Friday

Dome coffee - A mall somewhere

“Oh NO!”
“What?”
“Oh no, oh no, oh NO!”

We were standing in an elevator at Al Wahda Mall, and on our way to review our second coffee place in as many weeks. Kim was alternately leaning to look at her reflection in the stainless steel sheen that was the interior of the elevator, and hugging her shoulders vigorously.



Her dismayed cries drawing the attention of not just me, but the one other person who shared our lift. This other person seemed nice,  smiled at as when we entered, then went about the business of elevator etiquette required when one is the odd person out in a 3 person elevator ride.

“What?” I asked again.
“I’m not wearing a BRA!”

I looked toward our travelling companion, who looked back via the reflective surface of the door and raised an eyebrow. I shrugged and turned back to Kim.

“So? It’s not like you’ll ever get ‘Chesty Peaks’ as a nickname. ”
“It’s not that” she said as she swatted at her chest then reverted to hugging her shoulders again.
“Well?”
“It’s cold and this is a light jumper.” She turned and thrust her chest at me. “LOOK!” she wailed.

We had arrived at our travelling buddies floor, and at this point she was frantically pressing the open doors button. Even turned side on so that she could exit with a little more haste.

As the doors closed I looked at Kim to assess the damage, and while yes she was showing signs of being a little cool, her protuberances weren’t anything to right home about. So I dutifully replied:

“Cool, at least I’ll have somewhere to hang my car keys when we get to the café”

She wasn’t impressed.

Our floor arrived, the elevator doors slid open and we exited, Kim now firmly gripping her shoulders in order to protect her modesty.

So I did too. Grip my own shoulders that is.

“What are you doing now?” she asked.
“Solidarity, Sister” I said with a brief fist pump “I’d hate for you to draw attention to yourself by walking while obviously embracing yourself, so if I do it too you’ll one of two ungainly looking folk, rather than having to fly solo.”

We must have looked ridiculous.

Okay, I must have looked ridiculous. Kim just kind of glided along.

Me?

I looked like I was trying to wrestle my way out of a straight jacket.

The café was only a short straight-jacketed-shamble from the carpark, and we were ensconced in a table in the open sided un-partitioned it’s-only-non-smoking-because-there-is-no-ashtray-on-the-table section of the café, flat nippled and ready to drink coffee.

Orders made (again with the food, I think I’ll stop mentioning it - doesn’t seem I can fight that tide) we settled in.

Then my phone rang.

Because my work takes me all over the this little island I get a few ‘where the hell is this shop/restaurant/building?’ which, given the way my brain works very hard at forgetting things, I often surprise myself with knowing.

“Hey Virgil” I said upon seeing his number pop up on the screen

Virgil and his wife arrived here from England almost a year ago, but they’re American - long story. Anyhow - big V needed to know where the Bus station was.

“It’s the same place as the taxi stand on 11th and 4th” I replied
“Why didn’t they say that?” asked Virgil.
“Where would the fun be in that, hey? We’re in Al Wahda Mall, wave at us as you drive by” I said
“Al Wahda - I’m calling from Al Wahda, where are you?”

So our posse became three. If only for a short period of time.

Virg was on a mission.

He’d purchased a carpet while visiting the blue souq in Sharjah, and after some reportedly stellar haggling had managed to get the carpet for a really good price. So he found himself (and in the process, Kim and me) in the Taxi rank area because the guy at a marina mall carpet place had told him there was a guy nearby who could modify the carpet for him.

You see we in the middle east are a weird bunch. Anywhere else in the world one would by a carpet to throw down on the floor, perchance to place a handy coffee table, or some accidental furniture.

Maybe even to utilise such perfect knottery to protect the acres of hallway so beloved by middle eastern house designers.

But no, we don’t do that. We buy carpets and then hang them on the wall. Interestingly we don’t do it the other way around.

I’d love a piece of freshly wallpapered plaster board (drywall) to put down in the entrance alcove.

