A day at the pool can present all sorts of surprises. Hfu Reisenhofer comes clean.
It’s amazing what you can acquire during a lazy afternoon by the pool. Listen carefully and you can catch the latest gossip among neighbours. Watch carefully and you can glean useful parenting tricks or tips for a more streamlined front crawl. Tread carefully and you can even bag yourself a verruca.
I procured mine some time at the start of the year. I imagine it was from one of the pesky kids splashing about, getting in the way of us ‘serious’ swimmers, but the truth is it could have come from anyone. Not that Dubai’s residents would ever admit it. Because in Dubai there are no verrucas, they just don’t exist.
At least that’s what my six-month search for a treatment has suggested. I’ve trawled pharmacies across the city, but the simple question, ‘Do you have anything for verrucas?’ is, at best, met with blank stares and a shrug of the shoulders and, at worst, hysterical laughter. In one instance, I found myself in a bizarre role-reversal, having to animatedly explain to the pharmacist what a verruca is, only to be led to an entire wall dedicated to corns. Anywhere else and you’d find a tube of Bazuka sat on the shelf in nine out of ten supermarkets, but such home treatments are conspicuously missing here. Yet life goes on, in spite of those stubborn blighters, and I imagine a whole battalion of people out there going about their business in silent shame, too afraid to admit they have an unwanted tag-along on the sole of their foot or in some other secret spot. It makes you wonder what people with verrucas do in Dubai? And what else they’re not telling you...
In a spirit of openness and honesty, therefore, I have borne all. Lying on the massage bed during a review of a couple’s spa treatment, I faced the dilemma of whether or not to caution the therapist who was about to lay his hands on me. After all, it’s difficult to hide things when all you’re wearing is disposable underwear. So, I opened my mouth and gave the warning, my wife next to me giggling like a schoolgirl, breaking the spa’s spell of relaxation. The fact that the therapist seemed unfamiliar with verrucas (or was he just trying to spare my blushes?) is beside the point – clearly it was the right thing to do.
Thankfully, there is a happy ending to this story. On a recent trip back to Europe I stopped by a supermarket and stocked up. I now have two different types of treatment and one of these is proving a success. Which means very soon I’ll be bidding farewell to my little friend.
Verrucas? I haven’t the faintest idea what you’re talking about.
Hfu Reisenhofer is our Guides and Supplements editor. We were wondering why he wears a sock while swimming.