Friday, November 14, 2008

We are family. I got all my sisters (well, one of them) and me.

Rachel's sister, Katy, and her husband, Rick, like exotic holidays. Rachel's sister, Katy, and her husband, Rick, are blessed with an abnormally well behaved child, so they are still able to have exotic holidays.

One of the great things about Dubai is its location half-way-there to lots of exotic places. So Katy, Rick and Harriet got off their Maldives-bound plane at our stop, to spend a week chez Hamilton.

On the way to pick them up from the airport, Mark and Rachel's conversation went something like this:

Mark: "Look, the cars are moving much faster on the other side of the traffic island."
Rachel: "Mmm."
Mark: "Shall I just drive over the traffic island?"
Rachel: "Wouldn't bother. It's illegal."
Mark: "Yeah, but shall I just drive over the traffic island? It'd save loads of time."
Rachel: "We're actually early."
Mark: "Yeah, but shall I just drive over the traffic island?"
Rachel: "The roads join in a couple of minutes anyway."
Mark: "Yeah, but shall I just drive over the traffic island?"
Rachel: "No."
Mark: "I think I'm going to drive over the traffic island."
Rachel: "I wouldn't."
Mark: "Don't be boring..."
Tyres: "Squeeeeeeeal"
Police car: "Nee nah nee nah"

Half an hour later we were not early any more, the tyres were not squealing any more, and Mark was not calling Rachel boring any more. He was too busy staring miserably at his charge sheet -written in Arabic to stop him understanding how big the fine was for each of his many offences: illegal overtaking; driving on prohibited land; travelling without identification; failing to transfer his UK licence to a UAE licence; and ignoring his infinitely more intelligent wife. Disappointingly, it later transpired that there was no punishment for the last one (but six points on his nice new licence and a pretty hefty fine for the rest of them).

Anyway, after a slight detour round the wrong Terminal - because we weren't late enough already - we found Katy, Rick and Harriet.

In preparation for their luxurious stay in the Maldives, we had decided that Katy and Rick should sleep in our maid's room and Harriet could sleep in the toilet. Well, beside it. Most Dubai villas have a maid's room next to, or as part of, the utility room. We're lucky with the size of ours - if you don't want to open the door you can fit a small double bed in it. The special bonus is the en-suite, which is easily transformed into a small child's bedroom by sticking the travel cot in the shower cubicle and adding an Upsy-daisy doll. We thoughtfully put the shower head on the floor to stop it dripping on Harriet during the night.

For a one-year-old, Harriet adapted quickly to the gruelling daily grind of life with the Hamiltons. She was soon swimming...


and playing wii with the best of them.

Of course, all visitors to Dubai must be taken to the iconic Burj Al Arab hotel. The Burj is known as the world's only 7 star hotel. Possibly because it invented its own classification.

To commemorate Katy and Rick's stay, Rachel demonstrated her photographic talents by taking a picture of Katy and Rick standing in front of the Burj. At night.

Come on, it's the curvy shadow next to Rick's right ear.

Well, let it never be said that we don't know how to show our visitors a good time. We got a babysitter and whisked them out on the town. Unfortunately Mark thought Rachel was booking somewhere and Rachel thought Mark was booking somewhere. Still, we only had to wait an hour for a table, and we got a fantastic spot between the gents and ladies toilets.

And the boys got to finish the evening off with their hookahs. (Alas, not so funny written down)...

All in all, I think that Katy, Rick and Harriet had a jolly old time in the world's only self-designated 7 star villa.

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