So, I’m on the phone to the PR man for Rolls-Royce in the Middle East, chatting about life generally, when I casually mention that my folks are visiting Dubai from the UK. ”Oh, you should have said!” he says. “Would you like to borrow a Ghost?”
Why yes Ronald, I would. It’s always good to impress the parents when they visit, especially when it’s their first time in a new country. Turning up in a Rolls-Royce tends to reassure them that you’re looking after yourself. And what better way to give them a tour of Dubai? A Ghost sure beats an open-top bus.
Hoping not to induce any kind of heart attack, I keep the surprise a secret until I pick them up from their hotel. We meet in the lobby and wander outside. “Hey, look at that Rolls,” I say to Dad, pointing out the sleek maroon machine parked in prime position at the entrance. “Very nice,” he approves. I walk over, open the rear door and hold it open for them. Both are speechless. Result.
“You’re kidding me,” repeats Mum as she straps herself into the back seat. “Look at these carpets!” she gawps, sinking her feet into the thick shag rugs lining the rear footwells. Dad’s just grinning and shaking his head repeatedly.
We get on the move. The plan is to give them a brief tour of the city, in style. We’re cruising down Sheikh Zayed Road in near silence, both from the incredible sound insulation of the car, and from the dumbstruck parents. Luckily I can pop my iPod on through the sound system to fill the quiet.