souk induced anxiety get the better of us. We settled on a price that I’m still sure was about 50% too high and quickly got the fuck out of the Dubai souks. It was the kind of thing you have to do and see once. However if I ever find myself in Dubai again, I’ll stick to the resorts and leave the souk shopping to the metric savvy Europeans. By the way, all my friends are getting homemade curry powder as presents Steph is already planning a curry themed Christmas party. And Jorgie’s boyfriend better be ready to taste test her all new curry Pinterest recipes. We apologize in advance.

The next part of the plan was to take an abra boat along the creek. Abra boats were the main mode of transportation for Dubai workers back in the day. We walked over to the boat station and one of the attendants gave us an overview of the route options. He informed us that the typical ride up and back down the creek takes about 45 minutes. We all would have thrown someone overboard if we had to be subjected to the stagnant Dubai heat and humidity for forty-five more minutes. I then asked the guy if we could just take the five minute commuter express journey that goes straight across the creek. He was clearly disappointed. This prick then attempted to over-charge us 20 dirhams a person. Luckily Steph’s friend had already informed us this should only cost 1 dirham so we called bullshit and boarded the boat. Five minutes later we docked at the other side of the creek, fully confident that we got an efficient yet completely adequate abra boat experience. We hopped in a cab, made whimpering sounds as the air conditioning hit our skin, and headed back to the hotel. Thus concludes the “authentic Dubai” experience. We came, we saw, we curried

We cooled down in our hotel for a bit and then hit the pool bar for a quick lunch before heading out for our dune buggy desert tour. Every tourist in Dubai does basically the same obligatory desert tour.  There are tons of different companies, but the program is generally identical.  I had the typical tour booked until Steph’s Aunt Sharon saved us from from tourism basicness and told us we had to do a dune buggy tour. Sharon is also a blog fan, so shout out to her! We heeded her advice and booked a dune buggy tour instead.  We were picked up and driven about an hour out of Dubai into the desert where we were thrilled to discover that we were the only people who booked this particular tour tonight. Private tour for three with no losers to slow us down. Perfect. Just to be clear, I didn’t drive. Driving and vacationing are mutually exclusive in my book because I hate driving and I’m horrible at it. I sat shot gun in Jorgie’s buggy and took selfies. The first half hour was a little slow for our tastes. I think the guy was giving us the Meek Female Special. When we stopped for a break I informed him it was time to speed it up. This isn’t our first four-wheeling experience on sand dunes. We know what we paid for and we came to kick a little ass. Again, by “we” I am referring to Steph and Jorgie. They gave us driving break at the foot of rocky hill in the middle of the desert. I think they thought we would enjoy the shade. Fuck shade, I want some cute pictures. So I made everyone drive up to a sand dune instead and then directed a photo shoot. The guides took pictures of us with their own phones “for the website”. One can only hope that is where those pics end up. But if some dude in a burka wants to get his rocks off to a pic of three sweaty American chicks covered in sand, no skin off my back. Our tour guide took note of our corrections and we jammed it on the way back. I was secretly hoping Jorgie would flip us, but she is far too responsible. And now we know why I’m not allowed to drive.

We then made our way to the desert camp for the cookie-cutter “desert BBQ” portion of the evening with all the other tourist basics. There were various activities on offer, like camel riding, sand boarding, and wearing traditional Arabic outfits. I wanted to play dress up, but I think the employees couldn’t handle the innate racism of the DIY burka booth because no one was ever working it. Fair. Everyone sat on rugs and pillows around a stage and feasted on a big buffet while we watched a very bizarre display of traditional Arabic dance. I’m gonna have to take their word for it on this one. The first dancer came out in a colorful multi-layered outfit with a giant skirt and danced around with a bunch of hats. But things really spiced up when they turned out the camp lights and revealed his entire outfit was covered in rave lights. Is there an Arabic burner tent at burning man that they poached this guy from? Just wait, it gets better. He removes his skirt and, as he is twirling, wraps it into a fake baby and pretends to hold a baby while the soundtrack plays crying baby noises in the background. What. The. Actual. Fuck? The second act was a belly dancer who made way too much eye contact as she moved around the stage. She slightly redeemed herself by aggressively shimmying her tits in front the old European men for a sold three minutes as they drooled. The grand finale was when at the very end when they announced “ladies and gentlemen, it is now time for stargazing!” We lay back on our pills as they turned out all the lights in camp and we looked up to see about three stars and jumbo jet flying overhead. Magical.

