While wandering around the Royal Mirage after a great dinner at Eau Zone (thanks Christine!!!) we ran into a very interesting UAE national named Hamed who naturally was carrying a falcon (pretty standard for Dubai). Turns out he raises falcons and salukis (the traditional Arabic breed of dog that are used for hunting) which of course got Christine's attention, and a few minutes of animal chat later we had been invited to join him at his private table in the courtyard. I've heard stories before about Arabic hospitality but this went beyond all expectations - as soon as we sat down he snapped his fingers and four waitstaff descended on us offering us shisha, Arabian tea, lilac nectar, and fresh figs - all from Hamed's personal stash. Since Muslims aren't supposed to drink alcohol (though try telling that to the younger guys that pack the nightclubs) they substitute it for smoke, caffeine, and sugar. Everything we had was tasty, but dear god I've never had a sugar high like that before. He told us many stories about his travels around the world, the history of this area, his two wives, etc, etc. After giving us a tour of his private sitting room on the hotel (by that point we were getting the sense that he's some kind of big shot here) he invited to visit his saluki kennel in Abu Dhabi.