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Day 5: A Dinner Date With Myself

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Today is Friday, and it is like a holiday today. I mean,Friday is like Sunday here - most of the shops and businesses are closed.Again I took a long walk to the Dubai Creek at the far end of Al Sabkha road. My Dhow cruise is booked for tonight and till then I had the whole day to myself. I had misgivings about the night boat cruise and dinner really. I mean such things are for lovers and I have not come here with any lover. I am not even sure I love myself well enough to want to go on a night dinner date with myself.
Regardless though of the fact that a buffet awaited tonight I safely went to grab a meal from the Afghan restaurant. The car came around 6pm to take me for the cruise. The hotel manager is impressed; I am quite not the same as the many uncultured traders that he often had to deal with on a daily basis. The car went on to pick up another couple who looked very drunk and away we finally went to the boat docks at the other side of the creek running along Baniyas Road. Looking over the creek I could quite clearly see the Al Sabkha ferry terminal where I had spent a long hour earlier in the day. I thought ruefully that I could have saved myself a small packet by going on a small boat ride in the afternoon. The craft which we were to ride in didn't look anything like a dhow either. It was no more than a redecorated barge. But what do tourists know ?
I seemed to be the only unaccompanied passenger and I am bumped into a lone seat in the middle of the top deck. As the only unaccompanied, only black passenger- here at my table I feel quite ostracized. From then on it became just another agonising and boring ride made worse by the discomfort of not being able to see much of what was overboard from my disadvantaged location. The food was surprisingly delicious though , but in my funk I quite reasoned that I could have gotten approximately the same fare at a restaurant on terra-firma for less than a quarter of what I had paid and also saved myself the hassle of a senseless night trip on a boat. Mr Tito also again came to perform on the boat. Boo!
The trip was concluded around ten in the night, and the driver took me back to the hotel. I feel tired and annoyed with myself, and the driver made me more miserable by hustling me for a tip. I feel thoroughly pissed off that he hadn't tried to hustle the other passengers he'd earlier dropped off . Why me ? Do I look so easy ? I offered him 3 Dirhams; a he looked offended and complained that that kind of money would get him no more than a cup of coffee; as if I was responsible for his welfare. I finally gave him 5 Dirhams. He wonderfully did not thank me. Wow!

(Excerpt from the book 'Salam!' )