for noel

20 07 2007

The door squeaks a little and my shoes make that noise that they always do on ceramic as I stride towards the elevator.  The lobby is always a little warmer than my apartment.  I exhale as I hit the down arrow on the wall and wait as the lift travels to the fourteenth floor from the lobby.  The elevator dings as the doors open.  I hit ‘G’ and watch myself in the mirror as I travel down.  I stare at the ceiling at the narrow mirror there and wonder again if there are cameras in the elevators.  I can’t see them.

The red button on the wall unlocks the door and the wall of humidity hits me as I walk outside.  Sand covers the walk in places, drifting from the near desert to the developed streets.  My car has a film of dust, sand whipped by the wind, drifting across the open expanse of wilderness, tamed only by groups of migrant workers.  The sand floats over the small desert bushes, the labor camps where the bodies are together like green beans in a can, and then over the edge of civilization.  It flies slowly, in a cloud like locusts.  It comes to rest on my car, parked along the side street.

The lights flash as I hit unlock.  The dash tells me it’s 44 C and I quickly start the car and the A/C washes over me like a flood.  I cut into the street, heading for the round about.

The three radio stations in English bore me.  I listen instead for flowery descriptions of Dubai.


14 07 2007

So Dubai?  It’s a pretty great place.

The round-abouts are kind of tricky.  I think I’m starting to figure them out.  The trucks stay in the right lane and you just drive fast and try to dodge all the crazy people.

Bollywood is big here like Hollywood.  And everything has Arabic subtitles.

The beef comes from Australia and New Zealand.  The fruit comes from everywhere.

Iran and Saudi Arabia are cool.  Israel is not.

You can’t buy pornography and it’s proxied off the internet.  Pork can only be bought in the little “Non-Muslim” only section of the international grocery stores.  Alcohol is only sold at licensed bars attached to hotels.

Taxi drivers drive like maniacs.

Everyone speaks English.  They just don’t do it well.  And everyone speaks some other language: Urdu, Hindi, Arabic, Spanish, French, Italian, you name it.

I have power and air conditioning 24/7.  I hope that never changes.

The heat isn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  You’re not going to be hanging outside though.

The Persian Gulf is beautiful.

We’re 859 miles from Baghdad.