This morning in the airport lounge, I went to do wudu for Fajr. As I walked into the bathroom and began my religious splishy-splash, I noticed a Pakistani woman come in behind me. She was dressed in a fancy green shalwar-qameez and she had a little girl, maybe one and a half years old, trailing behind her. I noticed, in the huge full-length, wall-long mirror, that instead of going to the bathroom, the woman began looking around the bathroom sneakily. You can always tell when someone’s trying to be sneaky. The effort it takes in trying to seem nonchalant is always a dead give away. She was definitely trying to be sneaky. First, she set her bag down on the counter, but when she turned and saw that she would be visible from the lounge when the bathroom door opened, she picked her bag up and carried it into the corner of the bathroom, directly behind me. She set her bag on the floor and began to rummage around in it with her back to me. Then she suddenly turned towards me with a cigarette dangling from her mouth. She lit it and sucked down on it like it was the very breath of life.
Walking down the aisle of the plane mid-flight, I heard a man’s cell-phone go off. He had no plans on answering it, apparently, so it rang a few times and attracted the attention of the petite stewardess walking in front of me with a pot of coffee. I swear, she went razor-back. If you have a dog, then you know what I’m talking about. If you don’t, then a dog going razor-back is the snarling, teeth-baring, fur-standing-up precursor to attack. The stewardess, she went razor back, and reversed up the aisle to where the man was watching the phone ring. She said, ‘Excuse me sir, cell phone should be off.’ The man picked up his phone and, looking superciliously through the stewardess but not at her, dropped it into his pocket without turning it off. The stewardess repeated (as she bared her fangs) “Sir, your phone.” The man looked at her as if seeing her for the first time and took the phone out of his pocket. “My phone?” he asked innocently. She snatched it from his hand, turned it off, and gave it back. That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for the rest of us who can’t believe it when people refuse to turn their phones off and seem to harbor secret plans of wanting the plane’s equipment to go loopy and make us land nose-first in the ocean. Ha!
Afghanistan is wrinkly. Seen from above, it is a reasonable facsimile of chocolate frosting that’s recently been whipped. It has folds and crisp, sharp edges from where the beaters were taken out and left stiff ridges. It looks distinctly… tasty. Now you know why they’re fighting so hard for it. I’d battle for Chocolate Frosting Land too.
Abu Dhabi is a big golf course; a very green and lovely one with more palm trees on the sides of the roads alone than Pakistan has within its national borders. One of these days, I’m going to roll my sleeves up and try to climb one. When no one’s looking at me. As I scale greenery on the side of the road. (You! Stop looking!)
The Kitchen is its own country. The apartment of our lovely and amazing hosts has a kitchen that’s bigger than my bedroom. I’m not joking. It’s huge. I’ve never seen so much counter space and so many cabinets at one time! Living in Pakistan, where kitchens are the size of walk-in closets, my sense of kitchen space has been warped. Back home I’m used to being able to work the stove, the microwave, the blender, and the kitchen sink without moving from my central position.
At the Moment: It’s time for lunch, I heard the ding! of the microwave and I can smell parathas frying. Pity me for messing my stomach up the day before coming, my lunch will consist mainly of yogurt and fruit, but you know what, I put a serious dent in the fig population that used to inhabit the coffee table. Best. Figs. Ever. Excuse me, I think I may have missed a few.