So Virgil, before the minor interruption of coming to see us was in hot pursuit of a shop that would alter the rug to make it suitable for hanging.  His directions could have come straight from the pages of Abu Dhabi Week. ‘Near to Bus Station’ was all he got. Even with my information regarding the interchangability of ‘Bus Station’ and ‘Taxi Stand’ he was still up against it as from experience that kind of direction could be denoting anything in a 5 block radius.

Not the kind of thing you would want to tackle on foot, with a carpet over your shoulder. In business attire.

Probably a good thing he stopped for a coffee, he obviously needed to fortify himself.

When he arrived we all valiantly tried to squeeze onto the 2 person table, but as it was looking more and more like we would need to begin balancing stuff on our knees, the goodly staff swept in and insisted that we take another table, for which we were most grateful, then set about the serious business of coffee consumption.

Well that and dipping a fork into Kim’s delicious risotto. Seriously. Really good.

Virgil said his goodbyes, and fuelled with a coffee and a handful of French fries made his way out in to the street to continue his quest.

Conversation turned to the topic of buses, and how in the previous Abudhabilist post I had mentioned that taking a bus might add a new dynamic to the hunt for coffee primarily because Kim would hate it.

“I like the bus!” Kim exclaimed
“Really?”
“Yes” she said with a little less conviction.
“How many times have you actually been on a bus here?”
“Including the times we caught the bus at the F1?”
“No. They were shuttle buses. I mean, wait at a bus-stop, get on the bus go somewhere. Proper public transport”
“Oh”
“Well?”
“Once”

Apparently Kim’s great middle eastern bus trip wasn’t such a great experience. Upon getting on to the beast, she had asked the driver whether the bus went to Airport road. The driver replied the affirmative, so Kim paid her fare and sat down and then went on a magical mystery route that didn’t actually include Airport Rd at all.

“But I still like them” she said trying to regain some semblance of authority on all things bus like.
“Okay, great” I said “we’ll have to bus it to one of the remaining reviews. Because you LIKE buses”
“I do! But…”
“yeeees Kim?”
“What if it’s hot, or raining or…”
“So you are actually asking:  What if conditions are not absolutely perfect and there is even an outside chance that you may not be stratospherically comfortable for the entire trip?”

Much pouting ensued, and loud sipping of her coffee.

“Fine!” I said “if it’s raining we’ll go by car”

Pout disappeared, cup was placed down an then an entire conversation about which would of the remaining review candidates would be easiest to get to, because, apparently we didn’t want to have to change buses.

“Or we could take a taxi, that’s like public transport” said Kim, her accent reminding me of one of the wardrobe children from The Chronicles of Narnia,

“No. A taxi is like a car, it has to be a bus”

“Fiiiine” said Kim with a sigh, and a bit of a flounce.

Next topic was the coffee: Which turned out to be pretty good. Like Second Cup, it wasn’t earth shattering, but it was okay coffee. The food on the other hand was really good, particularly the risotto.

Unfortunately for Dome, and like so many other café’s here in Abu Dhabi, it is positioned in a mall, so I recommend a seat, facing the large atrium windows or at least facing into the shop, otherwise (and particularly with no visual partitioning between café and centre), some will feel, well like they are sitting in a shopping centre, and a little in the way of people scurrying about in their quest for another sparkly thing or other.

The service is great though and all the staff are friendly.

Oh, and for those interested, Virgil found the carpet shop that had been recommended to him by another carpet shop.

They didn’t do carpet remodelling, but they knew a carpet shop that did… and they had directions.

Dome.
Level one, Al Wahda Mall

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Andrew Webber is a writer, living in Abu Dhabi with his wife, two cats and two dogs.

His first book "Erasure" was published in June 2012 and was followed in 2013 by the Prequel to Erasure, "Broken".

In 2016 Erasure was a prize winner in the Montegrappa Writing Prize - part of the Emirates Airlines Festival of Literature.

For more information click the "Erasure" book cover on the left side of this site, or simply go to www.athwebber.com

Thanks for visiting.