A holiday to remember
March 23, 2005
Dubai may not seem an obvious choice for a holiday
destination but trust me, it is the best place on earth if you
want to get as close as possible to Iran. Not that I don’t
want to go, I would kill to go to Iran. Perhaps the Consulate in
London will help me...
Anyway, our holiday
in Dubai was wonderful. Flying into a cold and grey London after
two weeks was not >>> Our
So where do I begin? I’ll begin with Kourosh - my 17 month
twin boy’s - back side. He suffers from occasional constipation.
And when he suffers from constipation, my entire world feels constipated
too. I become obsessed with things I could have fed him (we have
tried everything) which might have prevented his constipation.
I become absorbed in exploring baby constipation websites. Even
phone calls to my mum which take place twice daily...
Mum: “Kourosh reed?”
Mum: “Ey khoda... hanooz nareedeh?”
So between us, my mum and I re-christened my little boy ‘Nareed’.
Against this background of severe constipation, we embarked on
our journey to the airport. Varinder, my wife, drove. I sat in
the passenger seat absent mindedly picking my nose. I could vaguely
hear V speaking to me.
“Are you listening?”
“Stop picking your nose!”
What she should have asked me was to stop picking my nose, rolling
the contents into a ball and flicking them off my thumb into her
open handbag between my legs in the foot well.
Siavash, my oldest twin boy (by 2 mins) has already discovered
the delights of nose picking. At the Royal Mirage, his Thai nanny
would keep saying to him, “take your finger out! You are
dialling the wrong number!” He would grin and insert his
finger ever deeper. I am afraid I might have taught him this awful
The flight was uneventful and drive to the Royal Mirage painless.
It was interesting to see how excited the boys were. All they seemed
to want to do in the limousine was untangle themselves from our
arms and run up and down the length of it. Once we (V and I) had
wrapped our minds around the fact that baby seats in cars were
impossible to come by we did let them run loose.
car journeys we again tried to pin them down but were forced
to give up. On one particular taxi journey I found myself sitting
with one twin on each knee in the front seat while travelling
70mph. Occasionally and much to the alarm of whoever was driving,
Siavash would decide to kick the gear stick too... I shudder
now to think about the risks I exposed my little boys to.
Our routine at the Royal Mirage meant the boys were in bed by
7pm (with a babysitter in our room) and V and I would begin our
evenings on the Shisha Terrace under the stars leaning against
sumptuous cushions on the floor. I would order my apple flavoured ‘ghalyoon’ and
take long and deep drags to make sure the fragrant mist enveloped
me as I exhaled. Varinder would whisper:
“Can you stop massaging your nuts please -- why are you
rubbing your balls?!”
The reason was I felt so relaxed and removed from my surroundings
that I had not realised I was scratching my balls softly through
Apart from my ball-scratching, the only other embarrassing occurrence
was when I decided to change Siavash’s full nappy on my sun-lounger
by the palm-tree-shaded pool. To be fair to V, she did beg me to
take him the short distance to our room and change him inside.
Instead I undid his nappy wondering what could possibly go wrong.
Within seconds I realised why I should have been indoors.
were suddenly surrounded by a swarm of ‘magass’ who collectively
tried to sit on the inside of his nappy. From where they came and
to where they disappeared remains a mystery. Perhaps the most embarrassing
thing was the astonished look of nearby sunbathers as I fanned
them away with one hand and tried to pin a screaming Siavash down
with the other.
Each morning at about 7:30 V would pick him up and place him
between us in the hope that he would nap for a further hour or
so like his brother. Instead he would crawl around the top of the
bed with his full nappy before using my head as a seat and placing
his filled to bursting nappy on my head. I was describing the experience
to a friend a few days ago.
“Forget espresso, double espresso and filter coffee.” I
explained. “Let Siavash sit on your head and see how fast
you wake up. You go from deep sleep to DEFCON 3 in about half a
second. And he never once sat on his mum’s head...”
The most exciting thing which happened to me in Dubai occurred
when the boys, V and I walked into a carpet shop a few hundred
meters from the Intercontinental hotel. The owner was busy serving
another couple. A long haired young man was sitting at the desk
on the phone and two other assistants were laying out carpets for
the couple to compare. After scanning the carpets, taking the boys
out of their buggy’s so they could run loose and leaving
V to her mobile phone call, I sat down to wait for the owner. I
couldn’t understand why the long-haired guy couldn’t
I began to wonder who he was. He looked slick. He wore a Ferrari
T-Shirt, tailored jeans and flip-flops. He wouldn’t smile
and he wouldn’t look up. Eventually he rose and left the
showroom. That’s when I noticed the excited questions from
the couple who were being served. The owner gave an answer to which
the husband doubled over, gasping with excitement. I was trying
to make sense of what was happening when I heard a name I had never
“Who?” I asked, wide-eyed.
Even the boys had momentarily stopped trying to climb a large
pile of silk rugs.
“That was Ali Karimi.” The owner, a middle aged
man called Ahmad, told me.
“Is he a singer?” I asked hopefully, trying to hide
“He is a footballer -- Asian footballer of the year.”
The other couple were beside themselves with excitement. It was
“Will he come back?” I asked hopefully.
As if by magic he walked back into the showroom. He had stepped
outside to finish his call because the twins were making so much
noise. As soon as he stepped inside we all pointedly looked away.
I even remember thinking that I would probably score more hits
than him if we Googled ourselves (he scored 49,000 to my 316).
At the time I couldn’t see what the fuss was about. Now I
It was Varinder who asked me why I hadn’t asked him to
pose for a picture with the boys. I don’t know why. He seemed
way too serious and absorbed in his own thoughts to be interrupted.
Exciting moments occurred often. There was the evening I saw
a Mercedes McLaren SLR outside the lobby. I made V walk around
it with me 3 times. She still doesn’t believe it costs £300,000.
It belonged to a sheikh who we sometimes saw in the Shisha terrace.
He was no older than me (40 yrs) and he had a falcon permanently
by his side. I am told that bird cost in excess of £20,000.
There was also the time we saw Boris Becker walk past us in one
of the restaurants in the Arabian Court. He was accompanied, I
am told, by other top seeds but I couldn’t recognise a tennis
champion if he or she danced naked in front of me with their Wimbledon
cup and a name badge.
What, in the end, made our holiday so wonderful was how child-friendly
everyone in Dubai was. Even when the twins hijacked a luggage trolley
laden with expensive-looking leather suitcases
-- it looked like it was moving by itself until I noticed the tops
of two tiny heads -- concierge picked them up and gave each one
a kiss on the cheek.
Will we return? Unlikely. We have done Dubai now. Perhaps
next year we will holiday in Oman. My dream, however, is to holiday
in Iran >>> Our