November 11, 2012
I heard the ticket teller say more than once, “This is your only receipt. You must show it every time you change buses. You will not be issued a new one if you lose it.” Up and down the isle she went, telling everyone, and telling them as well when she issued the ticket to them.
I folded my ticket up and put it in the plastic pouch attached to my lanyard that hangs safely around my neck. The five of us are good at Hop-On, Hop-Off stuff. We get to those top decks, we get our ear phones plugged in, the correct channel found, and we have our stuff around us – our water bottles, hats, mid-morning snacks and the tour map laid out on our knees, carefully checking each stop, listening to the audio and reading the text associated with the map.
The tour included the Burjuman Shopping Centre, the WAFI shopping Centre, the Dubai Creek, a chance to take the Dhow River Cruise, the Dubai Museum, Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum’s House, the Gold Souk, the Spice Souk, the Jumeirah Mosque, the Mercato Mall, the Burj Al Arab, the Souk Madinat, Atlantis the Palm, the Mall of the Emirates, the Burj Kahlifa, the Dubai Marina Tallest Block and Sheikh Zayed Road.
I put on my sun glasses, pulled my sun hat down over my ears and hung my head over the side of the bus, enjoying the wind and using my camera to capture view I want to look at again. My lanyard was flying in the wind, sometimes being twisted right around to the back of my neck and I would bring it forward again, only to loose it to the back of my neck again in a few blocks. Making the correction one time, I found that my ticket was gone – blown right out of the lanyard.
I knew the woman had told me no refunds if I lost it. The Terms and Condition of the sale say, “You should keep your tickets as a replacement will not be issued.”
I had not lost the ticket. It had been stolen away from me -- by the wind, so I slipped to the bottom of the bus to see if I could beg a receipt off of the woman who had sole me the ticket.. No ticket sellers go with the bus – it is only the driver on the bottom and the happy tourists on top. When I described my dilemma, he reminded me, no refunds. I said, I would stay on the bottom of the bus until the next stop and see if there was any chance to get help from a ticket seller. He said, “No, you go back to the top of the bus. Enjoy your holiday. See me later when you want to get off of the bus. Now go! Enjoy your holiday
As the bus emptied at the last stop, I checked in with him to find out he had phoned head office, and had permission to get me a complimentary ticket, “Because you are very old, he told me.” Then when I got off the bus he hopped off too he put out his elbow to have me take it to walk to the ticket office, and I no longer had a voice. He did all of the explaining for me, and the ticket seller stapled the complimentary ticket to the coupon book, explaining again that I should not lose it.
I prefer anonymity. The Bates and the Woods were watching this and shaking their heads. Which leads me to another situation where I have been seen and don’t want to be seen.
I have had two or three times on the boat when someone has spotted me, made a comment and I have blushed as though I am 14 years old again. “”You are so beautiful,” a woman on the elevator said. I could feel the heat from the flush right from my fingers to my forehead. Little beads of sweat are running down my body instantly. “Oh, the rest of you women on the elevator are beautiful too, but you are b-e-a-utiful, she continued. Wyona was in the corner shaking her head and rolling her eyes.
“Well,” said Wyona when we got off. “I can tell from the blush, you don’t like being the centre of attention.”
Again, I was alone in the elevator the next night. I had dressed up – formal night, so planning ahead, I was in shimmering black, with a flowing, transparent ruffles on the bottom of my sleeves and around my neck, and wearing all of the pearls in the world that I own. “If you don’t mind me saying, you look particularly stunning tonight,” a man said as he got on the elevator. Again, that terrible heat of the flush of a blush. I am so tongue-tied I can’t even say thank-you. I just get off at the next stop whether it is my stop or not.
Better to look old on the bus and need help getting another ticket – and more fun too, for hanging my head over the side of the bus in the wind and circling Dubai for 2 ½ hours is probably what I will really remember from this trip.