“So, how is Dubai?”
I get that question all the time. With eyebrows squished together, usually a glass of tea in hand and head slightly tilted to the side. And for what ever reason, the answer usually makes me pause. How do I explain this city? I feel that when people pose that question they are looking for so much more. Especially coming from me and that American perspective.
I mean, it is a place for tourism, living your best life, daily experiences and adventures. And at the same time, it is my home so i deal with home things, parking drama, fines, work, light bills. So at times it depends on my mood or what conversation I just finished dealing with in order to know how to answer that question appropriately. But there is always a bias.
Until recently. A simple trip to KFC helped me understand completely, how I feel about Dubai.
In general, KFC is loved. With their 11 herbs and spices…the old colonel is a staple in the chicken community. As a child, I remember the local KFC buffet in Guthrie, Oklahoma. It was a classic Sunday before payday option. Not only was the chicken worthy of that one Denzel Glory Tear….the biscuits were too. I can see the image in my mind of a perfectly rounded white, full 1 inch biscuit with the line imprint that screams “open me here and insert honey”. KFC biscuits are classic…with a time frame tho…because I know I threw one that was 2 hours old at my brother once and I think he had a mild concussion.
To see KFC out here was a joy….in the states many other chicken places have now come into the market field and you sometimes see a KFC and when you do the quality is like, “eh”. But out here, folks is dancing the cupid shuffle waiting in line for some KFC. And for one moment on one day…I found myself in the drive through line waiting to order.
Do to some lifestyle needs and changes, I am going to have to drastically change my eating habits and one is eliminate meats except for fish and shrimp. So I order the shrimp basket from KFC. 10 shrimp and in my mind…they will be the bare basics of what shrimp is qualified to be. Because who goes to a chicken place to order shrimp? That is not the best move. Its like playing Hungry Hippo in the world of Chess.
I pull up and order my shrimp box and the lady at the window asks me, “Would you like a mojito with that?” Would I? Hell yeah I would. Where else in the world can you drive thru and order a drank with your combo meal???? But, hence….I must remember that is is the UAE and alcohol is forbidden. It is the land of you can buy bar drinks without the bar. Everywhere. Hence, one of the, “what is Dubai like” moments….you can get the spirited drinks without the spirit.
However, let me get to the moral of the story….out comes my combo shrimp meal and I bit into the shrimp. LO AND BEHOLD….it is real shrimp! Like for real for real. Big, massive pieces of jumbo sized shrimp….seasoned with a hit of spice and perfection. Shrimp taste like they took a dive into in the frying batter as a personal sacrifice to dance their holy ghost dance on my taste buds. And 10 of them!! I marveled in the beauty! The joy….the moments. Thank you to the food gods for real food here in the drive through in Dubai. Shouts out to my spirit and my fast food angels for singing Hallejuah….I know that this shrimp was a cast in a Bollywood film and there was an entire musically dance sequence to just the dusting of the spices of this world.
Yet, in the same box was the biscuit that KFC is so known for. The lady even asked me, did I want a biscuit. And I received this.
A hamburger bun. My whole soul is perplexed. A regular, out the package hamburger bun. First, is there no tutorial sessions on the difference between a bun and a biscuit? Does this mean there is no honey? Its a whole bread…both slices. Is it not even fresh baked? How am I supposed to handle this? And how was this supposed to make sense? Was I supposed to sprinkle the shrimp on the bread? But ain’t no condiments. I am back to perplexity. I am so lost on this move. This is like playing spades against first timers…. “what are you trying to do boo? Nooooo…..put that back it, don’t cut your partner. My stress levels.”
This shrimp box sums up Dubai for me. You get a combo meal and you can choose to focus on the scrumptious, immaculate shrimp. Or you can focus on the perplexing, ain’t got no reason or sense hamburger bun. That is really it. Dubai is what you choose to focus on.
There are amazing sites, great tax brackets, wonderful people, great brunches, awesome shopping, a variety of events. There is also horrible driving, expensive options, paid parking everywhere, materialistic nature, crazy ideas and moments that leave your brain folding on top of itself in confusion.
It is what is it is. And people who hate Dubai focus on the hamburger bun, or what is should or could be. Those who love Dubai are spending time chomping on the shrimp and enjoying the moments that are staring them in the face. As an American….that is what I can say.
Its a simple formula for a complex equation. Which means more to you….the shrimp or the biscuit?
The answer is simple….your sanity is at stake. For me, well I’m enjoying the hell outta the shrimp.