Showing posts from March, 2007

By Way of Verification

i*maginate commented - Hmm, shaved Aussie? Possibly a case of lost identity. I refuse to believe an Aussie would be shaved. Unless he was at the Para, of course - Well, it was about time for another prizewinning photo. I think we can now agree the shaved head, the considerable height, and substantial bulk (the foreground head is at normal head height). Our hero is towering above and looking down. Now, we can't prove the Australian roots, but would you argue? The wine yeast was excellent too. Speaking of which, it's now time to add the rest of the grape juice, 3 litres in all, to the working yeast. This time, screw down the lid then back it off half a turn. We don't want sticky explosions, especially when doing something not strictly legal. Hold back on the cranberry and sugar. That comes later.

Treading Water

To make your own, first find a 2 metre tall 120 kilo Australian willing to bring you in some decent quality wine yeast from his next trip home. Buy him a beer to seal the deal. Then wait. After a month or so, take home one 5 litre bottle of water. Work your way through it over the next few days (it can be used for drinking) while amassing the real ingredients. These are: 3 litres of red grape juice and 1 litre of cranberry juice, all with no preservatives, and half a kilo of granulated sugar. Don't put any of these in the fridge. When you've finished the water, dump half a teaspoonful of yeast into the 5 litre bottle and pour in about a quarter of one of your grape juices. Screw down the lid, shake it to buggery (this is the correct technical term in Australia) then go for a beer and forget about it for 12 hours... When you reach Paranormal, you can wonder why there's a traditional wood-panelled English pub in a low quality concrete building in Dubai, and why it has no win

The Glove

Lana wore Paraglider down till he grudgingly agreed (again) to take her from Paranormal to the Vice President for a game of pool. We know the routine well. Place a dirham on the table and wait your turn. It's winner stays on there. The young Syrian guy seems unbeatable and certainly believes himself so. After half an hour, the time comes. Lana walks up to the table. Syria is gracious - if you want to play your girlfriend, I'll step down for one game. Thanks, but she's playing you, my friend. Meanwhile, Lana is fetching her single glove (!) from her handbag and selecting a cue. Five minutes later, Syria is dispatched to the sidelines in a flurry of coloured balls, to nurse his injured pride, soon to be followed by Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and the rest. Paraglider waits and watches. It's OK. There are worse places to drink and Lana is nothing if not decorative. Go girl!

A Fourth Option

Guys who don't want attention mostly stare at their beer. This is relatively safe. Slightly riskier is staring at Sky News - eyes may appear in your eyeline, and besides, extended exposure to Sky is known to reduce IQ by 3 points per month. Riskier still is watching the girls with their backs to you. Your 4th-pint reactions are no match for their Red Bull head whip. You can be cornered and questioned mercilessly for at least an hour. A rarely practised fourth option is to enjoy the unique fabric and artefacts of Chalky's interior. Sooner or later, your gaze will fall on the (unused) dart board, emblazoned with 'The King of Arms'. What creative genius decided to mount a dart board on a pillar? Miss the board (which is likely) and you might skewer a Chicken on the dance floor. Then you'd just have to make amends.

Various Entertainments

This, from a Travel Website: Guests can also sip various beverages at Jockey's Pub, while enjoying various entertainments. Jings. Quite apart from the strange 'various' fixation, in many years, possibly amounting to man-years, in Chalky's Bar, Paraglider can honestly say he has never witnessed the ignoble perversion of 'sipping'. Gulping is the good honest norm. The same travelogue-ist observes: During the daytime, the visitors can enjoy various activities like dune bashing, camel riding and sand surfing on the sands of Dubai. Yes, but, selfsame sands are not cheek-to-cheek with Paranormal and it is arguable that the hotel's camel stock has dwindled to less than one. In fact, our nearest sands are the car park to the right and the graveyard to the left. The graveyard is best observed from 2nd floor bedrooms and above. There are dead people there, but that's OK too. They don't make too much noise, and don't sip any more, if they ever did. Still, s

The Missionaries

Strolling out Mankhool Road the other day, Paraglider was surprised to see a mixed collection of bods literally sprinting into town on the other side of the street. There seemed no obvious explanation, so he dismissed it from his mind. Later, somewhere between Sky News and Helga's new hair colour, it came to him in a flash - of course! They were the bloggers, racing to be first to catch the latest edition of the local papers - to be first to be second to publish. Another Stella, please.

A True Professional

'There comes a time in a man's life', droned the Gourd, 'not that he's exactly dissatisfied with his wife, sorry, life , freudian slip, I meant life, it's the beers, it's the beers - but there comes a time when circumstances conspire to bring to light an awareness of an inner emptiness, a lack of purpose. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. Of course he could ignore it and just carry on in the same old rut, but there comes a time...' '500', said Zarina, looking past his left ear at tomorrow's breakfast.

Something pedal

Mira is as respectable as they come. Eastern European, can't quite remember (that's me, not Mira) if it's Poland, Hungary or Bulgaria, but it's not France. Anyway, she likes shoes. Likes them enough to sit in the Paranormal foyer for maybe an hour and a half, nursing a coffee or two and watching the ladies, from the ankles down, making their ways to and from the toilets. She will never venture into the bar because, not being 'business', she knows she hasn't the rebuff lines to keep herself free of grot (which is all too available - see Scottish Table below). But her road home passes Shoe City (a shop, dammit), so, if inspired, her nights are not wasted.

Nice Laptop, Darling

Different societies should not be expected to share a sense of humour. The occasional Englishman, for example, has been known to try to emulate Scottish dryness, though never to succeed. And the German is yet to walk the Earth who understands punning. Be that as it may, Pyramid Dave was genuinely surprised to find he had made the world's greatest joke. Lisa was on a What is your ... mission, fresh from a phrase book somewhere. Pyramid was being taciturn. What is your name? - Dave. What is your bag? - Computer. What is your computer? - Toshiba. Screams of laughter, much repeating of punch line, more screams of laughter. There's a dubious Chinese saying that translates to big nose, big c--k . Big nose is more or less ta beeze . The rest you can guess.

A Change of Scene

Qatar simply doesn't have anywhere like the Paranormal for the traveller to rest his weary eyes. There are all the usual Charlatans and Majorcons, but nothing catering for anything but comfort. Except maybe the Stufital, one of the oldest hotels in Doha. This has that rarest of articles in the Middle East, a bar with a street level entrance and no entry fee. You do have to buy drink tokens at the door though, because no money changes hands at the bar. Go early, because it fills to danger level by about 10 most nights, with men, unfortunately, who come to watch the Filipina girls in the 'band'. Listening is optional. Fights break out fairly regularly, usually occasioned by an overenthusiastic Indian trying to touch one of the singers (the slim one on the right!) This, of course, requires the Filipino guys to come to her defence. The ensuing free-for-all starts up faster than Security can yawn. But as the Indians only outnumber the Filipinos by about three to one, it's pr

Doing the Rounds

"You can give me only one dirham?" says little Lee, presenting an open palm and an ingratiating smile to every man in the bar. Bargain basement? No, just taking a collection from anyone who'll help her feed her addiction. Some of us take pity. Clutching a small pile of coins, she retires guiltily to the dark corner for another half hour of Spot the Difference. Meanwhile, the little Sri Lankan repairman ambles around pointlessly, carrying a length of pipe and looking for his favourites.