How to waste a day (or two)
He said there was a Philippino at ibn Batutta Mall with a business proposition, and we'd go and hear what it was. If it wasn't any good, we'd leave quickly. All of which sounded far more reasonable than I'm accustomed to hear from Farook. Which should have been Warning Sign #1.
Farook picked me up a little after noon and drove me to ibn Batutta Mall. We parked at Tunisia.
I should explain: ibn Batutta was a Moroccan who decided to make the Hajj in the 14th (Christian) century. Having traveled to Holy Mecca, he continued on to Syria, Iraq, Iran, India, China, then back to Morocco, then to Spain (then called Andalus) to keep it under Muslim control (he wasn't terribly successful there). So ibn Batutta Mall starts in Tunisia (as a surrogate for Morocco), then continues through Egypt, Persia, and India to China. The Philippino was in China, and said he'd wait for us.
Normally, when a young man with something to sell is meeting two elderly men, he'd say, 'I'll come to meet you,' but he didn't, and I was glad because I wanted the exercise (ibn Batutta Mall is one of the best places to walk in Dubai, being comfortable all year around). So we walked from Tunisia to China, where Farook got into a conversation with the young Philippino, a conversation that I could have barged into, but was not really invited.
'I am very hungry. We must eat,' said Farook. I left them talking and went to find out that the buffets in China had doubled in price, so I went back and suggested we go back to Tunisia, where prices for food are cheaper. So we walked back to Tunisia, and Farook bought three plates, one for each of us. He never asked what we wanted, he just picked out what he wanted and ordered three.
Then Farook explained: 'This Philippino have lady. She give you good massage. You want?'
'No,' I said.
'We must see her first,' Farook said to both me and the Philippino. 'Where is she? Why she not with you?'
The Philippino explained that she was in Sharjah.
So Farook got me back in his SUV, along with the Philippino, and we all started from ibn Bututta Mall toward Sharjah.