Dubai has a social network for you…
There is almost too much to say about this…and the more I want to say the more I ruin the layers of humor in this massive advertisement…
In case you don’t get it, here is the definition of Scatophiliac
Dubai has a social network for you…
There is almost too much to say about this…and the more I want to say the more I ruin the layers of humor in this massive advertisement…
In case you don’t get it, here is the definition of Scatophiliac
Shakespeare, we agree yet again. If I could write a sequel to Twelfth Night, my Malvolio would have to be insprited by this dude…
I don’t know if you, my kind and gentle readers, think I’m kidding about my observations on my way to and from work. Do you recall when I told you that Indian men dye their hair orange with henna?
I wasn’t kidding.
And it doesn’t necessarily look bad. Until it gets flourescent. And then it’s just difficult to discern if his wife was annoyed when she was dying his hair or if he’s making a point with the depth of his color. Like maybe he’s protesting flourescent lights? And, by allah, at least someone is!
My colleague doesn’t look exactly like this. Mainly because my colleague has far thinner hair. And wears checkered suits.
PS - when I say that Indian men dye their hair, please note that I don’t mean all Indian men. I don’t pretend to know in which part of India this is most common. Nor can I shed any light on the reason. All I can say is that I’ve seen it. A lot. And beyond that, I don’t plan on doing any research. xo
Remember when I said that when I get out of a taxi early I have to walk on the highway to get home…well, it’s not a highway so much as a service road off the highway. So, it’s pretty much a highway. And if I take the metro home, I have to walk on this road regardless. Logistics = Dubai’s weak point.
So, last night, on my way home, this pulled over beside me…
And when the window rolled down, I met this dude…
Who asked if I needed any help. Or maybe he asked me to help him. Either way, my first thought was…
And so, of course, I kept walking. Because why would I need help and why would he need help. As I kept walking, my memory toyed with my brain. So that by the time I got home, the man in the dish dash became this:
And suddenly I hadn’t been confused for a prostitute but rather I had rejected the advances of a superstar celebrity.
I’m sorry but you see what I see when you look at Bouy, right? And then in front of Bouy there’s Bouy Jr…he wears massive headphones every day. I wonder if he’s hiding his ears.
You may wonder why there is a slight blurr to this photo. I was sprinting to keep up so I could take it. SPRINTING!! I’m shocked they didn’t turn around when they heard me stampeding down the corridor…
Honsetly, I hear myself as Robin Williams every time I start my blog post with a Good Morning or Good Anything. I sort of wish that every time someone came to my blog, I could play his morning line from Good Morning Vietnam.
But on to my first point of business. The annoying dude in my office is wearing a plaid suit coat with a black undershirt. I get the feeling he finds himself attractive. I wonder if anyone will ever have the balls to tell him he’s greasy and gross and really needs to stop biting his lips. Also, he just dyed his hair orange with henna. This is a normal custom in India. But I just find it funny because this dude claims to not hold on to any Indian traditions. So I guess he just likes orange hair. With plaid coats. I really could keep going but I think it will just be too mean.
And yes, I’m in the office on my Friday evening (this is our “saturday”).
I had a second point of business. But it seems my business is calling. So over and out for now!
Good morning Dubai!
I have been told that my blog is slightly angry. I have also been told that I should add some photos. So, even though I was going to write about how I think that Dubai is a 3rd world country masking as a cosmopolitan business mecca, I will first do the photos. The 3rd world post will come some day soon.
I took these photos from my airplane. Don’t question why my phone was on. It wasn’t. Sort of. The body of water that you see below is a man made lake.
As you can see, this is the desert. And then, every now and then, there are some buildings. When you come up close and personal to the city it looks like its all buildings. But, when you come even closer and are actually on the ground, you realize that between every building there continues to be sand. Because Dubai, like the smart city that it is, forgot to build sidewalks.
Not kidding. See these photos that I took from my metro ride. On my way to work I go through a no-man’s land of factories before ending up at the financial center. These factories are also surrounded by desert. Let me put it this way. There is the old part of dubai, then there is the financial center, there is the area where the locals live and the areas where the media companies live and the expats reside. Between the financial center/local residences and the media/expat areas there are factories with sand. This is, in some ways, “mid-town”…only don’t even dare wear your nice shoes. They will get sand in them.
Last night I tripped.
When I was sober.
After a company dinner.
When some big MDs were in town from London, France and Saudi.
