Many of you know that I worked at the Jebel Ali Hotel, just outside of Dubai City in the UAE from 1987 to 1989. Over the past couple of years, I have mentioned in my December blogging the brilliant Christmas decorations in the hotel lobby. There was always a life-size replica of Santa's sleigh suspended precariously above the vast expanse of marble floor. On an ordinary day, the lobby was pretty spectacular with golden elevator doors and sparkling tendril lighting. At Christmas-time, the entire hotel was magnificent!
This year, I offer a photograph of the gingerbread house, created, baked, and built by Chef Mike Lee and his team of patisserie chefs. Everyone loved the tiny house, especially the children, and it made the whole lobby smell like a bakery. Behind those snowy Christmas trees in the background, outside the plate-glass windows, was (probably still is) the enormous swimming pool and swim-up bar. Beyond that is the Persian Gulf. As I stood in that snug winter wonderland and looked out at swimsuited tourists, sunbathing or sipping cocktails or splashing about in the turquoise water, I always experienced the strangest sense of incongruity. Tourism is an remarkable thing.
|The Gingerbread House at the Jebel Ali Hotel, December 1987|