Sunday, December 9, 2007

the great bicycle caper

finally broke the pattern. For the first few days, I went from hotel to work to hotel, with a little bit of mall mixed in. Which was fine, aside from the fact that I wasn't quite sure if I ever left the airport. The view from the office out across Dubai Creek is beautiful. But from 17 floors up, it doesn't look real. So Thursday night three of us set out across the Creek in an Abra (Traditional Arab water taxi) to find bicycles (also known as bicycles). On the other side of the creek (think big turquoise canal) Bur Dubai (Old Dubai) was hopping. There's life! People out, walking! on the street! Unbelievable! Thank God. The river, creek, whatever it is, it's beautiful at night. All the tourist dinner boats glow with white lights, and the Abra's (traditional water taxis) will charge you 40 Dhurams to take you across at a diagonal, or 1 Dhuram if you walk up a few blocks and take one directly across. I'm sure it's logical. If your brain's saturated with algae. So we brought the bikes back on an Abra, at a diagonal, cause we had to charter it to carry the bikes anyway.

I think my airways are in just as much culture shock as I am. The fact that I'm working in a living breathing chimney doesn't help matters. The funny thing though, walking through Bur Dubai should have been when the culture shock kicked in. But instead the sand smeared streets, and butcher shops with lord knows what hanging in the windows, and little mangled vespas parked back in dark alleys, and gold shop after gold shop after gold shop, and the tiniest dingiest bike shops known to the civilized world, was exactly what I needed. That and a boat ride and a little bit of fresh air. Maybe I'll last the week. Maybe I'll last more.

It's Friday. It's time to put a whole lot of effort into doing nothing. The work week goes from Sunday to Thursday. So this is my Saturday, but on Friday. Weird. The sunset over the pool is a subtle pink smear, thanks to the haze. With sunset comes the evening prayer from the mosque across the street. A lone voice pierces through the traffic noise bellow. I can't understand a word. I like Dubai better, having heard it.

1 comment:

shelley said...

I love the image that you painted of Dubai in my head. It sounds so alluring, much better than the "brand new soulless sparklin' city built in the middle of a desert" that has been in my head for a long time.

So I thank you for that... I WANT TO GO NOW!