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Day 3: Wary Gatekeepers

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The system here appears to operate with very little bureacracy. The hotel has not even demanded a deposit from me. On the other hand they are happy to hold on to my passport anyway; I guess you can't be too careful with tourists.They promised to give it back to me after checkout and I suppose after all my bills are paid up. This arrangement would make sense especially for a newly arrived person with no local currency- because in this country nobody seems to accept any currency other than the local currency. If you need to do business , you must go to the money exchange shop.
The manager is a serious-faced guy. I get the impression that he is secretely checking me out , and he doesn't look like he's been able to work me out yet. It looks to him like I am in the wrong hotel. This one is normally full of traders, and I certainly didn't look like one.The short surly concierge who perpetually hangs out at the reception doesnt appear to trust me a lot either,regardless of the fact that my baggage shows I had flown Business Class. I think they've seen a lot between them to trust nobody.
This morning I went to the money changing shop, and came back to pay the manager a week deposit upfront. The manager semed doubly discomfited ; the concierge I think looked at me with a little more respect.I booked the Desert Safari and also the Dhow Cruise Dinner for tomorrow and next day. Found out later that the fees I had negotiated are considerably more than charged by some other operators. I am the dumb tourist right? should have shopped round first. Nevertheless I went to catch an afternoon lunch at a place called the Royal Paris Star. Ordered a Biryani which was a lot less than I was getting used to with the Afghans. Took a long walk to discover the Deira district and especially the Al Sabkha ferry station. Later in the afternoon I returned to catch a half grilled chicken; from the Afghan place.

(Excerpt from the book 'Salam!' )