We drove back through the sand dunes in our SUV to reach the highway. The dumb shit in the car in front of hike the brakes like a pussy at right at the top of a hill, causing us to slam the breaks and get stuck in the sand. Our driver, a very nice Indian man who’s name I couldn’t understand but we just called MacGyver let the air out of the tires and got us out. We then had to take a “shortcut” through the desert to get to a gas station to fill them back up, which basically meant a drive through desert back roads with about 100 other identical looking SUVs. We ended up parked outside a “Saeed Khalfan Grocery” store on some dark back road across the street from a UAE army base in the middle of the desert in the dark. Super. Needless to say Jorgie was not thrilled with my second attempt to get her kidnapped today. Luckily we were joined by about five other SUVs full of tourists who had run into the same car-in-sand issue, so I wasn’t terribly concerned. We got home around 10 pm and passed the fuck out.

The late night desert hot spot

All in all, today was a fun attempt at getting a little authenticity into our trip. But let me give you a travel tip. If you want an authentic souk and desert experience, to go Morocco – shop the Marrakech souk and sleep in a Bedouin camp in the Sahara Desert, because it totally kicks Dubai’s ass at that shit. If you want to chill at a swanky resort and shop beautiful air-conditioned malls, Dubai is the place for you. And yes, that was blatant travel bragging. You guys should really be used to it by now.

All Dubai Pool Parties are Not Created Equal

Saturday, September 16, 2017

If you’re wondering where Friday went, take it up with the travel gods. After getting some decent sleep on our 16 hour flight to Dubai, I was up bright and early at 4 am. Jorgie and I were down in the gym by 6 am, mainly because we had nothing better to do. We then headed down to breakfast bright and early where we pretty much had our run of the place. The breakfast buffet is so big that the waiter took us on a little tour when we told him it was our first morning at the hotel. As he passed by the gelato station (yes, a fucking ice cream shop in the middle of the buffet) he said “…and this is for the children”. Chocolate ice cream at breakfast should be reward for good behavior and I have yet to see any children here exhibit that. I managed to skip breakfast dessert day one, but I doubt day two will be as successful. After an aggressive amount of food before 9 am, we headed out to the private stretch of beach commanded by our resort complex, which sits right at the base of the Burj al Arab. It’s pretty fucking epic. The waters of the Persian Gulf here are as flat ass glass and feel like luke-warm bath water. We could have easily lazed the day away here, but we figure we’ll have plenty of time for that on the second leg of our journey in the Maldives. Our plan for today – party at a beach club. We would have gladly stayed put if we knew what an epic FAIL we were in for.

Let me preface this by telling you that the only way I got through the three hours spent at Zero Gravity Beach Hell…I mean Beach Club…was by reminding myself that it will make for a great blog. The things I do to entertain you ass holes. Our original plan was to go to a different beach club, but a friend of Steph’s recommended that we go to Zero Gravity instead, so despite my better judgement I switched plans. In Dubai, the weekends are Friday and Saturday, so today was basically the U.S. equivalent of a Sunday funday party, and included all you can eat and all you can drink for five hours for about fifty bucks. Sounds awesome, right? Yeah, that’s what we thought too. Remember what they say about things that sound too good to be true? We showed up shortly after noon, when the open bar started, and there was already a line of people out the door. Our first hint should have been that you can’t actually see the beach club from the entrance. Had we been able to catch a glimpse of the scene before handing over our money, we would have ran far and ran fast. The beach club itself is nice – big pool, tons of day beds (not that we had one since they cost thousands of dollars) and lots of space to chill and move around. On any other day it probably would have been perfectly adequate. The scene today looked very similar to a Vegas pool party – if the Excalibur had a pool party and you were somehow unlucky enough to be a part of it. The desperation in the air was palpable.  If you are a girl with any combination of : cheap hair extensions, double fake eyelashes, and a collection of Kylie Jenner lip kits, this is the place for you. If you are a guy with multiple tribal tattoos and a penchant for really easy girls, make yourself right at home. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not judging. I’m just trying to paint you all an accurate picture. Ten years ago, I probably would have been crowned queen of this little Dubai frat party by the sea. However, in my 30s, it took me about four seconds to realize that we were in way over our heads. Our visions of lounging by a pool sipping champagne surrounded by beautiful people quickly vanished. Those dreams were instead replaced by chugging flavored vodka sodas in a piss filled pool surrounded by millennials dry humping each other after thirty seconds of exchanging pleasantries.

