Monday, February 16, 2009
Love is in the Air (or is that just sand?)
It was a little bit of both this Valentine's Day. The weather had stirred up quite a bit of sand as we winded our way through the dessert to the Hatta Fort Hotel near the Oman border. Matt and I had decided to take a day outside of the city for Valentine's Day and we saw that this hotel, which is something of an institution in Dubai, was running a whole love-themed special. The drive is about 90 minutes from Dubai and it slowly weaves through the dessert which becomes more mountainous near Oman. By the time that you get there the whole, deserted desert resort things starts to sink in. The best way I can describe the place is like that resort in Dirty Dancing. You know the one where there are all sorts of things to do like archery, shooting, tennis, dance lessons, arts and crafts, climbing walls, you name it and they have it. Upon arrival we were given a delicious glass of Guava juice and quickly escorted to the community barbecue for lunch. We were seated next to a couple in full Western attire all the way down to their bandannas, belt buckles, boots and spurs. Had we missed the dress code memo? After our lunch we were taken to our room, which had a great view of the mountains and a very wilderness lodge type feel. After that the door bell just kept on ringing - flowers, then chocolates, then a spa package, then candles. Man, these guys were on romance overload! By the time dinner rolled around, we couldn't wait to see what the next surprise was! And dinner did not disappoint. It was as if the staff had no idea why these Westerners celebrate this crazy holiday, but they were going to do their best to make it great. The restaurant was decorated just like your 6th grade dance would have been: pink and red heart balloons everywhere, Mylar hearts on the wall, and even red water in the vases. As each successive course came, there was bound to be an edible heart on the plate somewhere, and the lounge singer continued to croon '80s love songs as we finished our meal. I’ll admit it was a little bit of a time warp, but the staff’s enthusiasm made up for any misgivings. They were all too happy to help us celebrate Valentine’s Day to its sickeningly sweet conclusion. As we headed back to our room completely overdosing on sappy romance, I headed to take a quick shower, at which point Matt handed me a towel and said “I saved this one for you so you could dry your hair”. Aww, now any lady knows that is real love.