You’ve probably felt them gradually surrounding you over the past few weeks. A little like the Gleeks, Lost fans or American Idol addicts: they talk and talk and talk incessantly about what could happen, what they’d like to see happen, and where and how they’re going to see it happen. But this breed is far worse than mere telly addicts. These people are suffering from the advanced stages of World Cup fever: they’re the kind of folk who obsess about ridiculous salaries, random last names (Rooney! Messi! Kaka!) and repetitive injuries (hammies, quads and Achilles heels).
Unfortunately, now, for the first time in four years, they have the chance to recruit yet more into their insanely competitive world. Those who would normally show little interest in footie suddenly start frothing at the mouth, painting their faces, buying overpriced national kits and screaming childlike chants. We know, it’s frightening – and extremely isolating for those with zero interest in which team can kick more balls into a net. But fear not, fellow anti-football fans. Here is our guide to coping with life as a social misfit for the next few weeks.
Focus on nations that are similarly apathetic about football
(201st in the FIFA World Rankings – didn’t make it into the tournament) While the sixth smallest nation in the world (with a population of less than 84,000) doesn’t have its own cuisine represented in Dubai, the next best thing, Catalan food (they speak Catalan in Andorra, you see) is available at Ossiano restaurant in the Atlantis hotel – also the first overseas venture for Catalan chef Santi Santamaria. The divine 14-course meal, priced at a reasonable Dhs450, should keep you away from the jeering fans for a while – just avoid those ‘hot favourite’ Spaniards.
(04 426 2626).
(193rd – didn’t make it into the tournament) To date, we have only discovered three Afghani restaurants in Dubai; our favourite is Afghan Cuisine in International City (randomly in the Russia cluster). The steamed dumplings are homely, the kofta korma tangy and the lamb chopan kebab thoroughly decent. Who cares about their World Cup performance with fare like this?
(04 422 7922).
(118th – didn’t make it into the tournament) To be honest, we don’t need an excuse to devour the reasonably-priced set menus at one of our favourite South-East Asian eateries. The Hue and Saigon selections are scrummy, including sea bass, cognac steak and melt-in-the-mouth beef. Take a football fanatic, present this food to them – and even they may be quiet for a moment.
(04 405 2703).
(45th – made it into Group E) We have a new-found love for Kisaku in Deira’s Al Khaleej Palace Hotel: the sushi is lovingly flavoured and presentation and service spot on. Check out our Sushi 101 guide in the next issue for more details – and perhaps head to the restaurant around June 20, when any potential World Cup chatter will be highly unlikely.
(04 223 1000).
(8th – Group C) Dubai’s Brits may be at a loose end after the semis (controversial – although some have argued they’ll be free after the quarters). We recommend heading to The Fish Supper at Mirdif’s Arabian Center (04 284 5551) and indulging in the best fish and chips in Dubai, or booking a table at Rivington Grill for old-fashioned comfort food. Who can cry Gazza-style when they have a plate of sticky toffee pudding in front of them?
(04 423 0903).
Three sure-fire ways to silence inane football chat
He says: ‘The Addidas Jabulani is the official football of the World Cup this year. Aerodynamics mean it is the fastest and most accurate football
She says: ‘Shut up.’
He says: ‘If you could combine the attacking prowess of the South American teams with the tactical expertise of Europeans, you would create a football dream team.’
She says: ‘No seriously, shut up.’
He says: ‘If FIFA doesn’t allow match officials to use pitchside technology, they will continue to allow the game to be ruined by cheats, idiots and unfit referees.’
She says: ‘I’m taking the cat.’
Take full advantage of special Time Out World Cup spa deals
We checked – there are no TVs showing football in the salons!
The treatments: There are two on offer. First up, a 60-minute Lime Revival special, broken down into a 30-minute ‘intuitive’ back, neck and shoulder massage, a 30-minute intuitive organic facial and a Jewel afternoon tea with cake and sandwiches. Second, there’s a 240-minute Lime Remedy, Relax and Release, including foot ritual, aromatic body and scalp massage, Lime Couture facial, a luxury manicure and pedicure, a shampoo, blow-dry and finish, plus fresh fruit smoothie and fresh fruits. Phew!