I’m gonna go ahead and read your mind and just answer your questions before you ask. Why were we in the pool, you ask? Because there was no where left to sit that didn’t cost about $1000. And I’d rather slit my wrists then give this place more of my hard earned money. Why were we drinking flavored vodka, you ask? Because they only had flavored fucking vodka. Strawberry or blueberry Stoli, to be exact. Unless you are a 19 year old girl screaming “whooooo shots!” in your dorm room, there is zero reason to have flavored vodka. No exceptions. The second we walked in I knew our only hope for a marginally good time was to get drunk. Like, completely bombed. So we ordered three vodka sodas and, to our horror, wound up with strawberry vodka. On the second drink we requested unflavored vodka, at which point the bartender dropped the bomb that there was none. The only thing worse than strawberry vodka is blueberry vodka. Which we wound up with on drink #3. Trust me. Don’t do the blueberry. Ever. I felt like Veruca Salt with a drinking problem.  Eventually the bartender finally gave in and started pouring us doubles, either because he felt bad for us or because he was sick of seeing us. I’ll take it either way.

The only thing that got us through our few hours at Zero Gravity was the people watching. There was the chick with the most aggressive version of a high wasted bikini I have ever seen. It basically looked like someone had just given her a major wedgie at all times – and from both sides. The only camel toe I want to see is on my desert tour tomorrow, thank you very much. There was a girl in the pool that we just referred to as “drunk girl”. If I had to guess I would say she was mid brown-out when we first saw her latch on to a group of guys and try to make out with each one as they passed her off from one dude to the next.  I could tell she was trying to be in her twenties but her awful skin gave away the fact that she was trying to bat way below her age bracket. I can’t tell you which guy actually ended up making out with her. Not because I don’t remember, but because there was more than one. There were also the awkward old people way past their prime that had no business being at that party. No, I’m not talking about us, although I’ll admit we probably fall into that same category. There were even OLDER people. I’m talking about women so old they would need a Space Needle filled with Botox to pass for forty. The rest of the crowd consisted mostly of young and skanky Euros just trying to get drunk and laid.  I know its hard to buy alcohol in Dubai, so I’m thinking the younger crowd must just really take advantage of anything with the words “open bar”.  We spent about two and a half hours there before we decided to throw in the towel and let the kids have their fun in a judgement free environment.  We took our old asses home and almost cried with joy upon return to our fancy hotel.  This will teach me to ever forgo a Nikki Beach again.  Not all pool parties are created equal, my friends, especially in Dubai.

The hotel security guard stopped us to question if we were actually staying in the hotel.  We told him our room number and he looked up our names on his list. He demanded to speak with Mr. Rory Boston, and was completely baffled when I tried to explain that I am Mr. Rory Boston. This is way more fun in Spanish speaking countries when I can refer to myself as “Senor Boston” in a funny Mexican accent. I went to reach for my drivers license to prove my identity and gender when I realized I left my fucking license at Zero Gravity Beach Hell. I had to put it down as a deposit for a locker. I was so excited to get the hell out of there, I left without getting it back. Fuck me. So back Steph and I went in a for a quick round trip all the way back to that fresh slice of Arabian hell. I contemplated just leaving it there, but the only thing more frightening than that beach party is the California DMV.

We spent the rest of the afternoon napping in air conditioned heaven. Two and a half hours of open bar apparently makes for three sleepy old ladies. We contemplated sleeping straight through the night, but we had dinner reservations at a highly rated Indian Restaurant in a neighboring hotel. We pulled ourselves together and caught a little golf cart over to the Jumeirah Beach Hotel. They have a glass elevator that looks like something Willy Wonka would install in studio 54, so the craziest part of our night was riding it up and down. Our meal was awesome. And then we went to bed.

Tomorrow, we are kicking it old school Dubai with the souks and a desert dune buggy safari.

