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27 October, 2004

Everybody needs good neighbours

Gathering swallows twitter in the sky and a flock of brown and black dishdash hurry past as we arrive at the Chalet restaurant: a clear sign that winter is nigh. Jumeirah media couple Kiki and Maurice have already reserved the best table, with a perfect, panoramic view of Beach Road.

There can be no better way to dine al fresco in the whole of Dubai than at the Chalet, with its elegant plastic chairs and tables, patchy lawn, stray mendicant felines, and prime location on a busy highway. Kiki however is very upset. Her villa compound - kept by the landlord as a strictly paleface-only zone - has been invaded by an extremely noisy and numerous family of Armenians.

"I'm certain they told him they were Greek," she laments. "He's very stupid - he wouldn't have known the difference."

We debate the merits of encouraging the landlord to adopt a strictly western European policy - no Meditterraneans, just in case. Maurice points out that the worst tenants in the block are in fact a Dutch family, followed by a British couple. We decide that the safest neighbours are probably Japanese: reserved, exquisitely polite, and used to living in overcrowded areas. Kiki makes notes for her next majlis with the hapless landlord.



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