Because tripping on yourself, when you’re sober, in front of some of the smartest people you’ve ever met that already think you are just a silly girl with no direction in life is completely acceptable. And the reality is that no one actually had to know I tripped and fell. For all intents and purposes, I was far enough away from the clan because I was on my way to the taxi stand. Except for the fact that I fell onto the aluminium sheet in front of the escalator and the clang echoed through the financial centre and into the desert, shifting sand and parting seas. I fell in slow motion and exited my body so that I could see the mortifying event happen from the 3rd party perspective, I could feel my shoe get tangled in itself as I tried to pull my foot out of the mess and instead loose balance. I reached out my hand so that I could catch myself but forgot my hand was holding my phone, which only further enhanced the sound waves’ explosion into a mushroom cloud over Dubai. The guys from my office called out from the other side of the plaza to see if I was ok. Those nearby rushed over to help me up and check my well being. And, to make matters worse, this actually and truly hurt making everyone’s attention not welcome. To add insult to injury, one of the guys from my office decided to share a cab with me. Why, you ask, am I rejecting everyone’s concern? All I wanted was to go, hide in a corner and let my tears heal my wound. Instead, I had to force a happy face and pretend like this was just a bump on the knee. Oh haha, I’m so clumsy. Silly me. So, like the psycho that I am, I told the taxi driver to drop me a few blocks from my home so that I could finally use those blocks to feel extraordinarily sorry for myself. Which was dumb, of course, because that meant that I was walking home along the highway like some hooker dressed up in a suit for weird roleplay.
Yay for me, my pride and my stubbornness.
Within a few weeks of starting my job, I went out to lunch with my boss. He said to me, “we don’t hire many women because it’s so hard with the visa.”
Hard. Hard? What does that mean exactly? It’s hard. Does it physically strain you? Is it an arduous task? And do you, you you, actually have to go do something on my behalf? Or are you making a grandiose statement about the actual process of getting visas for women? And is this for all women? Is this what you will say to your daughter when she is looking for a job? Honey, don’t try because it’s just harder on the employer?
Let us be clear. Your statement resembles some truth. It is difficult for single women of certain nationalities and within certain age groups to get a tourist visa, let alone a work visa, to the UAE. Fact. But in no way, shape or form does my boss have anything to do with that process. Also fact. And once the application has been submitted, all you have to do is wait for the response. Again, fact. So, if doing this for a woman made you break a sweat more than had you done it for a man then all that says to me is you are very deprived. Because the only reason why you should be sweating is because you were looking at 6 identical passport photos of her face.
And shame on you. Shame on you for giving up before starting. Shame on you for taking on a battle and not fighting it. Shame on you for having an opinion on something of which you are not a part. Every single person in the UAE (except for Emiratis, who make up 20% of the population) needs a visa to work. Getting a visa for your employee is the norm. So how dare you decide to which sex you will pay attention before you look at qualifications and decide if you will engage in a process you will have to do anyway.
You can argue cost. Or even opportunity cost. But if you did then you don’t get it. The point is not that you choose to hire men over women (because that happens every day everywhere). Your crime is far worse. The point is that you know women have a battle and you choose to follow the crowd and stand on the sidelines and wait for someone else to call a truce and make it equal for women. Because trying might break your nails. And all the while, you are in a position to make a quiet move and a pose a small opposition. You are lazy and spineless.
I am one of two women in my office. Over the past 3 weeks, my tasks have been to put together some mindless databases, order the kitchen food and book restaurant reservations. And yesterday, one of the men had the balls to say, “well, we all have to work our way up.” Fuck. You. The other junior in my office who happens to have a penis? Well, he gets to work on pitches and go to more client meetings than I get to attend. So. Shove.Your.Stupid.Excuse.Up.Your.Ass. At least have the kindness to tell me you think I’m dumb. Because your comment implies you think I am (and I apologize for being un-pc here) retarded.
However, I do wonder. Is this just plain old sexism? Or is this cultural sexism? Neither is ok but one comes from ignorance. In my office, when blue collar workers come to deliver food or fix the lights or water the plants, they all always come to my desk to sign paperwork or get approval. There is really absolutely no reason for this other than the fact that they are used to dealing with women running offices. In general, when anyone has logistics questions, they come to me. I rarely have the answer and yet it doesn’t stop them from venturing again in the future.