Party of Three in the U.A.E.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

It’s September! You all know what that means – after wedding season comes friendmoon season. That’s right folks, your favorite bougie bean-counting threesome are off on another adventure. This time we have taken the art of the friendmoon to a whole new wannabe-honeymoon level with a trip to Dubai and the Maldives. The judgement people cast over our vacation destination choices never ceases to amaze me, so let’s just get all the questioning out of the way now. I know what you’re thinking – Rory in a strict Muslim country CANNOT end well – don’t they cut out your tongue for saying the f word? Chill people. It’s 2017. The odds of me losing an appendage for being my natural, obnoxious self are pretty slim in an international metropolis such as Dubai. The city plays hosts to business and leisure travelers and expats from around the globe on an epic scale. And yes they allow people to drink. Not their own citizens, mind you, but those of us going to whatever their version of hell is can self inebriate as we please. However I will be on somewhat good behavior, because lets be honest, should something go awry there is no way Trump is negotiating with the Middle East to extradite a democratic Jew. In case you haven’t figured it out, this blog will probably be rife with political and cultural inappropriateness. You were warned.

After five nights in Dubai we’ll move on to the Maldives for the second leg of our journey. Many people have pointed out to me that the Maldives is a honeymoon destination. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m not going on a honeymoon any time in the near future. Couple that with my lack of patience for getting what I want, and here I am on a sixteen hour flight a week away from crashing the shit out of that honeymooners paradise. Besides, I’m not sure you married people really want to start dividing up the world into places you are allowed to travel and places singles are allowed to travel. You’ll be left with a lot of boring destinations while I party my international ass off. I’ll tell you the real reason that the Maldives is primarily a honeymoon destination – because it’s so damn expensive that most people can’t justify it for any other purpose. Luckily for me, I use my hard earned money however I see fit. And I see fit to use it drinking champagne for breakfast in an over-water bungalow beside my private plunge pool overlooking the Indian Ocean.

I won’t waste too much time introducing the crew for this trip. You all know Steph and Jorgie pretty well by now. This is our ninth consecutive year of international September travel. That obviously means we are really going to have to blow it out in 2018 for our tenth anniversary trip. Suggestions are welcomed. The girls are pretty excited about this vacation – mainly because it’s the bouggiest trip we have ever taken. The older we get, the more expensive our tastes become. It’s really becoming a problem. Steph is particularly excited that she gets to pack an actual rolling suitcase instead of a backpack. We even had to pack real shoes other than flip flops and runners, which is a whole new world for me. There are some bars and nightclubs in Dubai with strict dress codes that only allow women wearing heels in. Those places can go fuck themselves. I don’t even wear heels to work where I make the money to pay for this vacation. I also made the girls pack a ring that can be used on their left hand as a fake wedding ring. I read online that it can be useful to appear married in Dubai, especially in the souks, where single women garner more attention and therefore harassment. As if we single ladies don’t have it hard enough. That’s fine, I’ll wear a fake wedding ring to earn your fake respect while I cut your profit margins in half with my haggling skills. All while my fake husband is playing a round of golf in 110 degree heat.

Okay, you thought you were actually going to be reading a travel blog. Here goes it. We headed to the airport mid-afternoon to catch our dreaded 16 hour flight to Dubai. This is my longest single flight leg ever, so I’ve doubled my usual allotment of in-flight Xanax in my carry-on, just to be safe. I could probably get an actual horse to sleep comfortably in a coach seat on this flight if I needed to. Check-in and security at Tom Bradley was a breeze. The most difficult part of our pre-flight journey was finding the extra-large smart water bottles in the airport. What am I going to do with a regular sized water bottle over the course of 16 hours? I never trust a flight attendant to keep me adequately hydrated on a flight. We are flying Emirates, which I’m excited about, despite being in coach. As the boarding process started I bid adieu to Steph and Jorgie who were on the other side of the plane. We yelled “see ya tomorrow!” as we moved into our separate boarding groups. This was by far one of the most efficient aircraft boarding systems I have ever seen. You are split up into groups based on your location on the plane – the back boards first, a novel idea, I know. I’ve seen southwest flights take longer to board plane 1/5 of the size.

