Thursday, January 11
19b Street, Dubai, 9:32
At 4:30 I received a phone call from reception. The airport has delivered our missing luggage and I need to come down and collect it. I protested that I had no missing luggage but they insisted. I sensed that refusal would mean further phone calls at five minute intervals until I acquiesed.
I dressed and went down. I found a young man from a delivery company, the hotel desk clerk, and a dark grey suitcase I had never seen before. The delivery man insisted that I take the case and sign for it. I refused. He tried to hand me the paper, and I began to suspect a trap.
Touch the case and get thrown to the ground by armed police who have all witnessed me admit that the suitcase full of [insert something suitably illegal here] belongs to me. Hello prison.
The hotel clerk kept looking at me helplessly and shrugging. Where does it say it belongs to me, I asked. They began pawing at it and found a name on the Emirates luggage tag. They carefully compared it to my name and spotted the difference. I will go back to bed. Don’t wake me again, I said, and left.
It took both Irma and I some time to get back to sleep. I kept waking up in the middle of dreams about spies and daring escapes.
We had set an alarm so we all woke up for breakfast. We get downstairs about 9:00 and eat a lot: omlettes, baked beans, hash browns, toast, cheese, and so on. I look out of the window and see this opposite. Whatever the benefits of the choco cubes, the Hello Kitty style character with the thing on its head wins my creepiest soft drink mascot ever award.
Irma will check in and notice the amount of luggage we can bring. She will shoot off with Naa on a buying spree while I shower and read. Hours will pass. Morning will turn into afternoon.
Eventually they will return, laden with bags, just as I conveniently finish the fourth chapter of Staying Okay. We will all agree to return to Reef Mall immediately for a pair of shoes for Naa. I will photograph the smallest McDonalds I have seen while the others seek out shoes.
We will find Splash, a department store with an eccentric product range that seems to offer two-for-the-price-of-one on almost everything. We end up buying iPad charging cables for 1 euro each; clip-on lenses for phone and iPad photography, for 2 euros each; and spaceman usb lights for about the same.
At Daiso, a Japanese store whose product range defies description we will buy the best iPad stands I have ever seen for less than 4 euros, and a whole slew of other things including a 4 euro wooden banana stand.
We will eat at Soy & Pepper, where they will have a buffet with enough things to keep us happy. I will like the fish head soup.
We will finish the evening at Answar, just over the road, where Irma will buy a tiny transistor radio.