Tim Key: Let me tell you all about Dubai. The airport has a lovely Bar and Grill for starters...

 

Share

For whatever reason, I am in Dubai. I'm in its airport, in fact, and – after having had a thorough snoop around – I've retired to a waterhole called Jack's Bar and Grill, where I am drinking a cooooool pint of Bud at 7am and organising my thoughts about Dubai into the column I have just remembered I have to file by midday UK time.

Dubai, then. I'm not really sure what to make of it all, is the honest truth. I needed more time here, is probably the thing. It's difficult to get under the skin of somewhere like Dubai when you only have 50 minutes and you're not allowed to go outside. But that's the situation. I'll have a stab at it. Get it right and The Independent might give me the golden ticket and transfer me from the magazine bit into the travel section. That'd be something! Flouncing about in swish hotels and commenting on the food and climate. "Gosh, the beach I'm on in Indonesia is nice!" That sort of thing. "I've just eaten a clam!" But with this assignment, my hands are tied, in that I'm having to knock this out just while my airplane refuels. Jack's is nice though, I'll say that. It's got a pool table and sells ribs.

If I was forced to sum up Dubai in a word I would maybe go for 'shopping'. Plodding round just now, I noticed there was a lot of that going on. Dubains love their shopping, it seems – I think that's their 'thing'. Then again, maybe that's just true of all airports. For example, I remember buying a keyring with the Guinness symbol on it from Dublin airport once. Things are tax-free in Dubai, so there seems to be a lot of prancing about and filling trolleys with things made of leather or champagne. There was one shop that appeared to sell diamonds and a particularly moustachioed Dubain was egging his wife on to pick herself a big one. I caught the bug and bought Jennifer Saunders' autobiography from their equivalent of WHSmith.

A young English couple have just waddled into Jack's with some bags full of booze, fags, perfume and cuddly camels. He's clearly treated her because she's kissing him loads and letting him play pool. I expect they, too, are victims of refuelling. Soaking up as much of Dubai as possible in the scant time they've been allotted. I think I've been to Dubai about three times now, but never for long. If you tot it up, I've probably spent about seven hours here. I'm beginning to wish I'd stored it all up and used all that time in one go. Seven hours would probably be enough to get me in and out of town, maybe inspect a temple or a zoo, depending on what there is in Dubai these days. Maybe there's a nice square in the middle with Arabs sitting outside cafés and other Arabs playing accordions or dancing. I literally do not know.

I'll miss Jack's Bar and Grill. They are showing the baseball and the façade is windowless so you can get a sense of the bustling atmosphere of the main body of the airport beyond. Also – handily for me – they have free Wi-Fi, so I can copy this from my Notes bit of my iPhone and paste it into the main body of an email, which I can then send back to The Independent on Saturday magazine.

It is time to go. I know that because a friend of the young English couple has just burst in, shouted the phrase "Are you guys taking the actual fucking piss?! The gate closes in seven minutes and you're playing fucking pool??!!!".

The irate blonde has a point. I check up at the display next to the baseball and sure enough it confirms that the gate is closing. I chug back my Bud and read through what I have written. I do, on reflection, feel like there must be more to Dubai than this. It's probably like a lot of countries where you can experience only so much within the confines of the airport. Singapore's a bit like that, too, I hear.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Panel & Cabinet Wireman

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...

Recruitment Genius: Electronics Test Engineer

£25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Assistant

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you have previous experience...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Shia LaBeouf is one of Brad Pitt's favourite actors in the world ever, apparently  

Shia LaBeouf to Luis Suárez: Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Ellen E Jones
Gwyneth Paltrow and Coldplay's Chris Martin “consciously uncoupled” in March  

My best and worst stories of 2014

Simmy Richman
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015