I almost had a heart attack when I checked-in online the day before and realized I had a window seat. Can you imagine having to ask sleeping strangers to move every time you want to pee for sixteen fucking hours? That is literally my version of hell. My bladder has even more anxiety than I do in situations like that. Luckily I was able to snag one of the last isle seats. And what a seat it was! Not only am I right next to bathrooms, so I can see when they are vacant and not bother waiting in line, there is even a drinking water dispenser right next to my row! Who needs first class when you have easy access to bathrooms and all the clean water you can drink? Let’s do this, Emirates.

I breathed a sigh of relief as my seat mates arrived. They were a young couple, spoke english, engaged in a short bit of conversation but had no interest in being my best friends. Score. One thing to note: the girl who was in the window seat didn’t pee. Not once. The entire sixteen hour flight. Is that even healthy? It got to the point where I was making eye contact with her and smiling so that she would feel comfortable asking me to move if she needed to get up and pee. She probably thought I was hitting on her. Her boyfriend probably thought he was about to join the mile high ménage a trios club. Sorry people, I have no interest in you beyond the relative comfort of your bladders on this flight. I watched a few movies and then took my little cocktail of sleeping pills. I managed to actually catch some zzzz. Granted, I didn’t exactly get my R.E.M. on since I’m basically sitting in a coffin, but it was more than I expected. Other positives to note for Emirates: excellent blankets, they don’t attempt to cryogenically freeze you during the flight, and they don’t cut you off on wine. However, there was one glaring negative that I do feel it necessary to point out. Our food options were chicken or fish. Fish. On a fucking plane. In an enclosed space from which you cannot escape the stench. As soon as they rolled out that fucking fish cart my row mates and I all started gagging in disgust. The three of us made a pact that no one in our row was allowed to get the fish. I’m not kidding you – girlfriend legit dropped the hammered and told her boyfriend and I no fish allowed. She is direct and doesn’t need to pee – she’s is basically an upgraded version of me.

You didn’t think I was going to finish a story about a sixteen hour flight without discussing the ill-behaved children, did you? There may as well have been an McDonalds play place in the middle of coach class. It was a shit show. I woke from my Xanax-induced haze several times to insane levels of screaming. I didn’t bother taking my sleeping mask off, but my spidey senses tell me these children were even running up and down the isles of the plane. Apparently drugging your children with codeine cough medicine before a flight went out of style in the early 90’s. Ah, the good old days.

Dubai airport baggage claim

We landed in Dubai and breezed through immigration, at which point we entered the baggage claim that puts all others to shame. It looked like we landed in the middle of a Vegas hotel. We grabbed our bags, hit duty free to stock up our room with the obligatory champagne-wine-vodka trio that every friendmoon needs to flourish and hopped in a cab to our hotel. We are staying at the Mina a Salam in the Jumeirah Madinat complex. The resort complex consists of four hotels all connected by waterways with cute little abra boats (think Venice canals) that shuttle you around. There are about 20 restaurants, four pools, a huge private beach and even a “souk”, which is basically just a middle eastern themed Mall. If they had “Middle East Land” at Disneyland, it would be this resort. It’s fucking heaven. Oh, and did I mention this all looks out directly onto the Burj al Arab? We even have a view from our room.  I’ll get a pic tomorrow.

We checked in and were showed to our room, where our TV welcomed us with a “Welcome Mr. Rory Boston” background banner. I can only hope the hotel was expecting Mr. Boston to be a Sheik checking in with his two wives.  I’m sure three white girls entering the lobby in lulu lemons was a big disappointment.   We had about an hour before our 10 pm dinner reservations. Naturally after a long flight we all wanted to shower. Just kidding, we made drinks instead and just put on some deodorant. We headed down to the lobby and caught a boat to Segreto, an Italian restaurant in our complex.  Our boat driver took pity on our attempt at a selfie and snapped a few pics for us.  I think it is just universally knows by captains of any size boat that they must double as photographers.  As it should be. We have half board included in our room rate, which means we get buffet breakfast and a three-course lunch or dinner each day and our choice of the many restaurants in our complex, as well as a few other Jumeirah owned hotels. I scored the half board upgrade for free on expedia, which is why I sprang for the ocean-view room. After our fancy meal and a bottle of wine, we were down for the count, so we headed back up to the room for bed. I swear, I’m going to drag the girls out to a bar with me at night at some point on this trip. But I think I’ll let them shower first.