I am going to tell you about parks for a bit, but not just any parks! Parks in Dubai....
And today, a table of contents:))):
-The Metro again...cause its cray cray.
-'Something New' vs. 'Something the Lord Made'
-Men in Dubai
-Christmas in a foreign country...
This is your warning....I have not blogged in a while so these things I have wanted to discuss have added up ergo this is a longer blog than normal. Read at your leisure...
First I'll give you bullets on the parks here:
*They are HUGE! Not Central or Rock Creek Park huge
but for a park in a neighbourhood, MASSIVE.
*They are incredibly comprehensive...amusement park, camping area, swimming (in at least two I think), sport area, amphitheater, food court, flea market, indoor pavilion, flower bed, rock creek with water fall, specially designated areas and gardens, picnic areas, camel/donkey/horseback rides, dolphin arenas, children's centers, planetarium, bike paths...yeah ok you get the idea.
*THEY COST MONEY...and this is where the joy of the 'public' park here begins to lose its magical illusion....
My friend Mona and I went to Safa Park to attend a 'First Saturday of the Month' flea market. First of all....you cannot trust maps here; they indicate one thing but are ass-backwards! We followed a map to one end of this massive park where we thought the flea market was and it turned out it was on the end we passed!
After paying to get in :(~ I wish I could say I was thoroughly enchanted and that the money I paid was well worth it, however my upbringing, my personal attempts to not leave a carbon footprint, the organization I work for and our attempts to teach children environmentally friendly habits diminished the joy I had at being surrounded finally, by so much green.
All of that green costs millions and millions of dirhams. Why? Because of water. The only water around here is ocean water and waste water that are carefully treated and desalinated to make that green happen. This is the desert after all and fresh clean water is an enigma....it definitely deflated my idea of this green oasis I had been longing for because it comes at such a great cost to the immediate, natural environment that does not fundamentally need water to thrive; and the global environment, that does.
Another element that hampered my enjoyment...the Ladies Garden. I have not reflected on the cultural traditions of this country as it relates to women too much and I don't intend to make any strong opinions about it all until I my work here is done. I talked about the glass ceiling before and I will only say it seems a pity that something as beautifully, carefully constructed, and at such an expense as this park, should have areas designated for those women that cannot or I also suppose choose not to share this natural environment, however fabricated, with men. Where the harm in everyone sharing this area together is, I don't really know; I may never know. All I can do is be grateful for parks other places in the world that I have fun, sweet memories of, spending time with male family members, friends or loves.
Metro Gold Class----yes there is a first class train car here for those people that I guess go from one end of the red line to the other end on a regular basis??? There are only two lines here...a red and a green line and neither are longer than the red or green lines on the DC Metro....so what is the need for a First Class? This speaks volumes about the local culture in particular here. I will leave you with that to build your own assumptions until I am in a better place to divulge more about social values here and engage in a transparent discussion:)
'Something New' vs. 'Something the Lord Made'....
When did the word Lord become mutually exclusive to Christianity? I cannot be sure if this is really an appropriate question to ask but I do wonder if religion had any part in the decision TV programmers here had to change the original name of the HBO movie 'Something the Lord Made', a beautiful biopic featuring Mos Def and Alan Rickman, to 'Something New'. It will air soon for the first time here and I was shocked to see that change. The Lord in my estimation is the Lord, whether called Allah, Budha, Jehovah, Yahweh, Krishna, Elohim, God, Al Rahman, Al Rahim, Shangdi, Jesus, Khoda, Tann...yeah ok you get this too. I may be assuming and I try never to do that but I cannot help it sometimes...maybe the question in this context should be, Is the word Lord mutually exclusive to Christianity? I don't think so but I do wonder if other Christians or non-Christians do.
I am going to skip Men in Dubai for now; instead I am just going to direct you to an blog/op-ed piece from The Independent that was shared with me by a colleague. I guess he thought this would make me feel better when I was particularly down about being here:) However well-intentioned he meant to be, it was an eye opener that I did not warm to. I do take the media with a grain of salt, especially following Wikileaks and Murdoch; CNN's demise into Fox News style journalism, etc. but this one is a doozy! (Link below:)
Note: Johann Hari has taken a self-imposed 'contrition' sabbatical from The Independent as of September 15, 2011, to try and find some peace about certain unworthy journalistic practices he engaged that diminished his writing and the writing of his colleagues by and large
so, big grain of salt if you move forward and read the article.)
My Dubai Christmas....
I never imagined myself 'working' on the 23rd of December but yesterday I was at a conference that will bode well for my future and TLA's future perhaps. (Check back to Geo TV Business, Headlines or Middle East at some point; I spoke on behalf of TLA yesterday and hopefully did not stumble too badly on the response about what we do:))), http://www.geo.tv/me/... )
On December 23rd I am usually in Texas by this point and baking something in the kitchen, maybe driving to Luna's Tortilla Factory to buy fresh tamales and tortillas for Christmas dinner, or figuring a way to get to the Czech Stop in West to buy kolaches for Christmas morning; waiting for interminable rides in the car that last for two days, to visit family. This year I would have been helping my sister and brother in law host their first Christmas at their house and probably rolling around on the floor a lot, playing princess and soccer at the same time while reading to my niece, who is my inspiration for me being here.
I will still admit to being devastated that I am not there; its tremendously hard but I Skyped with my little beauty early this morning. She first asked if I was 'at my house':); then she remembered I have a stuffed bunny here given to me after my accident in Virginia, that she decided to call Abby; and a stuffed fish I bought in Prague which a friend named Rebekah. She sang me Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and blew me kisses and made fishy faces.
Instead of all that, I am going to have dinner with my friend Shoaib and then he is going to midnight Mass with me at the only Catholic church in Dubai.
So, happy tears my friends..happy soppy, Christmas tears all in the name of something greater
than any of us...
(another link here in case you missed:)....
What's next? For the moment, only all the happiness you can stand and then some for 2012!