Wednesday, February 28, 2007


I have just got back to Qatar after a long and trying journey from Bangkok. Admittedly, the earlier part of my tribulations were not due to Dubai, but to Thai Airways' wish to make a quick buck. The return part of my flight stopped in Chennai in India for an hour and a half, also adding to route time in the process. However, my problems were multiplied in Dubai. My bag, I was assured in Bangkok, was fine and would be sent right through to Doha--but I'd need to pick up my boarding pass in Dubai. What a shambles! I arrived at the transit service counter to find two overwhelmed assistants assailed by about 30 irate Pakistanis (why do Pakistanis always seem to travel in large groups?) and 5 or 6 angry rugby players who for one reason or another were being told that they couldn't go to the final destination they wished. I asked one bored looking gentleman in the background where I could get my pass and he politely thumbed in the direction of the 30 irate Pakistanis. I immediately decided to join the line with the 5 or 6 angry rugby players who, understandably enough, wanted their decision overturned. As if in refutation of all possibility of this happening, the woman took hold of my ticket and began to look as if she was going to issue a boarding card. At that very moment, a smug looking type appeared and informed the lady that it was OK, and she could issue the boarding cards. Armed with this new information, my ticket was unceremoniously tossed back in my face without a word and work commenced on the rugby players' boarding cards. After waiting a further twenty minutes or so and managing to stay ahead of an invading horde of African women behind me who insisted they'd been waiting in a different line for the last hour before the beleagured assistant there had decided to take an extended break, I was finally rewarded with the lady's attention--if you could call it that. She asked me where I was coming from (wasn't Bangkok clearly written on the ticket?) and if Doha was merely another in transit stop for me. Finally, she insisted on seeing the baggage tag to ensure that my solitary bag would be safely sent through (though as far as I could see, the only thing she needed to worry about was giving me my boarding pass). Finally, she gave me a big smile and wished me a happy flight.

In the light of such amazing incompetence it came as no surprise when I discovered in Doha that there'd been a mix up in Dubai and my bag wouldn't be coming through until the next day. Even now, as I write, the bag is still in some limbo and there is no actual assurance that I'll ever see it again.

At this juncture, I arrive at the real point of this post. For me, the pre-eminence of Dubai as a holiday and business centre in the Middle East is vastly over hyped. Everything there is too expensive and there is little you can do that can't be done equally well or better at other Gulf locations such as Doha, Bahrain and Jeddah. The overall feel in Dubai is of those over hyped and over expensive hotels one finds everwhere in the world, where one is made to feel unworthy on entering as a means of justifying huge price tags ("of course, you're really not up to staying at a place like this!") and bad service.

Give me the simplicity and fairness of Jeddah! Give me the Formula 1 and shopping of Bahrain! Give me the cosmopolitan nature and water sports of Qatar! Give me the friendlieness of Oman! In fact, give me anything but the over-hyped superciliousness and bad service of Dubai!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So true!

11:49 PM  
Anonymous abba forever said...

funny to read though not funny to be in; or maybe funny to be in with who can make it funny to read; anyway, always better with abba than without...

5:49 AM  
Blogger pluto85 said...

This is described very well: a trying event made humorous

6:04 AM  
Blogger Jon Aristides said...

Finally got the bag back...but it was all a pretty pathetic story.

3:02 AM  
Anonymous MrInteresting said...

Very interesting.

9:02 AM  

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