Friday, September 14, 2012
News From The Oblivious American
Kind of disconcerting to log onto CNN news and see all the protests and violence being carried out in various locales in the Middle East and not be a little apprehensive. I mean, I feel safe. I drove all around Al Ain today, shopped, walked all over the hotel and no one acted or behaved any differently towards me, but I do have to admit that being an American here makes me feel a bit like Hester Prynne with a great big "A" emblazoned across my chest. "A" for American, not adultery (had to make that clear!). I am going to start telling everyone that I am Canadian. Canadians have a shit load of fresh water in their country (the next great resource in the world after all the oil runs out) and they don't piss anyone off by invading other countries or getting heavily involved in foreign policy. No one remembers that they even exist. They just sit up there in the north quietly minding their own business while the rest of the world uses up all the oil and water gets scarcer and scarcer. They are the next world super power, mark my words. Fresh water will rule in about thirty years. That is why I am trying my damnedest to befriend as many Canadians as possible while I am here. I drink A LOT of water. But I digress...
If I didn't make it a point to read the news daily I would have no idea of the existence of the protests. But, to be fair to my little ignorant self, people here could be talking about anything within earshot of me and I would just happily skip along, oblivious in my own little world. I only understand a few Arabic words. I mean, I even have a difficult time adjusting my ear to the accents of the wonderfully charming Irish teachers here, so a totally different language is just going to confound me even further. Someone could be standing right behind me in line at the Carrefour talking about the little blonde American woman who looks a little clueless, and how wouldn't it be cool to kidnap her and hold her hostage for a Twinkie ransom (they do not have Twinkies here.. I looked) , and I would just smile at them and offer to let them cut in front of me because they only have three items to my ten.
I just read on CNN where a Kentucky Fried Chicken was torched today in Lebanon. I don't think it had anything do with protests.. It is bad, yucky, disgusting tasting chicken. KFC here sucks.. It was probably set on fire because The Colonel didn't reveal the secret recipe when the owner bought into the franchise and everyone is pissed off that they can't get the REAL stuff.
KFC in Abu Dhabi. I ate here. Never again.
Did I mention that it is HOT AS HELL here? And I mean that in every sense of the word. It is no longer just a concept to me. I actually know what "hotter than hell" feels like now. It's hot, take my word for it. It was 108 today.. in the shade. Driving home from work yesterday, squinting across the endless red sand dunes while the sun blazed a hot searing white heat, my eyes started watering and the landscape started taking on a dull haze. I had sunglasses on, but I guess Dollar Tree sunglasses don't cut it in this environment. By the time I reached the hotel I was certain that the sun had burnt out my retinas. I took out my contacts and my eyes watered and stung all night. Today I bought a relatively good pair of sunglasses. They aren't Ray Bans, but they're better than what I had. Sunglasses here are not just fashion statements. They are as necessary as the ever present bottle of water everyone has by their side constantly.
And today I conquered driving on round abouts!! I am victorious. I am woman. I am super UAE driver. The little Chevy I rented doesn't have much power though. I really need a Masarati. I don't think Dear Husband would agree, but wouldn't I look cool as shit driving around in a candy apple red Masarati, taking on all those Al Ain round abouts, peeling rubber on two wheels, whipping that beautiful hunk of metal across three lanes and cutting off all those little wuss 1.4 liter go-carts that masquerade as cars? Hell, yeah.
This is the little pizza place I have come to love. It in the middle right with the red circle sign.. Only about three blocks from the hotel, but that three block walk can feel like ten when it's 108 degrees and climbing..
It is almost ten p.m and I just remembered that I forgot to take my dirty work clothes downstairs to the little laundry. Almost every business and store stays open until eleven or twelve here every night. Takes some getting used to, but I like it.
And how cool is it that I am sitting here in the UAE and I am jamming out to Aerosmith's "One Way Street"?
Signing off from Al Ain......
Posted by Liti