I’m afraid the title is somewhat misleading. But you may as well read on now you’re here.

This Friday was meant to be a rampant romp, for I and the fundamentalist Bin Mugahid (only because he believes in Islam 1.0 and not the 3GS distorted version) were meant to find and explore the haunted, abandoned, derelict Al Qassemi palace in Ras Al Khaimah; a place so supposedly infested with jinn (read spirits) that the cracked windows and broken mirrors required a handy dose of holy water and Quranic verses from the caretaker just to keep it somewhat safe for human trespass.

O yes, there were travails. But most of them involved getting there and finding the place. Once we actually arrived, we realized the building was immaculately maintained, impeccably lit, at least on the ground floor, and well guarded. We had a conversation with the guards and caretakers, and they assured us the place is neither abandoned nor for sale (a dated National article had suggested the owners were desperate to get rid of it).

We did not meander in for an all night vigil, for there was clearly no need. Signs of habitation and creature comforts clearly suggested the jinn were on vacation. Or had finally discovered the joys of air-conditioning and television. It does get hot in the summer.

But some respite was at hand. Bin Mugahid (@binmugahid) and I discovered the perfect gentlemen’s café in Ras al Khaimah, replete with comfortable armchairs, superb sheesha and a decent food menu. We sat, smoked, and chatted about all things existential before trawling back to Dubai. All the while, tweeple (twitter people) were either hoping our souls had been snatched from us and sold in the ethereal black market, or were saying prayers to prevent us being rent limb from limb.

I had wanted to see and experience jinnat in the hopes they would be ethereally fun in all manners and ways. Not having had that experience, I settled for the next best thing, as one inevitably does. 2 am saw me crawl hopefully in the direction of the local in search for salubrious nourishment.

One of the key advantages of meandering out late is one gets to see the sodden crowd regurgitate from various watering holes. And of course, the 3 am panic has set in, which has all manners of male reaching out to all manners of female in a last ditch try at inebriated fumblings. The pick up lines are consistently brilliant in their optimism.

A young gentleman, looking all of eighteen, white as the driven snow with a spiky shock of pale hair, was trying to hold the attention of an Asian (possibly Philipina) lady.

“So what do you do?” asks she. The inevitable Dubai question.

He handles it with elan – too much of it, in fact. “I work with the Dubai Land Department. I’m in charge of buying and selling land and stuff in Dubai.” Yup, that’ll get you laid. Full marks for ambition here. Utter cynic that I am, the thought of a little glassy eyed young man in a Stars and Stripes tee handling land sales for Dubai was a bit much.

I was so enthused with this conversation that I almost missed another about ten feet away. Vicarious eavesdropping becomes so much easier when the fermented froth has robbed all and sundry of volume control.

White female: “So where are you from?” Another brilliantly Dubai question.

Brown boy: “My name is Ahmed. And I am from…er…Bahrain.” Except Ahmed was speaking Urdu, not Arabic. The thrust of this argument was that Ahmed and coevals from “Bahrain” wanted a Dubai resident (preferably female and white) to show them around the joys of Dubai  post 3 am. Of course.

And finally, at the very mouth of the Lodge area, while I was traipsing away from the madness. A thick Arabic accent “Hi, we are Abdullah and …[didn’t hear other gentleman’s name]. We’re on the way to a party at…[some vague destination]. It’s very happening. But we need to be couples to get in. So you should come with…”

A post-3 a.m. exclusive after party, only for couples. If I were only cool enough to get these memos. Instead, I only get asked out to coffee by people who want to toss around ideas on ‘civil society’ and ‘arts and culture’ and other similarly hoary topics. I’ve missed the boat completely. No jinns. No Land Department job where I play monopoly with real estate. No exclusive after parties. All terribly sad.