Sunday, February 5, 2012

GUEST POST IN ENGLISH (THANKS EMILY!)

Em, apologies for the delay but I had no Internet connection at home. I realised I NEVER paid my Nawras bills since I have WiFi and the evil people there disconnected me during a public holiday :( Better late than never...

As the only words (and phrases) of Italian I know are either not repeatable or downright offensive, I'll have to write this in English. Though I must add up-front that my 'choice' Italian phrases are the teachings of my friends and not sourced from some random google site.

OK, I'm digressing already....

This is a truly remarkable (or perhaps unremarkable for Oman) tale of a cake. Not just any cake I hasten to add, but a really quite 'ab-fab' cake, the likes of which I've never seen before. From a rather ordinary bakery in Bareeq al Shatti (we can't say which as Ale ate the evidence), this is really beyond the normal Oman-bling.


Celebrations were being held for H's birthday at Sama Terrace. Originally planned as a surprise but later, due to the crazy schedules of lawyers, had to be planned. One cannot have one's friend turning up to their own birthday celebration in jogging bottoms and a t-shirt on the basis that they thought they would be at home with a friend making lasagne for the evening.

Anyway, I meet A. in XX bakery, take a sneak-peak at said (amazing) cake and listen to the ridiculous story of the rules and rituals involved in bringing "a cake from outside" to a birthday celebration at Park Inn. This is apparently an unusual request and not one they normally like to entertain because they succeeded in making it as difficult as possible. Please bear in mind we're talking about a birthday cake here, not a gram or two of plutonium. So, what we had to do was arrange to meet a man called Elvis (on hearing this I have horrible [unprintable] images of who or what this person might look like) and sign a disclaimer form (I'm still not quite sure for what exactly) and leave the cake in a fridge a million miles away from the bar, to be procured later in the evening.

After a precarious trip involving balancing the prized cake at every twist, turn, lane-change and speed-bump, we arrived with an undamaged cake and ventured to reception, where we were supposed to meet Elvis. A confused man at reception hears our story and looks at us blankly when we mention the name. It appears that he doesn't know anybody in the hotel called Elvis and looks equally blank at the mention of a disclaimer form. We exchange grimaces whilst the man buggers off to serve another customer (I do love that about Oman). All this has taken a whopping 10 minutes - and I need a drink! Meanwhile, another person appears (still not Elvis).

At least this person seems to have a semblance of a clue and whilst he also doesn't seem to know the increasingly mysterious Elvis, he does appear to know about the disclaimer form and hurriedly prints out about 20 copies of them.. not sure why, since we only need one.. Another 5 minutes. He starts asking us what our plan is, so we re-tell the story. Damn.. where's my glass of vino rosso?? He tells us the cake will be stored downstairs and that we'll need to come and collect it when we want it. What?! OK then, we'll just take it up to the terrace and have it on the sofa next to us. No, apparently that's a bad plan, somebody might sit on it or it might melt (or some other cake-catastrophe).

Finally, we get the disclaimer form only to find it's the wrong form - something to do with a credit card authorisation. I'd have given up and signed anything by this point, but A. is a lawyer and somewhat more astute. The form is abandoned. Another 5 minutes. Finally, as if by magic, Elvis appears. I wish I'd had a camera. There was no white suit, but the hair was an 'attempt' at a quiff and the combination of dark suit, bright red shirt and white-ish patterned tie was really something else. Perhaps he'd have looked good in miniature as an Elvis-gnome in our friend's new 'garden' in Muscat Hills.

Mr Elvis escorts us upstairs and appears to be somebody with a clue. The phrase "don't worry, we'll sort everything out for you" and "we'll look after you" were uttered far too many times to be credible (I won't divert into the subsequent lack of attention and the stupidity of appearing with the plates before the "surprise" cake). And a polite reminder that "we don't normally allow cakes from outside". Clearly this man needs an education in the difference between a hotel sponge and a pink CC piece of art... not to mention a life!

By the way, 25 minutes later I finally had my red wine. :-)

7 comments:

Ros said...

jogging bottoms and a t-shirt? I don't think H would ever wear that, even for a cooking session. And... cooking? Really?!?

Dr. S said...

Ros - you are probably right... but metaphorically speaking of course! ;-)

AZ said...

I witnessed both (outfit and cooking activities) and have pics to prove it!

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