Welcome to the desert. Right now I’m sat in a hotel room in the stickiest and dustiest place I’ve travelled – Sharjah. It takes 20 minutes in the car to drive to Dubai from here, but the places are worlds apart. To give you an idea, last time I was here, some children interrupted a meeting I was in, because they wanted a photo with a white man. So like I said, worlds apart.
One of the struggles I find when I’m away on work trips like this is getting some decent food in. I always make sure I book a hotel with a gym, so that’s rarely an issue, but finding food which isn’t going to either clog my arteries on the spot, or clog up something that you’re trying to flush, is a challenge. Although it’s probably worth mentioning that I’ve stayed in hotels before that boasted a “health suite”, only to find said suite is a treadmill with no grip and a bike with a saddle that doesn’t adjust.
There’s bits that I do to help myself along the way, like bringing some protein bars and powder with me, but that can only get you so far. So, that leads on to the killer question – “What do I actually eat?”
Travel Day & Day 1
An overnight flight meant food during the day wasn’t an issue. A few decent meals at home, followed by this chicken, avocado and chipotle ketchup salad from Pret a Manger…
A gluten free meal on the flight of salmon, veg and a bit of rice went down a storm, as did 22 Jump Street. No food picture here, just a standard travelling one.
After a few hours kip on the plane, I arrive at the hotel at 8am desperate for more sleep. A slow check-in cancelled out by an upgrade to a deluxe suite. Deluxe is pushing it.
Wake up at 3pm local time, feeling confused, dehydrated and generally unsexy. A quick shower and a trip to Gulfmart to stock up on some basics, and a fight with the urge to buy one of the many breathtaking peanut butters on offer.
8pm – emails done, along with some failed attempts to Skype with Vikki, it was time to eat my first meal of the day. A salad to start, followed by fish, curried veg, rice, steamed veg, and some dodgy beef.
Up at 8am and straight down for breakfast. A cheesy, chilli omelette made to order, and something that claimed to be chicken sausages. I’m still not sure what meat they were. Washed down with an awful decaf coffee but then a delicious lemon and mint juice.
This is where is starts to get tough – out and about at an exhibition. A few hours of meetings with far too many milky and sugary coffees – that’s what you get if someone offers you coffee over here – and no food. I head over the road to a supermarket only to leave with nothing but a small block of cheese, and some sliced turkey. Fail.
5pm rolls around, so it’s a quick gym session and a protein shake. Before a substantial dinner – Iranian chicken, plenty of veg, some lime pickle, and a delicious pumpkin curry. Note, I may have gone back for more chicken.
Dessert time. What should I have?
This. This is what I had.
My first few days done. Just 4 more to go! Hopefully this dispels the myth that international travel with work is all champagne and luxury. Sliced turkey is more like it.
Heading into Dubai for meetings tomorrow, so come back for day 3!