Today is our third day in the UAE and to be honest, I’ve spent most of it sleeping. I just woke up from my second nap today (the first was an hour, this one was three) and I have to say, man, I needed that. As far as desert countries are concerned, this one is a bit cold right now, and after coming over on a cold Gulf Airways flight and then stepping into the cool weather, I’ve lost my voice and I’m developing a cough. 🙁 I’m also battling chronic sleep deprivation. I was up all night before we came, I slept three or four hours the first night, and three or four hours last night. I’ve been keeping up my will to vacation with frequent and powerful naps, without which, I found I kept mislocating the elevator. I would be standing in front of the elevator then everything would start spinning and the elevator would be listing steadily to the left. The fridge was eluding me too, veering off the right when I approached it. I need all my concentration in order to successfully use such badly behaved appliances, hence- the naps.
It’s 4:50 pm and I woke up about ten minutes ago. The view from outside of our window is of a nice market area with shops of rugs on floors with hookahs spread between the patrons, strange boutiques, and the occasional upscale perfume shop. (The sandal wood and itar and some lovely thing called ‘Oud’ had snuck out of the door to tease us before we even got to the shop.) Also, we found a Baskin Robbins. That was a good and lovely thing, especially since the guy working there spoke Urdu. In spite of living abroad, I’ve never actually traveled to a country where I couldn’t speak to the shopkeepers, and after trying out my broken, nay, positively defunct Arabic out on other people, I was ready to hug the nice Indian man with the ice-cream scoop when he said he spoke my language. Hallelujah. We ordered a triple sundae and three spoons.
We ate ice-cream until we found it difficult to walk back home. We spent 20 dirham. I don’t yet have an andaaza (a proper idea?) about what the value of a dirham is. I know it’s 16 rupees, but things are priced differently here. A small bottle of water was one dirham, and that’s cool, but the ice-cream sundae was 20 dirham, and that either means that water is very cheap or ice-cream is very expensive. I’m not sure yet.
In the boutiques we wandered through, the average price for a dress was about 600 dirham. Walking through Marina Mall, we saw a phone that was priced at 5000 dirham. I’m all confused about the money here. Like Pakistan, different denominations are not only different colors, but they’re different sizes, and a handful of change involves a red, blue, green, and purply bits of paper in all different sizes that make me think of playing Monopoly. With Bedouins.
The people walking the streets seem like a very wide mixture of humankind, there are of course, the Arab men in their gleaming white thobes (Thobe: the shirt that never ends!) and the Arab women in their gorgeous black abayahs and then there are Phillipinos who work in the shops, and they’re dressed like Americans. And the waitresses at the Steak House last night were in vests and short skirts, which was very weird initially. And the man who stamped our passports at customs was a deep and lovely black, and instead of the African accent I was expecting, his mouth issued forth rapid-fire Arabic. It was almost as weird as seeing that Chinese guy who sings ghazal in Urdu. Yes, he’s real. Does anyone else know who I’m talking about here?
Well, everyone else here is dead asleep, since naps seem to be catching, so I’m going to sneak over to the refrigerator and see if I can find the leftovers from dinner last night at the Rainbow Steakhouse. We’ll have some pictures soon, InshaAllah, right after I wake up and go take some, haha.
Peace & Shawarma Grease,