We all have things we enjoy. Things that we look forward to and plan our week around. Me, I watch Formula 1. Ever since I was a young boy I have followed the sport and since the 1998 Monaco Grand Prix have never missed a race. I would move the heavens so to be able to enjoy a Grand Prix. Yeah sure a lot of the time I don’t like the result but that’s part and parcel of watching sports. Your favourite athlete or team can’t win it all. But watching the sport is only half the experience, your surroundings and how you watch it helps define why you enjoy it.
Since I can’t speak Arabic I don’t like watching the race at home on Abu Dhabi Sports 2 because the “commentary” is in Arabic. I don’t have Abu Dhabi Sports 6 so if I want to listen to Ben Edwards and David Coulthard I have to go to the pub. It suits me fine, live sport and beer: perfect. Usually most races kick off at 4pm, but today was the Korean Grand Prix and it started at 10am UAE time. This caused me a problem; the pubs don’t open until midday. There is only one place in all of Al Ain that will show the F1 with English commentary before midday, and that is a poolside bar at a hotel.
I like a drink – who doesn’t? – But 10am is a bit too early to be getting on it, so for me it was a coffee and a sandwich. I was on a stool with my Americano with only one barman for company. It was heaven; peace, quiet, coffee and David Coulthard cracking wise. The lights went out and Sebastian Vettel took the lead. Moments later and Jenson Button was savagely wiped out and my interest in the race was slashed.
After about 5 laps into the race a few men joined me in the bar. All three men were not speaking in English and obviously had no interest in the Grand Prix at all. Of course, they had no consideration for me either. They weren’t so much talking to each other but shouting over the top of each other. It was horrific. How can you, a grown man, be incapable of holding a dignified conversation at a mellow level?
To add to this shouting match was a selection of musical numbers. I don’t really get Arabic music, it all sounds the same to me, but I can only assume the men were having a ring tone battle. All three of them, whilst shouting at each other, continued to play with their fancy iPhones playing music very loudly. We were 12 laps in to the race with 43 to go and Sebastian Vettel was dominating; my left eye was starting to twitch.
There was a lot of action happening on track and we entered the first Pit Stop phase when one of the bearded men behind me started screaming in what sounded like agony. I turned to him thinking that his leg had just been bitten off by a lion but no, his beer glass was empty and he was trying to get the attention of the barman. The way the hotel employee was addressed was vulgar. Had that been me I would have been inclined to smash the glass over his head as opposed to filling it up with Amstel Light.
No matter how hard I tried I simply could not hear David Coulthard over the top of the shouting match that was going on behind me. I stood up and went over to the TV and turned the volume up to the max, so much so that I think I broke the speakers. Did this solve the problem of the loud-mouths behind me? Like sin it did, they just started shouting even louder and playing their music louder still.
At 30 laps with 25 to go things briefly quietened down, the trio of men were now on their 4th beers, hell it was only 11am. Sitting there I distinctly smelled smoke, turning around to investigate, sure enough one lad had the Marlboro reds out and another had his pipe. The pool bar is a non-smoking room with signs confirming such a thing displayed everywhere. Obviously such rules are only meant for some people and the staff didn’t intervene. Even if they did I doubt very much they would have succeeded.
So we’re half way through the race, it’s the worst result possible for me, I cant hear the TV despite it being on full whack, the men behind me are blowing smoke onto me and I cant have a beer.
I was now at the stage where I was contemplating action. I imagined frisbeeing a plate at them. I thought about poking them in the legs with a fork. I contemplated calling the Police at one stage. I wanted to cry. They were ruining the Grand Prix for me, it only happens 20 times a year for 2 hours at a time. Why oh why did Larry, Curly and Moe insist on making my life miserable? Don’t they know who I am? Don’t they have jobs to go to? I expect this kind of behaviour from young lads on holiday in Ibiza, but grown men who drive Mercedes AMG’s?
The race came to a conclusion, the result was not to my liking and the experience of watching it was horrific. Will I go back there and go through it again? Yes…
…Because I’m stupid and won’t buy AD Sports 6.