Every business trip you go on, while full of industry chatter and rumours, always has some lighter moments also. Our time in Dubai, as well as being very rewarding from a work perspective, certainly had one or two of these moments also. So I thought I would share some of these with you as well as a story from my own personal archive of funny anecdotes while away on business.
The Taxi Ride
Getting a taxi back from the Convention Center proved slightly harrowing on occasions. On the Wednesday, we had to share a taxi with a gentleman who was head housekeeper at one of Dubai’s leading beach hotels. Anyway, the driver did not seem overly keen on this situation (two fares at once) and proceeded to ask this gentleman to get out of the taxi in the middle of main highway. I kid you not. Understandably, this gentleman was not too keen and a heated conversation ensued. Eventually, in a kind act, this gentleman was allowed to stay in the car, and the journey continued. Not nice, trying to force someone out on Dubai’s busiest highway.
Then, our new housekeeper buddy proceeds to give us a sales pitch about the hotel, and the 8 million restaurants that it seems to have.
I have to say that I am very fussy eater, and despite improvements over the last few years (thanks to a very patient wife), I don’t do spicy food very well. So when we went to eat at a Thai restaurant one evening, I thought I need to order something real conservative, and steamed fish seemed to fit the bill, or so I thought. Alas, I was about to become horribly unstuck. This thing was just about the hottest thing I had ever eaten. I am surprised my head did not light up. Nothing worse than trying to look all dignified on the outside to your colleagues when your head is ready to go luminous. Needless to say, if I ever go to a Thai restaurant again, I am keeping away from snapper. I have been scarred for life!
The Taxi Ride 2
After a very pleasant dinner at a beach front hotel on our last night (yes, the same one of the infamous housekeeper), the three intrepid Access Intelligence people make their way back to their hotel with their Dubai mission almost complete. But yet again, the taxi ride would be nothing if not dull. The taxi driver had no clue where our hotel was and seemed to spend half the time on the phone trying to figure out where the hotel was. We end up being driven all round Dubai, where thankfully, my colleague, who has an infinitely better sense of direction than me (Mind you, it is impossible to have a worst sense of direction than me) led the taxi driver back to our hotel. How farcical is that? Not only did the scoundrel charge us more for the journey by not taking into account the late night tour, but he only wanted a tip as well. And I thought I was cheeky!
Forget Slumdog Millionaire, Satellitetoday.tv is Where it is at
As you may well have seen, CABSAT marked our first foray into video, which was also not without its humorous moments. Certainly, when I got to Dubai after a 7-plus hour flight, I could not have imagined that I would have a Flip camcorder thrust in my face at close to 1 am in giving a preview about CABSAT. The things we do to bring cutting-edge video to our audience! I have to say it was much harder than it looked. I have to say, it did feel a tad surreal.
Isn’t technology great? These Flip camcorders are so small yet you get great video. One of the funniest comments was just before one of the videos we shot, someone asked me where my production crew was. We all chuckled at that. That was the point where I knew I had made it in the video world. Since returning from Dubai, I have had a slew of agents on the phone. And there was me thinking I had a face for radio! We had a lot of fun with doing the videos, and although I still cringe when looking at myself on video, secretly, I quite enjoyed it. It seemed to bring out the Hollywood Diva in me. Quite scary, really. I will need my hairstyling team (admittedly, I don’t many for this now) and others for the next show we cover.