That is the Dubai Friday brunch. BLAISE HOPKINSON gets down and dirty
Captain Kurtz would have repeated his famous line time and again had he happened upon the tail end of a fabled Dubai Friday Brunch. The working week is Sunday to Thursday in the Gulf.
It is horror – so horrific, it’s almost impossible to recount without cringing, gagging and shaking one’s head. Think bacchanalian feast cum barroom brawl meets hen party, big fat multi-ethnic wedding crossed with a priest & prostitute fancy dress and Mr Price fashion show seen through a tik haze.
The “all you can drink” pricing varies from R900 to R2500, depending on the hotel and whether your budget extends to actual champagne or bottom feeds at cheap pink sparkling wine from Patagonia.
One of the most popular Friday brunches is the delightfully named Bubbalicious at the Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort, where from 1-4pm every Friday about 800 revellers rock up, some dressed to the nines, others pure tramp (and that’s just the men) to partake in one of three package options, one which doesn’t include booze, one with sparkling wine and for AED680 as much obscure-label champagne as you can hold down.
The hordes descend and for the first few minutes the tone is salubrious. Maquillage is in place, spaghetti straps and FMSs tidy but as the hooch starts flowing the mainly Brit brunch mavens become more shrill and the tone is lowered by the minute.
Food service is buffet style, difficult for some to navigate on 8-inch stilettos. Plates are piled high as if a famine awaits and half of the victuals seem to end up on the floor, as part of the descent into Hell process involves dropped plates and smashed glasses.
The waiters operate in a blur – harassed, scared, deer-in-the-headlights demeanour – and the patrons, most of whom hold their knives like pencils and couldn’t tell a flute from a fire bucket, become redder and more disassembled with every passing pour. By 4pm the din is unspeakable and the behaviour more suited to a Fellini movie than a five star inn.
Shoes are off. Tattoos are on display and hair is astray. Make up, messily reapplied at the table or on frequent trips to the rest rooms, is awry. As many become tired and emotional, the raccoon look trends.
Parties start breaking up and satellite clusters form, as the still thirsty head for the various bars and even a nightclub in the complex.
The stench of sweat, cheap plonk, discarded food and wafts of cigarette smoke from the terrace make for a vomit-inducing olfactory assault.
One brunch habitué tells me dry humping – and more exploratory groping – is the norm as inhibitions loosen by the glass. Bouncers work the rooms and washrooms to ensure no unseemly acts are committed by consenting, oblivious, or delirious adults who forget they are in a Muslim country.
The taxi queue is a further treat where manners are forgotten and hungry limo drivers jostle for custom.
Captain Kurtz himself would find his sensibilities assaulted and no doubt ask to borrow a whiff of that napalm favoured by his buddy Kilgore.
The horror, the horror… until next Friday rolls along!