The Dubai Palace

***Hi everyone! Sorry I haven’t been so present lately, it has been a hectic vacation! I’m settled in one place currently so most likely there might be more posts soon! Hope everyone is well! See you soon, Soul, xo!***

The next couple of days were tangled in mostly shopping duties. We revisited the Outlet Mall and I got a clutch by Kate Spade, one of my absolute favourite designers. Then, I decided to surprise Daniel by buying a night out on a cruise ship with dinner. I hadn’t completely read the fine print until later and realised that it was a buffet. I couldn’t think of a good experience that ever involved a buffet; but, I figured to go ahead with it either way. It would be an experience. It was so expensive though, at least by Dubai’s and my standards, so I’m hoping it’s worth it.

The rep told me to wait for the pick-up between 7:00PM to 7:30PM. Daniel was surprised and told me that I didn’t need to do this; then I reminded him of this trip being all about us, not just about me, and that got to him.

Because neither of us wanted to be late, we began waiting in the lobby at seven on the dot. The running water cascading off a section of a wall was the prominent sound that filled the entire reception. It wasn’t much, the décor even wasn’t much, but it was still relaxing. So relaxing that it began to tick close to 8PM and the driver to pick us up still hadn’t come.

Daniel, who just moments ago was smiling at me for being in a half-sleep hypnotic daze by the artificial waterfall, was growing noticeably disappointed. His nostrils flared as his eyes bounced between the front entrance and the ladies at reception.

“They’re late,” Daniel said.

I sighed. “Yup.”

As much as I hated people waiting on me; I equally hated people telling me to arrive at a place at a certain time, only to find them absent. We were clocking in on five minutes past eight of our almost 300D cruise when Daniel asked for the manager.

A man, who looked nothing like the manger in his pink faded collared shirt, jeans and sandals revealing his dirty toenails, approached us.

“What seems to be the problem?” he asked politely.

Daniel was using all his might in keeping from blowing a fuse at the girls at reception, that I could tell he just wanted to let loose on the manager, James. I’ll never know how he still managed to keep his cool.

After Daniel explained what happened, James went to the reception, dialled a few numbers and then started loudly berating the person on the other line. Now, I’m not much of a linguist, but I could tell it wasn’t such a pleasant conversation.

“My apologies,” James said after he made the mandatory ‘shame on you’ call. “Please bring the receipt you collected from the rep and we’ll refund everything to you tomorrow morning. In the meantime, please allow me to extend my personal driver to you both. He will take you to one of my favourite restaurants and shopping districts near Burj Al Arab.”

Daniel shook James’ hand. “Thank you very much.”

On the way to THE PALACE restaurant, we encountered a vast array of cars. The expanse and value seemed to exponentially rise from the average Toyota and Ford, to the blood stained Ferrari’s and banana-yellow Lamborghini’s.

The driver dropped us off at richville right in front of THE PALACE. The night was warm and muggy, and Daniel and I were starving. I hadn’t eaten much all day, and the driver swerved so much that I was feeling just a tad sick, but I tried sticking to it anyway. Even water would help right now.

“Are you feeling better?” Daniel asked concerned, placing a hand over my wrist.

“Yeah,” I sighed, “I just need some sustenance.”

“It’s a good thing we’re outside.”

I looked around, taking in the atmosphere all around. THE PALACE actually looked like a palace. Inside was small, with few dining tables. The best seats in the house were definitely outside of the house. Sturdy beige bamboo-like chairs and tables surrounded the area; while the grass had orange beanbags situated. All facing the streets of Dubai; the pavement wide and smooth, grey; tall thick poles had white lighting fixtures intertwined around them, as if it was Christmas. People were from all over the world, wearing all kinds of things, smoking all kinds of flavoured shishas. It was a sight to behold.

I ordered the camel burger, I figured I may as well try something new and interesting while I was in a new and interesting place. Daniel ordered the seafood platter, an extravagant staple he enjoyed at rare times.

“I’m surprised you picked the camel burger,” Daniel said when the waitress left.

I shrugged. “You know, just in case someone asks one day, ‘have you had camel?’ I can say, ‘yes I have’.”

Daniel laughed. “That’s good to know. We can tell our—”

I furrowed my brows. What was with the sudden short stop? “Our…?”

“…our friends and family when we get back,” Daniel quickly recovered.

I narrowed my eyes. “Were you going to say something else?”

Daniel shook his head and smiled casually. “Just that you look beautiful.”

I chuckled. Nice save but I wasn’t convinced. I still replied in gratitude. “And you look rather handsome yourself.”

“Here’s your drinks,” a man with dark skin and an energetic step to him said. “How are you this fine evening?” he had a thick African accent.

“Good,” Daniel and I replied in unison. “And you?” I asked.

“Oh, surviving,” he grinned. Daniel and I laughed, unsuspecting to such an awesome answer.

“Where are you from?” Daniel asked.

“Oh I’m from Nigeria; been here only two weeks.”

We both lifted our brows. “Two weeks. How are you liking Dubai so far?” Daniel asked.

“Dubai is amazing. So many people from so many different places. It’s hard work but I love it. I have to get back, enjoy your drinks!”

“Thank you!” Daniel and I both said. Then Daniel turned to me. “That guy has got some spirit. I was never that happy two weeks in in a waiting gig.”

“Don’t you need to give a two weeks’ notice before you quit?” I asked, lifting a speculative eyebrow.

Daniel nodded. “That’s true, in most cases at least. But I was getting cash under the table and the place wasn’t exactly legal. I just walked out.”

“Wasn’t exactly legal?” I prodded.

Daniel smiled. “No Magic Mike stripping involved or drug mule orders happening, don’t worry.”

When our food came, I tore through everything as un-womanly as possible. Not by choice though. Everything was just so delicious. The night was beautiful; Daniel and I were having a blast, and I just wanted nothing more to do but sit here and continue to simmer in the midnight heat of Dubai.

We ended the night with a stroll. We were boiling hot by the time we got back to the hotel, that I wanted nothing more than to take a second shower in twenty-four hours. This time, ice cold.

Daniel surprised me while I was in the shower. I was just in the middle of washing the sweat off when he knocked on the door and then opened the shower curtain, completely naked.

“Don’t make a sound,” Daniel said, invoking temptation by stepping in and smiling. “First person to make a sound loses.”

I lasted about fifteen seconds, tops!

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