One of the particularly tricky things about life here in Dubai is that very few people in the service industries speak English as their first language. As a particularly fast speaker (I work in PR, it’s practically on the job description!) and woman who sees no point in using two words when ten will do, this has made me completely change my use of language.
Me, usually (to concierge):
I believe there are some guest suites in the building for people to stay in when they come to visit Dubai. I’d like to book my parents into them in January. The apartment is a bit small for us all to squeeze into! Any idea of prices or booking procedure would be great, please.
Me, in Dubai:
Guest suites. Open? (Accompanied by lifting up of shoulders and hands in air and quizzical expression.)
Me, usually (to laundry man):
Last week when you collected our ironing you took a king sized duvet cover from us. I can’t find it now, do you think you might have forgotten to drop it off? Could you check and let me know as soon as possible, as I don’t have a spare! Many thanks.
Me, in Dubai:
My duvet cover is missing.
Me, usually (to car hire company):
I’d like some prices please for a couple of different options of hiring a car. It’s for a client event. I need an option where I have one car, to seat one person, and a second option, where I have a bigger car, for example a people carrier. I need the cars for a return trip to Abu Dhabi from Dubai, in October and January. Many thanks.
Me, in Dubai, to car hire company:
How much cars to Abu Dhabi?
Get my drift? Really quite exhausting!