Last Night in Port (18 April)

Today was a day of rest. Turns out, in the multi-cultural Middle East, the weekend can be a long one: Muslims observe Friday, Jews observe Saturday, and Christians observe Sunday. Add in Thursday as the day before, and can be difficult to schedule meetings!

At any rate, took a day of rest. For breakfast I scouted the hotel buffet and settled on the scrambled eggs with salmon, served with bacon and hash browns. Fresh croissants on the side. Oh, upon entering the restaurant, the hostess greeted me with an offer of an eye-opener. They do this every day: offer a choice of two custom juice blends, in a shot glass, as you enter. I think today’s was fresh pineapple, ginger and mint. I read for a while outside, trying to be a good de-jet-lagger by getting morning natural sun, before it just got too bright and hot. Lunch was a Vietnamese shrimp salad — served on a bed of slaw made from cabbage, seedless cucumber and tomatoes, in a piquant vinagrette. Very good hot weather stuff, I’ll have to try making something like that when I get home. Dinner was … well, fantastic …

At sea, of course, there is the tradition of the “last night at sea” dinner. So I made this a “last night in port” dinner instead. One does need to make one’s own traditions, doesn’t one? I selected the French restaurant, and sat outside on the lanai (I’m sure the emiratis call it something else) on canvas covered cushions in a rattan chair, with a canvas marquee overhead, and a lovely soft evening breeze. First the server brought out an amuse-bouche: three little bites, each different, on toast (pate, aspic, and smoked salmon). For a main course I ordered halibut, pan seared with Noicoise vegetables (hand carved!) on the side, sauced with a crab reduction “prepared like a soup”. For dessert, the label said pineapple beignets, but I think Pineapple fritter is more accurate (the fresh fruit was encased in a batter, not a yeast dough), served with pasionfruit sauce and pinacolada sorbet. An absolute delightful way to end my stopover in Dubai.

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