Little did I know his work visa had expired and he and his chile, who also worked in the same hotel at the front desk, were in the country illegally. In Dubai, this is a very serious crime and if caught, they could both be thrown in jail.
Because of this little quagmire, we traveled mostly at night under the cover of darkness. Additionally, to prevent the authorities from stopping us and asking questions about his status in the country, (and I say this with head bowed in shame whilst tracing an imaginary circle with my big toe), Stevo made us wear buibuis covering us from head to toe whenever we stepped outside. Apparently women in buibuis are revered and do not get harassed. As I draped my buibui over my head and shoulders, I grumbled under my breath but couldnt help but marvel at how ingenious and adroit he was to be taking advantage of a loophole in the law like this. Only Kenyans!
So here we were; two jamaas walking around downtown Dubai taking pictures of the Burj Dubai, Dubai Marina, The Palm etc and shopping at the Ibn Battuta mall in 50 degree heat (it was hot at night too) in our buibuis. For added measure, Stevo's girlfriend had taken the liberty to manicure and pedicure our hands and feet with the expectation of being rewarded with spicy lamb shishkebabs from Ali's Halal around the corner.
Unfortunately I wasn't as comfortable as he was draped in this material and every now and then would stop to either scratch my ankle or relieve myself of a wedgie. Something about this did not seem right to a security guard at the mall who blew his whistle and pointed at us yelling in Arabic, "Shagala bagala haaak ptuuu!" ... ahem... or something like that.
That was Stevo's cue and he did not need to hear a second "Shagala Bagala". He grabbed the lower buibui in one hand and in the other he clutched his shopping bag, yelled to me in a soprano-like shriek "Egry besoraa!" (run! run!), and took off into the darkness in the direction of a distant grove of palm trees. I did not know why he was still insisting on speaking in a feminine tone as clearly the gig was up but I did exactly as told and hauled ass after him.
I could hardly make out his fleeing figure in the pitch darkness so I followed the sounds of the dirhams jingling in his pocket and the little dust clouds his feet kicked up as he tore through the Arabian sands. At this point I was beginning to wonder just what the heck was I doing here swathed in a Muslim woman's regalia and running for dear life towards the desert? Stevo had by now dove into a thicket in the palm grove and I dashed into the same thicket sweating mightily, only to be cursed out "Inta fahamt! Moush kedah! Get lost you will make us get caught! Go get your own tree to hide! Walahi!" I obediently hastened off to the next clump of trees.
The security guards were hot on our trail and were now joined by a platoon of police officers. This was bad. I lay down on the ground prostrate and as still as possible as the sounds of our pursuers came closer and closer. Moments later I heard a commotion in the trees where Stevo was in hiding accompanied by very animated yelling from the police and the guards. Oh no! Stevo was caught! No longer was he speaking in broken soprano-ish Arabic. The real ndurus were now emerging; you know the "wuuuuui's" and the "wooooiiiii sio mimi's". This was followed by the crack of a whip and a yelp. I don't know about you but in moments like this, I suddenly and inexplicably remember there is a Maker up above that loves me and wants to see me grow old and bounce my grandchildren on my lap. I commenced to say a prayer in my head. I prayed they would lead Stevo off in one piece and I could find my way back to the apartment where I would tell his girlfriend what had happened and together we would go look for him at the Dubai Central jail and ...
... my supplication was interrupted as they led a handcuffed Stevo right by where I lay in hiding. They were celebrating their capture and thankfully they seemed to have forgotten there had been two buibui clad men. Through my slightly opened eye, I saw that they were no more than a few footsteps away! My pulse was racing at 100mph but hardly a breath of air escaped my oesophagus. Just as they passed by, Stevo stopped, turned towards me and said "Dammit! They got us B.K. men ... you can come out now..."