Right place at the right time
I was going to be home all day when G suddenly cancelled her (rescheduled) lesson from Sunday and decided that we needed to find somewhere to watch the second semi-final match of the Asian Cup. The UAE has made it this far and are playing fellow GCC country Qatar. An interesting match because in 2017, the UAE cut off all diplomatic ties with Doha and asked all Qataris to leave the country, including those married to Emiratis. Trade has stopped as well, so a 40-minute plane ride to visit Doha has become impossible because anyone needing to travel for business has to go via a third country (usually Oman or Kuwait).
The fact that the Asian Cup has been held here and Qatar qualified meant that the team had to be allowed to play here. I'm not sure if fans were allowed in though, so I felt a bit sorry for them having to play such an important match with little or no support.
First off, I have to record that despite the Government allowing schools to close early so that it was possible to watch the match. Kick-off was at 6pm in Abu Dhabi. Think we were naive to think the match would be shown in the usual hotspots in town. As normal, the live cast is only available through a subscription-only exclusive channel that few sports bars subscribed to.
I called a few places. The only ones to say yes to showing the match were the QE2, so we raced down to their Golden Lion Bar. It has one large(ish) screen showing a special interview with Jose Mourinho. One of the waiters said they were trying to get the channel and they would switch over closer to the start time. It didn't happen. The channel they thought was showing it went over to something else, so we left.
I'd seen a picture on Instagram showing the QE2 with the Queen Mary 2 in the distance, so while we were "in the area", we drove to the berth to get a closer view. Wow, the QM2 is huge. She is also an operational ship so there was lots of activity in the port (tour buses etc). We got a few pictures and decided to run an errand in Dubai Mall.
Arab Health (second largest health exhibition in the world) is on so the most direct road there is to be avoided. We drove into Jumeirah racking our brains about who might possibly show this match. Well, I turned on to a connecting road, past an independent restaurant. They had a couple of TV screens that could be seen from the road and a man standing next to one of them, watching. I spotted the jerseys of the team and voila, we found a place! It was nearly half time by now, and amazingly, Qatar were leading 2-0!
They went on to win 4-0. Amazing! Everyone was, of course, supporting the UAE. I was surprised to find myself quietly supporting Qatar! I guess they were the underdog. They were definitely the better team tonight. They now face Japan in the final on Friday. I nearly asked the restaurant if they would be showing that match, but remembered that I've already got something on.
We did get to Dubai Mall after that to complete our errand. A busy evening after a quiet day! And so much to write too. Grammarly has 21 issues with my writing today. I think it is the most I've ever had, and I can't be bothered to find out what it is objecting to.
PS. We found out later that the Queen Mary 2 is only in Port for one day. She had called in to visit the QE2!