I was dozing drunkenly on the sofa of his expensive apartment overlooking Dubai Marina. Bob had been working in the Emirates since the previous October, and had gotten the nice apartment at Dubai Marina in hopes of bringing his Russian wife and daughter there, but his wife had eventually declined to move there, describing Dubai as "hot and uncivilized." Bob had been unable to get any job in America except for day labor, however, so he was sticking with the Emirates.
|Would you pay $2000 a month for this view? Sure why not.|
"I CAN'T BE POLITE OR FAITHFUL WHEN I'M DRUNK, EITHER."
I'd arrived that evening, October 31st, and we'd celebrated Halloween in relatively good style at the Barrasti beach bar at the Raddison. There were plenty of costumes and Halloween cheer, only perhaps hampered by the 80% - 20% male / female ratio. (And the $10 beers, maybe, but we're men of the world with decent salaries now.)
Bob had been a little pissed that an Indian girl he'd been banging had blown him off for the evening, instead running off with a tall Dutch guy. "Crazy slut," he said. I was returning with the beers I'd waited in line for ten minutes with and had missed all the drama. "She's drunk all the time. Her friend just tried to tell me that she was out of town for the weekend but then I saw her with that big tall fucker."
"She sounds like your soul-mate," I said.
"I can't be polite or faithful when I'm drunk, either, that's one thing we have in common."
We drank and hung out. The bar sprawls out of a couple of levels onto a beach with a number of tables and a stage, with interesting view of all the Blade Runner style buildings towering overhead.
When Crazy Bob gets drunk, he usually can't control his urges and begins groping the asses or breasts of random women. This kind of maneuver might get you some anger from an Eastern European girl, but will tend to drive a British girl, of whom there were many in the bar, into complete hysterics, and indeed that happened, when Bob ran his hand up the leg (right to the crotch) of a British girl in a sexy nurse's outfit standing near our table. (The girl herself was not particularly sexy, I should add.)
Amazingly we didn't get our asses kicked; the security guards only asked him to move to a different table.
"British girls, god I fucking hate them," he bemoaned. "They come over here and think they're princesses. The Emirati guys will fuck anything, and they buy them tons of shit. And the Emiratis don't work so they don't have anything to do but lift weights and exercise all day."
"It seems to be mostly British engineers in here," I said.
"Yeah, they'll fuck anything, also."
"They're not discriminating like you," I say.
He mentions that good-lucking Persian girls we'd met a few weeks previously, on another visit. "That girl had the plumpest, silkiest pussy I've experienced lately."
"Kind of really like, slick and smooth, you know?"
"As opposed to full of gravel, like usually?"
"No, you know, really like moist and ... plump, that word comes back to me. It really like forms around you, you know?"
"Actually I think I do know what you're talking about. Real smooth and silky on the inside, I think I do know what you're talking about. Why don't you call those girls tonight?"
"Jesus Christ, you don't want that. We don't want to spend that much money." He mentions that he'd taken one of them to a nearby bar and spent over 1000 dirhams (about $266) on her, just a few drinks and some smoked salmon appetizers.
"Well that says more about the bar, maybe, not the girl. You can't just invite them over for tequila shots?"
"Jesus no. They're used to being driven around in Ferraris and shit. It's really disgusting. Completely the opposite of Russia."
"Yeah, for our sins, I guess. That's why I wanted to come here. Cleanse myself."
Crazy Bob is ten years younger than I am. "I certainly don't feel cleansed. I'm drinking maybe a bit more than I did in Russia actually. You know, you get a lot of middle-aged British women coming over here for sex tourism now."
"Oh yeah. Most of the teachers I work with are middle-aged women. And take a look at all those would-be cougars over by the bar there."
"Mmm, indeed. Now that you mention it, one of the guys I work with was telling me about working as a TEFL teacher in London, and all the men working there were involved in acrimonious divorces with their Eastern European wives, and all the women there were involved in acrimonious divorces with their Middle Eastern husbands."
"WHERE THE WHORES ARE?"
When they finally kicked everybody out of the bar at 3:00 am, Bob said he wanted a whore.
"Come on, there's a parking lot near here."
"Where the whores are?"
"Not exactly," he said. We charged over to a nearby parking lot and he began scouring the ground. "See, the escort agencies put these little business card things under people's windshields, and then they throw them on the ground ... ah! Here are a few. Koreans, that's what I want, but they always have Chinese and try to pass them off as Korean."
"Is there some big difference between a Korean and a Chinese?" I ask. "I've never noticed that much difference. I mean, I've had sex with a number of women and the vagina always runs in a vertical direction. Find me a horizontal one, that might interest me."
He showed me a few business cards with pictures of sexy Asian nymphs and phone numbers offering "in home massage service."
"Don't you have any of these cards at home?" I asked.
"No, because I get disgusted with myself and throw them away."
"Doesn't that mean you'll probably regret this?"
"Yeah, of course," he says. "Let me use your phone, I don't have any time left on mine."
So at 4:30 am the whore rang the door bell. She seemed to be okay looking, and I squinted at her, trying to focus my blurred middle-aged myopic eyes. I knew you'd need to check out her stomach and ass though, to get a real idea about her, but they were hidden by her tight clothes.
"I asked for a Korean but I'll bet you anything she's Chinese," said Bob, standing there in his boxers. the girl doesn't comment. I'm wearing cargo shorts and black socks, so we probably looked like (yet another) bad orgy in the making.
