Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Happy New Year!

Well, this is weird. It's coming up to 11pm as I write this, and we've just come back from a wander around town that we started at about 8pm. The City Centre, around Puerta Del Sol is pretty busy. We even saw Police doing work: some were chasing illegal street vendors ('have you got a licence to sell this street?'), others were carrying steel barriers and putting them into place around the square.

But as we got further away from Sol, bars and shops were closing. We found one street in Barrio De Los Letras where some bars were open, and had a glass in three of them. And then we walked up Paseo del Prado and Paseo de Recoletas: these are broad streets with an equally broad walkway on one side, and they are normally full of people. This evening, they were deserted. Likewise, Plaza de Chueca. Every single bar was closed.

Here's the deal. In Spain, New Year's Eve is a serious family occasion. They'll be feasting until midnight, after which, bars and clubs will open up, and those who feel so inclined will party till dawn.

Meanwhile, in Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed (de facto Ruler) cancelled all New Year's celebrations yesterday, as a gesture of solidarity with the Gaza Strippers. I'm surprised at how little outcry there has been about this from my UAE blogging buddies. All it means is that every single hotel in Dubai will lose a shitload of money, and people who had tickets for these events will miss out on a great night, and probably not get their money back. And the good people of Gaza will be thinking 'well, I'm really glad they did that, it'll definitely stop those Israeli bastards from killing us, thank you Shiekh Mo.'


nzm said...

Happy New Year to you both!

We just came in from the -10°C cold after letting off our barrage of fireworks. Fun!

Have got to agree with you on the Dubai decree. Why didn't he also cancel Hijri celebrations and not attend the opulent GCC meeting in Oman where they all sat in their 5* hotels and said that they are bleeding for their Palestinian brothers? That would have made more sense than to dip out on the millions of dirhams that this is going to cost them.

Rumour has it though, that it was just mostly the outside celebrations that were cancelled. In other words, after the Atlantis opening party expenses, they had no more money for further fireworks celebrations!

dubaibilly said...

Happy New Year folks!

Dubai's lack of celebrations did not affect my celebrations one jot! We went round to Ted and Alice's and we had a super night - good food, good company, good music and some (possibly illegal) dancing - it was lovely and it was dead easy to get a taxi at somewhere around 2 am!

As far as I can see, the people who are most affected by the ban are the hoteliers - let's face it, if you have flown out for a massive NYE bash and it didn't happen you'll think twice before doing it again, won't you? I really think that Dubai shot itself in the foot with this one - they could have put a 10% tax on all f&b at the swanky hotels and they would have raised millions of dirhams for the Palestinian cause - people may have moaned a bit, but they would have paid up. All a bit short-sighted methinks.

Anyway, never mind - I hope you both have a great 2009, whatever it has in store for you!

Cheers DB and Mrs DB

the real nick said...

Happy New Year!
Gaza Strippers ROFL!!!

I just returned from my vacation and realized the world didn't stand still whilst we were cavorting in Venice. Ignorance is bliss.

It's me again said...

Thought you may be interested to know that not all of Dubai missed out on the New Year celebrations...the well known friendly club in Jebel Ali Village went ahead with it's usual outdoor NY celebrations complete with the inevitable belly dancers and the wonderful Party Pete..A good night was enjoyed by all and late leavers were either embarrased or entertained by a table of bawdy brits who completed the evening with a punchup complete with some foul language.. ha ha no change there then..Wishing you both a wonderful 2009