Monday, January 23, 2012

Dubai: Eating a Camel and Sleeping on a Table

Exterior view of my flat building, Dubai, 21 Sikka Road

I'd booked my airbnb flat for just three nights, so had to move on. Via, I found the Al Uruba, a hotel hidden within the Gold Souk. Rate was 160 dirham per night (plus taxes), which came to ~ $43 USD. Breakfast included.

Yura, the flat manager, called the hotel to get walking directions. The hotel doesn't open up onto a street, so one must walk through the Souk to get there in an off-alley.

A gregarious Somali man is the manager. He is the guy who calls women "my sister" and men "my brother" and assures you that everything will be perfect for you. He will eat his meal, talk on the phone, and check in customers and talk to friends all at once. Well, try. We chatted briefly about Harar (which is close to Somalia) and how maybe they're a little crazy there (in the best possible sense). His wife and child live in Boston. I had a look at the first room he offered me, and when I sat on the bed, I laughed out loud. This is because I almost hurt myself, it was so hard. I mean, Jesus, it was hard! But the room was, in the main, just fine. .. until I fired up the laptop to check out the internet connection. (Free wifi was one of the hotel amenities.)  Not good, so I went back downstairs and he gave me a different room. Beds (now two twins) just as hard as in the first room. A mini fridge in the room, a desk, the beds, a coat rack, and a small carpet for praying.

Al Uruba Hotel room
Al Uruba bathroom

View from my room at Al Uruba hotel

View from my Al Uruba hotel room

View from my Al Uruba hotel room

I walked up to the sixth-floor restaurant for lunch, where I learned there is a room for men to eat and a room for women to eat. I had the women's room to myself.

I also learned there were no menus, but the restaurant manager (I presume) recited the specials of the day for me and when he said, "camel," the deal was done. Camel! I was supposed to have camel in Harar, but I got sick and couldn't make that appointment.

The waiter brought out broth and salad as first courses. Then came camel and a plate of pasta and a delicious, dark, piquant sauce.

Camel for lunch

With a side of pasta and sauce

and tea afterward

The camel tasted good. Less chewy than most goat I've eaten. But I didn't get any sense of its "camelness," if you know what I mean. Lunch cost 16 dirham (~ $4.36 USD).

No comments: