Weblog: What do you mean the Wi-Fi doesn't work? The life of a Racing Post reporter
Home from home in Dubai
Bad news, I'm afraid. I am not at Doncaster this week.
No chance to enjoy the traditional start to the turf Flat season in person.
To pontificate on the draw in the Lincoln.
To get soaked to the skin as I hang on a trainer's every word during a downpour - as happened 12 months ago.
Fat chance of that this weekend - I didn't even pack a raincoat - as I am in Dubai.
Two flights, only one of which was delayed, from Leeds Bradford via Amsterdam to arrive at he venue for the world's richest race.
Not that everything is different this far away from home.
Not when you turn on the radio and hear the 'Mr Benn' theme tune blaring out - it was an advert for 'Mr Benn's Costume Closet' which is apparently the place for all your fancy dress needs.
Not when you walk into the press room and the first people you see are Rupert Bell, Julian Muscat and the ubiquitous Martin Kelly.
Not when you walk under the stands and the first person you bump into isJohn Quinn, who fancies his runners here and in the Lincoln on Saturday. Though he has ended up out here - I suppose someone had to get the short straw.
Not when you share a lift with two of the large Japanese contingent. They werechatting in their native tongue but when it turned out that one had pressed the wrong button for the ground floor he immediately said 'sorry' - English is clearly the internationally-recognised language for embarrassed apology.
Then again, I'd probably not have needed quite as much sun tan lotion had I been at Southwell this afternoon.
Nor would the quotes have been as good.
There's not many owners at Southwell like the Las Vegan BernieSchiappa, who will be 'too nervous' to back Game On Dude this weekend but says: "I am not interested in having $2,000 or $10,000 on - if he wins I am going to make plenty of money."
Whose response when asked about ChantalSutherland riding the horse is: "He likes women."
Not many trainers like Hong Kong-based Tony Millard, whose terse - but highly meaningful - reaction to a question about the bookmakers making his Ambitious Dragon favourite for the Dubai Duty Free was: "We haven't come over here for a holiday."
Not many jockeys like Aussie Kerrin McEvoy, who had a lot of success in Britain in the mid-2000s and said he'd love to come back over 'for a few rides at Royal Ascot. Or for the Shergar Cup. I've not been invited before'.
Hint, hint. Wonder if Ascot PR man Nick Smith is here yet?