I took a glass of salty Dubai tap water. The stuff on Bob's kitchen counter tells a number of stories: broad-spectrum antibiotics, a tub of protein powder, vitamins, a coffee mug imprinted with a picture of Bob's daughter, now nearly 2 years old.
"You're just going to sleep?" asks the Chinese hooker.
"Yeah, I'm just going to sleep. I'm an old man and I need my rest," I say.
I climb back onto the sofa, cover my face with a t-shirt, and immediately go back to sleep.
"YOU MIGHT ACTUALLY NEED YOUR AMYGDALA DESTROYED A BIT."
I'm awakened by Crazy Bob asking: "Hey X, you want a beer?"
I check my watch; it's 9:30 am.
"I couldn't sleep," he says. He cracks a beer for both of us and I take a grateful swig, rubbing the sleep muck out of my eyes. The pervasive and purifying Middle Eastern November sun is streaming into the room.
"How was your Chinese whore?"
"Oh man, not worth it at all. Why didn't you stop me?"
"You wouldn't have listened. How much?"
"She charged 350 dirhams (about $95) but of course she didn't have change so she just took 400. Barebacked her too, in the end. The condom fell off, and I didn't bother to put it back on. I hope I don't get the clap again."
Bob is well known for his refusal to wear condoms. "Even here, you get it? I thought they had to pass medical tests to get in the country, it would be safer here."
"Jesus, no, I got something so virulent all the skin on my leg and hands turned red, just a few hours after banging some whore. There's all kinds of awful STDs around here."
"Well, you can be comforted that Vietnamese Black Rose Syphilis is just an urban myth. Your cock isn't going to turn black and burst open like a flower of rotten flesh. That's just a myth."
"The people at the clinic are starting to know my name," he said.
"Like back in Vodkaberg."
"That doctor at the clinic in Vodkaberg really got mad at me the fifth or sixth time I went in there." He stands up and imitates the middle-aged female doctor. "Presevatif nada, panyatna?"
"Did the hooker look okay when you got her unwrapped?"
He makes a face. "Not particularly. She had a gunt."
"Well at least you can hope the money goes to a good cause; her kid back in China."
"The money could have been going to my kid back in Russia, which is a better cause."
We discuss money a bit; he says that he sends half his salary to them every month, but other than that manages to not only blow all of it but also rack up some credit card debt every month.
His apartment is pretty bare; Bob lives without media. He has no TV and no internet connection at home. He checks the internet at work occasionally, he says, though it's heavily blocked, and sometimes goes up on the roof where he can pick up an unprotected wifi signal. "But there are some security guards up there so I can't watch porn or anything."
We discuss the TED talk about how porn destroys the amygdala. "For most people," I say, "that's a bad thing but I think you might actually need your amygdala destroyed a bit."
"You know, actually," he says, "when I want to jerk off I often go to the beach and do it in the water."
"Yeah man, it's awesome. Find some girl I like in a bikini and swim around somewhere I can get a clear view of her and let one go. It never takes long, and nobody can see what I'm doing."
"That's pretty crazy even by Crazy Bob standards."
"Haven't you ever jacked off outside anywhere? It's great, I really feel like I'm sort of ... one with nature."
"I mean, I guess I have on camping trips. Oh, and driving. I used to have to drive five hours to see my dad a lot, and I'd do it while I was driving sometimes."
He thought that was pretty funny, and said he'd never done that.
"JUST STARTED CRYING AND COULDN'T STOP"
We bitch about our jobs a little bit; I'd been trying to get on with the outfit he works for last year, but my mother being diagnosed with cervical cancer had made me unable to start when they'd needed me in January.
I mention that the woman -- managing director of the English program -- I'd been corresponding with about the position had been surprisingly snippy when I'd told her about my mother's illness, and he says that she was a well-known alcoholic who was now in a mental hospital.
"Yeah, complete breakdown at work, just started crying and couldn't stop."
"I know that feeling," I say and he laughs as we crack a couple more beers. "Anyway, they offered me the job in the Kingdom in January and I thought it would be a big step up professionally, but it's just another shitty TEFL job. At least they pay well."
"Yeah, my job really sucks but yours sounds worse."
"Yeah, at least you can have some semblance of a life," I say. "You know what I can do in the evening where I live?"
"Jack off?" he suggests.
"Yeah. I can't even go to the supermarket unless I know for sure when the prayer times are, otherwise I have to stand on the street for thirty minutes. I'm seriously thinking of quitting, by the way, and looking for a job here."
"The worst part of this one is just that they move us from Emirate to Emirate all the time, there's all kinds of political bullshit." He'd worked in Sharjah, Fujeirah, and now was back in Abu Dhabi. "That wouldn't be a problem except I have to change my registration address for the visa. I'm supposed to have a legal address in Abu Dhabi. I had to go get fake papers at a camp full of human-trafficked construction workers. You wouldn't believe what those guys pay to live in those places, by the way."
I think of the $600 a month I'm paying to live in an old trailer park down the road from the sewage-treatment center. "Yeah, I would."
"Anyway," he says. "Let's go get some breakfast."
We walk down to a trendy cafe full of tanned expats, expensive cars slowly prowling by on the street outside, and sit and eat our omelets and drink strong coffee and bemusedly watch the world go by.