This week, it’s the lovely Abu Dhabi for a few days at a conference that’s now in its seventh year: MEFTEC.
MEFTEC gets a large turnout from the SAMEA region – Southern Asia, Middle East and Africa – and always gives me a different flavour of the world from a strong focus on microfinance in the emerging nations to the extremes of high net worth wealth management in the Gulf Region.
On the latter note, I had a little time to wander around yesterday and took a trip into the Emirates Palace Hotel.
It’s another monumentally rich hotel, like the Burj al Arab in sister state Dubai, and one of the rarer hotels to get a title of a 7-star hotel.
The place does have a very airy and rich feel to it.
For example, the hotel houses the Barakat Gallery, a US and UK store that deals in Ancient Art.
The Abu Dhabi Emirates Palace Shop is their third store and it houses all sorts of ancient world pots, statuettes, jewellery and stuff.
I popped in as they had a nice old coin priced at around AER3,000 (about £500/$750) …
… and thought it was worth a look.
Then the assistant told me the numbers weren’t in UAE dirhams but Pounds Sterling, so the coin was actually £3,000 ($4,500).
A bit steep for my wallet but, so as not to be too English touristic cheap, I asked if she had anything more expensive.
“Oh yes”, she pipes up, and proceeded to produce five gold Roman coins on a nice cloth carpet.
“This one is £8,000 and the most expensive is £32,000”.
“Thanks, I’ll take the lot”, I think not.
So then it’s off wandering around the hotel a bit more to explore.
And yo, what do you find amongst all this opulence but only one of them gold dispensing thingamajigs.
I’d heard of such ATMs but to see one is just a bit surreal.
The idea is that you put cash in and get gold out.
I plumped for the cheapest gold nugget priced at £100 and inserted my MasterCard.
Oh no, it didn’t work.
I guess that’s because you need to go to the other ATM to get cash to come back and get your gold.
An ATM for an ATM, how neat …
Ah well, think I’ll leave my moment of feeling like a 7-star client experience there and get back to running a conference.
Just wondering whether to leave gold nuggets or gold Roman coins as a tip?