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15 August, 2003

Going Cloobing

Perhaps the clientele of the Jebel Ali Recreation Cloob can best be summed up by a mention of the prominent sign in the female changing room: "DO NOT SPIT ON THE FLOOR" - in large bold capitals, among various other commandments in smaller type.

From the fat, smoking Geordie teenagers to their tattooed, hairy and raucus parents, the chilled pool in its setting of fresh green astroturf is an oasis of paleface vulgarity and non-class.

Fortunately - though not surprisingly, given their un-physical appearances - the majority of these horrors leave the gym free for a more bearable crowd of Lebanese musclemen, Internet and Media City people, and even the odd statuesque Emirati. It is a place of sweat, reasonable courtesy, and the ever-ghastly local radio.

By far the nicest people at the whole Cloob are the friendly subcontinental gentlemen serving food and drinks from the bar. A sad irony that these men - probably of eminently respectable castes in their home countries - are forced to wait hand and foot on the lowest scum of Blighty for a pittance that the average fat northern oil worker wouldn't spit on.

Unless he or she were in the changing room, of course.



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