So I was going to write this as some kind of tie in with the Nissan Patrol for a TTAC piece, but couldn’t make the dots connect. So really this is a tale of a drunken surreal experience in a city that is a monument to engineering and wretched excess.
I have been carrying the notes from the evening in my phone for over a year. The bottom line is this, we broke the rules staying out all night, and two of the guys with us are really not permitted to drink, so I changed their names to “Zaki” and “Hassan.”
We left Abu Dhabi and checked into the Millennium hotel just before 11 AM and hit the bar until we catch a cab to the Atlantis Palm. It’s the Saffron Buffett.
You have never seen a spread like this. It is NOT the Golden Corral. I am not thinking of writing this yet, I just grab some food and start drinking pink Mojitos like it’s my job. No exaggeration, I was into the teens before I left.
This is the first line I typed into my phone. After the saffron we went to a beach bar, it’s coming later. Then another bar and they won’t let me in without a collared shirt, so me and another guy have to find the Nissan Patrol with my button up shirt inside. Azeez is the Indian guy working the valet, as he walks us three stories underground, he is telling us how all of the labor is farmed out. We knew that, but didn’t know is that the whole thing is nationalized. The Indians have all the valet parking, the Pakistanis moving, the Asians all work in the malls stores etc.
Zaki has a Ford Raptor and an S Class AMG, but like everyone else here, he daily drives Nissan Patrol. They all have Nissan Patrols or Land Cruisers. The ridiculous thing is the whole inside is covered with plastic. They all do this to save the interior for when they sell them. But they never sell them. But it’s a big seven passenger beast of a truck.
Atlantis – Saffron sober buffet. 3400 total. Mojitos until stupid disco hits.
Yep. 3400 Durahms. $998. Even divided by the seven folks, its $134 per. looking over my table at the empty Mojito glasses, I think I ripped them off. The Buffet is over at 4:30 and they start playing bad disco on the pool bar, I am not drunk enough to ignore it.
Barasti on the beach-young college age Brits in bikinis. Scottish fight.
We load up in the Patrol and head to Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort. In contrast to the Atlantis, a bucket of Sol beer is like 8 bucks. As the sun sets, a DJ fires up on the beach and bikini-clad 20-something European students dance in the sand. Around 10 we head back to the truck and on the way there, three drunker Scotts stop us literally with the goal of fighting. Arabic jail? I don’t think so. We roll up our more aggressive posse member into the Patrol and head out.
Hammered stupidly so
This is where I have the brilliant idea of a TTAC story and start trying to recount the evening’s antics, and it just gets weirder from here. So the notes started at this point and I am trying to recount the more sober part of my day.
Grosvnor House Dubai Buddha bar
Think of the richest place you have been. The people who hung out there would hang out here. Holy shit! This places oozes money on a level I have never experienced. Hassan picks up the first round. I tried to save the receipt but washed it. It was $140. A Budwieser was $12, Crown on the rocks is $14, and Kernel 1 Vodka is $15. I try to remember the rest and fail;
Bud -42 dhms
Kettel 1 50
There is a two story tall Budda stature overlooking the dining area. The rear wall is all windows that opens onto an artificial bay, on a regular basis, some touristy ship covered in Christmas lights motors past the windows.
I know nothing outside of movies about Russian mobsters, but I do know Russian when I hear it. The IT crowd in UAE in European and Lebanese. So I image most of these guys are in the “import/export” business. These women may not be waling the street, but trust me, they are being paid to be there, one way or another. If you are not at work, go to the personals of section of Dubai craigslist and search “W4M” Even though prostitution is highly illegal there, they will publish their rates for “companionship.” White people get away with a lot here if you are discrete
It’s where this log actually began. You have to have a collared shirt to get in, so we head down to the third level underground and hear the story from Azeez. Zaki and I had to get collared shirts from the Patrol.
Lots of mafias, Indians as valets
The place is wall to wall, but since Hassan knows people, we walk past the waiting line to get in and straight to the bar.
The tables in the bar area are dark, heavy wood. They are tall and study. But on them is a tiny espresso-cup sized bowl of Chex mix.
Absinthe from Persians
Across the table is no kidding, movie looking Persian arms dealer looking dudes. They send over some Absinthe.
Stunning olive women, expensive suits.
Like my mortgage payment expensive.
Red bull and water 10:30
I have been drinking for 12 hours by now, I am fading fast.
20-something and her 50 year old husband. Huge ring
This girl looked like a model. That term gets thrown around a lot but she had a perfect workout body, and he was a fat old guy. The ring would choke a Rottweiler
Techno narrative- Los Angeles take off your sunglasses -irony not lost on me. It’s still only 10:30
It is a remix of a whole concept about materialism and being overly image conscious. I laugh internally. I have spent hours trying to find this song to no avail.
I try to channel Baruth. Just not that hard core. Not sure he is either.
Jack Baruth was the editor of TTAC, writes for R&T and plays guitar. Read about his 40th B-Day party here, his blog here, and a hilarious account of test driving a BRZ here.
“Oh, come on,” I moaned. “My Accord would bend this thing over the sink and take what it wanted without pity, accompanied by the roar of two i-VTEC cams coming onto full song.”
I still love that line. A year later, he played guitar at my retirement.
Amy Winehouse look a like at the bar.
