I pressed the button in the elevator for the 21st floor of the hotel. There were two other Emirati men (let’s call them Ahmed and Abdo) in the elevator with me, talking in their usual loud, expressive, who-gives-a-crap-if-someone-else-is-in-the-elevator voice.
As we went up, the elevator stopped on the third floor and in walked a stunning Philippino woman – she was dressed in a shirt and tight fitting leggings that showed off quite an attractive back-side.
I was surprised though – almost all Philippino women in Dubai were either housekeepers or working for the hotel, yet she was dressed like neither of those.
As the elevator doors closed, I looked at the Arab men and they had mischievous expressions on their faces. Oh boy, I thought.
Ahmed: Ya khrabbaytak! Unthur lahaa teezak! (On my house! Look at her ass!)
Abdo: Ha wallah, urid laha litanzif almirhad alkhass bi. (Yeah I swear, I want to her to come clean my toilet)
My face quickly turned red with anger. These two fools were guffawing and staring like a couple of perverts while she was facing the elevator door, and they continued to insult her, the jokes becoming more and more indecent as the floors climbed higher.
Then the elevator dinged, the door opened, and a tall Arab man in a suit walked in. He saw the Philippino woman and looked surprised.
Tall Arab man: Hello Madame. How are you?
The Philippino woman smiled softly at him.
Woman: I’m doing fine Yasir. How’s my hotel?
The anger flushed out of my face as my jaw dropped to the floor. I turned to the two Emirati men – their eyes were as wide as beach balls and their mouths were suddenly clammed shut.
Tall Arab man: It’s doing very well Madame. The guests are enjoying themselves and all the rooms are booked.
The two Emirati men stood there with looks of incredulity plastered on their faces.
The elevator stopped and the doors opened. The Philippino woman walked out – but then turned back to the Tall Arab man.
Woman: Oh, and Yasir? Can you send someone up to these gentlemen’s room, it seems as though their toilet might need some cleaning.
The two Emiratis’ faces morphed into horror and all the life seemed to drain out of their eyes.
Then the woman turned to them and said in impeccable Arabic:
Istamta’at Eqamatik. (Enjoy your stay).
And she walked out.
Emirati men are very rarely at a loss for words.
I will remember those next 30 seconds of silence for the rest of my life.