Water makes all the difference
WATER and travel are often intrinsically linked. In fact, as human beings, whose bodies consists of 50 to 65 per cent water (males), 45 to 60 per cent (females), living on the Blue Planet, we are almost as attracted to water as fish. Seaside holidays, waterskiing, sailing, Niagara Falls, cruising, yachting, Iguasu Falls, Rhine holidays, the South of France, the Maldives, the Seychelles – and now Dubai, Bahrain and Muscat.
Whether it be the chilly North Sea or the clear sparkling blues of the Gulf, we all seem to succumb to the attraction of water.
For the holiday industry, water seems to influence many of our choices:
• “No, you should not drink the tap water. Please make sure you use only bottled water”
• “Please be careful of the currents when going swimming off the beach”
• “Yes, the hotel offers a lifeguard service at the swimming pool”
• “The boat excursion around the island of Spetses (in Greece) is charged extra”
• “We advise you to get up and walk around the aircraft at regular intervals and please keep drinking water”
A few years ago, it was a funny/but true statement, when asked about rain in Dubai, one could reply: “Not much, it has not rained here for the past three years.” We had a torrential downpour a couple of months ago in Dubai, which caused a bit of bother for some new house owners, who discovered in some instances that shoddy workmanship on the roofs resulted in water finding its way down to fuse boxes and electricity being cut off. As traffic in England grinds almost to a halt with a few inches of snow, traffic in the Gulf was badly affected during the downpour.
I was motoring along the road, carefully as usual, when the car in front swerved violently to the right. I braked and looked for the stray dog or cat, which had obviously caused the driver in front of me to react. But it was a puddle. In Dubai, drivers veer around puddles, even shallow ones!
On the bright side, when it rains in the Gulf, suddenly all the dusty trees are changed into pristine, photogenic palms and the evening strolls are much more enjoyable as the temperatures drop a little.
Speaking of mineral water, I remember our first experience of the Arab World, a sojourn in Libya many years ago. In those days, the tap water was undrinkable, mineral water was not yet a massive export product and we used little blue tablets to purify the H2O, making it almost impossible to drink, but fine for boiling water for tea and coffee. I am often tempted to book a cruise, but then I remember that I become seasick very quickly on board a ship. Don't laugh, I once boarded a 10,000-tonne ferry boat in Harwich and managed to become seasick, before I’d even left the harbour.
Fortunately for me, the airline industry offered more pleasant alternatives for travel, though one cannot drive a car onto an aircraft. I seem to be fine on smaller boats – my honeymoon was spent on the Norfolk Broads on a cruiser.
One of my most memorable water trips was in a rowing boat in the Danube Delta in Romania accompanied by a farmer guide, who took us to where the flamingoes and other exotic birds nested, before we arrived at his white farmhouse amidst the bull rushes, where his wife kindly served us with tea, tasty cakes and wonderful grapes.
And now, excuse me, but the air conditioning is now making my mouth feel very dry - I had better have another glass of my favourite French mineral water to add more liquid to that 45-60 per cent water in my body.
Speaking Out by Jonna Simon