The offer: The Lime Revival for Dhs485 (normally Dhs540); Lime Remedy, Relax and Release for Dhs1,315 (normally Dhs1,575).
Valid until: July 11.
Desert Palm (04 323 8888).
Natural Elements Spa
The treatments: Choose either the high-performance facial, which promises to brighten the complexion and refine the skin, or a deluxe manicure/pedicure with paraffin treatment: ideal for rough hands.
The offer: Normally the facial is Dhs650 and the mani-pedi is Dhs180-200. On presentation of this page, you receive 50 per cent off.
Valid until: July 11.
Le Méridien Dubai (04 217 0000).
Thai Privilege Spa
The treatment: The deal applies to all spa services, including five-star massages.
The offer: On presentation of this magazine, you’ll receive a Dhs50 voucher to spend on any treatment.
Valid until: August 7.
Al Wasl Road, Jumeirah (04 348 9679).
Mayumy Ladies’ Salon
The treatment: There are seven exotic beauty treatments on offer, including 30 minutes of hand and foot reflexology, a manicure or pedicure, paraffin treatment for hands and feet, and a wash and blow-dry.
The offer: Everything for Dhs199 – a 35 per cent discount. Bring a copy of this magazine to claim.
Valid until: July 7.
Al Wasl (04 345 6799 / 050 725 9132).
The treatment: This is the ‘Get Rid of Your Girlfriend’ package, featuring a manicure and pedicure, blow-dry and shoulder massage.
The offer: Spaces is offering the combo for Dhs200 – Dhs70 off the regular price.
Get involved with the summer’s other world-class sporting championships
This year’s Wimbledon tournament runs from June 21 until July 4, completely clashing with all the football shenanigans. But it hardly matters – tennis is football’s classier cousin (it’s the strawberries and cream to football’s meat pie). Time Café and Bidi Bondi both told us they were ‘probably’ screening the matches, so gather your chums and cheer in the next champion somewhere you can (almost) be certain it won’t rain. Time Café (04 334 4088); Bidi Bondi (04 427 0515).
Tour de France
On from July 3 to July 25, Dubai’s cycling community (with Wolfi’s Bike Shop on Sheikh Zayed Road as its hub) is hosting an annual pre-summer party, and everyone is welcome to watch the race in the store.
(04 339 4453).
PLUS: One-Day International
Cricket: England v Australia: July 3. Screening on Showsports 2.
Scottish Golf Open: July 8-11. Screening on Showsports 3.
Independence day on July 4
Every year, the American Business Council hosts an Independence Day party featuring fireworks and, most importantly, hotdogs. It’s taking place on July 2 this year; see www.abcdubai.com to sign up. If you can’t make it there, we recommend Diggy Dog, a cute little joint in International City. Forget the regular dogs: try the Chilli Mexican hotdog, with pickles, jalapeños and baked beans.
(04 432 7877).
Embrace Dubai Summer Surprises
From June 17 until August 7, you’ll notice a bright yellow plastic figure that looks a bit like a maggot all over town: that’s Modhesh, our ever-smiling (and rather terrifying) friend. He (or she?) is here remind us that Dubai Summer Surprises is on. But what sort of surprises can you expect? Think spa promotions, mall entertainment and hundreds of in-store shopping deals. Keep an eye out for our upcoming DSS supplement for all the info.
Check out local musical events in june
June 11: Chesney Hawkes, the UK pop rocker behind ‘The One and Only’, plays Chi. Warning: you may find several post-match partiers at this cheese fest.
(04 337 9470).
June 14: Local rock band Nikotin hit The Fridge in Al Quoz. They guarantee no football songs.
(04 347 7793).
June 23-25: If you can make it to Abu Dhabi, Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance is at Adnec this month (though without Flatley himself).