Minus the all tats, but otherwise, exactly like her. Beehive hairdo and all. I never liked Amy Winehouse, I was more of a Duffy fan, but she is strangely attractive.
11:00, hot cars rolling in. 458 Italias. Porn quality blondes on the arms of 40 something balding men
We are headed to another bar and Azeez is bringing the Patrol. It is an Army of these amazing but plastic looking girls and fat old dudes. I am doing it wrong. It’s not that I want to buy some over-surgeried woman who makes it her job to look like an internet fantasy, it’s just I just want the kind of money that it takes to buy these kinds of women.
I also see a 74 Ferrari Daytona Spyder
Back in the patrol, Fight with Saudis.
We are leaving the club when two Saudi’s in a Bentley cut in front of us and flip us off. “Zaki” is big dude and an F-16 pilot. We empty the Patrol and the windows go up on the Bentley. Zaki is going to beat the hell out of them; we have to force him back in the truck. The Saudi’s may have pissed themselves. It is a falsehood that all Arabs stick together. They are very elitist. In that elitism; Saudi’s don’t like Emirati’s and vice versa, despite the fact they are almost all cousins. But the reality is no one goes to Saudi on vacation, and those dudes come to Dubai all the time.
Girls in another 458
Two of them. Stunning, rolling in a 458 Italia. Just hot chicks in a Ferrari. No biggie.
Multiple attempts to slap delivery bikers. Failure. A door gets one to stop.
I am a bit ashamed about this, because I am a rider. But everywhere in the cities are guys on 75-125 CC motorcycles with lockboxes on the bike delivering food. We are trying to tag these guys as they lane split, no luck. They are skilled and we are drunk. But when we open the door they simply avoid us. I did actually cry foul on that one and got them to shut the door.
Next club- Temptations Indian Club & Restaurant nope
I thought that’s where we were going; it is one side of a nice hotel’s ground floor. I can hear the place is hopping and my well documented Latin-fever is easily transferred to Indian ladies. I mean seriously, they wear tight pants, have hourglass shapes and dance by moving their hips. Shakira has nothing on a Bollywood pop star. But no, instead we go to;
Club Silk. Empty, us and staff. Bollywood techno. Zaki promises a crowd. My mind wanders to 2004 and Africa and UN with Indian Battalion and music video players .
We approach an entrance at the other end of the lobby, two huge oak doors are closed and the biggest pair of African dude I have ever seen stand in black T shirts and blazers. They motion for the hostess, who I start calling the Ice Queen. Fair skin, impossible blonde hair and pale blue eyes silently steps over and motions us through the door and walks us to our table…
When I was in Africa in 2004 with the UN, we had a Kenyans as armed forces. About a month before I left, the initial team of their replacements, Indians arrived. They all carried personal video players with all these pop videos and Bollywood musicals. I am telling you, youtube this stuff, turn off the sounds and watch.
Alarmingly cute waitress mixes vodka cocktails at our table. I have olives and another beer
A tiny little South American girl, very polite. You don’t get Vodka and cranberry or Redbull. You get a bottle of Vodka brought to the table, and when you want, she mixes it at the table for you.
At midnight, Pitbull is in the mix
The dance floor is starting to fill. Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” had just made the scene over here as well
12:20-Zaki didn’t lie. Amy Winehouse II and a bevy of others enter. The Music is at 14/10. All are escorted by snow queen from lion with and wardrobe .
Wall to wall, good mix of locals and Anglos. Each one is escorted to their seating area by aforementioned ice queen.
Stoic DJ. Like opposite of DJ Skribble. Moron in the corner actually tries a phone conversation
This dude does not move, like at all. He’s good though, knows how to keep the dance floor full and the transitions are seamless. We are screaming into each other’s ear to be heard and the guy in the corner, under a speaker is actually trying to talk.
Hassan turns my watch around at 1
I keep checking it for the timing on these notes; he spins it around to get me to focus on the moment.
Waiting for unintentional laser eye surgery
They have a full laser show, but its at eye level…
1:15 back to Bollywood mix, dance floor is full. Trust me, this is a good thing.
Drago ignores the Russian hooker. Drives her apeshit, also a good thing.
We call him Drago because he looks like Dolph Lungdren from Rocky. He had earlier engaged the Russian girl next to her and yeah, without saying it, she’s a hooker. She keep trying to get his attention and he is ignoring her. Its very funny.
Waitress jeeps mixing absolute and cranberry at out table
That’s how I spelled it, I am surprised I could make a coherent text at the point.
1:30 Arab electric slide
Oh yeah, Arabs line dancing…
Hold phone for Russian hooker. flirt recipient texts 3 time while Intake picture
She ask me to take her pic and while I wait for her and her girls to “pose (“Lemme take a selfie!”) Three friggin texts…
1:50 Arab electric slide again. No shit
2 am. Sparklers attached to 5 bottles of champagne arrive.
Zaki has ordered this to surprise us. Champagne with sparklers and they light it off. Pretty impressive.
Deep in The heart of flyover country, Jack Baruth levitates over the volcano of his home. He rejects my psychic attempt to channel his party spirit. I fail.
“It is 2 AM. I am rocking to Arabic music like you read about. You have no idea what I am experiencing. -Love Mental”
My phone got hijacked, and this was typed in. But it was true.
3am – club closed. Goddam can ride home