Wednesday, October 26, 2005

After Iftar, Sniftar

Iftar is the breaking of the fast after sundown during Ramadan.
Sniftar is a poetic misspelling of 'snifter' to make it rhyme with iftar. A 'snifter' is a small portion of liquor.

This evening we went to an iftar feast organised by the Arabic department at BetterArf's school. It was wonderful. When the food had run out, the couple next to us departed, saying they were off for a 'snifter'. Hmm, good idea, we thought. We went with a couple of old friends to a certain English pub at the Jumeirah Jumeirah Beach Hotel.

We managed to get a couple of rounds inside us. The service was abysmally slow. When we finally got the bill we could not believe the telephone numbers we were looking at. We were being charged about Dhs 30 for each drink! I was aware that drinks used to be Dhs 25 at this establishment, which was about average for a 5-star hotel.

But this pub has always had a problem. It cannot decide whether it's a bar in a 5-star hotel, or whether it's a replica of an English pub. The two are pretty much mutually exclusive. As a compromise they have a Happy Hour from 5 until 7, when drinks are half price. The joint is jumping during Happy Hour, and then eveybody sups up and goes home or somewhere else. As we are in Ramadan, the Happy Hour seems to have been cancelled, and so we had to pay the full whack. Ouch.

We gave them a bunch of money, and waited for them to give us some change. Nothing doing. They seem to have a new policy. They assume that any money you give them is theirs to keep. If you are so cheap that you don't want to give them a 50 dirham tip for their truly lousy service, then you have to actually go and ask the cashier for your change.