After giving it some thought, I guess it’s both. Because some people don’t know any better and they are probably easier to train. Those who do know better are just sexist and a danger to their companies and our society. Let’s disregard the facts about women in education and changes in the workforce because those are almost too easy. Let me put this to them in a way which they might understand. Men are incapable of living without women. They either need 4 wives or don’t need wives at all but they do need women. Women, on the other hand, do very well without men. Yes, we need them at times. But women find closer relationships with other women and can survive (not procreate) without men. Why else would some of these countries go to such lengths to stop women from getting educations and from driving and from leaving the house? Because they think they can’t? Or because they are worried what will happen if the women are free? In the UAE, more women than men are graduating from college and will not marry their local men because they are not of high enough calibre.
If men can’t see the facts and only make decisions on superficial reasons, what then? We agree to live shadowed by the reign of stupidity? Does that sound sustainable?
Thank you for letting me vent…
Men love being men. And women love being women. But I rarely get the impression that women want to congratulate each other for having vaginas. Sometimes I think men would gladly jerk each other off as a high five and pat on the back as a congratulatory gesture for just being men. Of course, this would never be seen as gay. In fact, this would likely be the epitome of masculinity.
I have decided that I think my therapist should wear a burqa. Because, honestly, we would get through a shit ton more stuff if I didn’t have to see his face.
I’m going to write a memo to all the psychiatrists in the world. I’ll call it Psych…ed for Burqas!
It will read as follows:
Memo: Psych…ed For Burqas!
Friends, Shrinks, Psychoanalysts. Lend me your eyes!
The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of psychological struggles.
Balanced and unbalanced, patrician and plebian, CEOs and assistants, Priests and pilgrims, in a word, the manipulator and the weak of mind, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary individual panic attack and mental breakdown or in the common ruin of effected multiple personalities, hallucinations, families and friends.
In the earlier epochs of history, we find almost everywhere a complicated arrangement of society into various orders, a manifold gradation of psychological rank. In ancient Rome we have patricians, knights, plebians, slaves; in the Middle Ages, feudal lords, vassals, guild-masters, journeymen, apprentices, serfs; in almost all of these classes, again, psychos.
The modern psychiatrists’ society that has sprouted from the ruins of freud’s society has not done away with psychological antagonisms. It has but established new diseases, new conditions of mania, new forms of internal struggle with external manifestations in place of the old ones.…
The psychiatrists should disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social norms. Let the ruling classes tremble at the psychiatrists’ revolution as they cover their face. The crazies have nothing to lose but their crazy. They have a world to win.
Shrinks of all countries, unite! Burqa yourself and open yourself to the new world of psychological and psychiatrical freedom.
By the way, while searching for these photos, I came across porn in burqas. Talk about needing therapy…
I am a princess and you’re a douchebag! It’s like we’re really truly meant to be together, Mahmoud! Will you please be my arranged partner in life so we can join in our billions and be bitter at Forbes for leaving us out? I know I must be worth at least, what, $51 billion (ha, I win).
Jonathan Swift would be so proud: http://www.panarabiaenquirer.com/wordpress/dubai-man-upset-at-forbes-snub/
Today I will leave out nationalities. Because, this time, it’s pretty irrelevant.
There is a guy in my office who eats in the most aggravating way. I can’t put my finger on it, but everything about the way this man consumes drives me up a wall. When he drinks water, he purses his lips, teetering near the bottle and teasing the plastic. He barely wraps them around the mouth of the bottle as he gulps it down thoughtlessly. He throws food in his mouth like the food is nothing but an object to chew. His taste buds must be dead because who eats a cookie by tossing the morsels to the back of his throat and barely chewing. Of course, when he does chew, his mouth remains slightly ajar, releasing just enough noise to let everyone know he is masticating. Since I started working here, his belly has grown, highlighting the fact that he doesn’t know how to buy nice shirts or tuck them in. From afar, there is nothing unordinary about him. But sitting next to him, watching him consume his daily sustenance, has lead me to believe that he is either a person who doesn’t understand food has taste, or is under some strange misconception that food only serves the purpose of giving energy and satisfying hunger. I want to say that these mannerisms are some reflection of his arrogance (he’s a banker) or selfishness (he actually asked me if it was necessary to say bless you when someone sneezes because he sees it as a waste of time). But the reality is that this human being is beyond those characteristics, so much so that I would venture to say he is not human at all. He is a walking, breathing organism that reflects his surroundings but lacks depth, human connection and any sense of the tangible world around him as well as…well, taste!
Case in point: This morning I asked him what kind of coffee he drinks. His response was that he doesn’t drink any specific one. He uses coffee for the caffeine and not for the taste so he just takes whatever he grabs first. I mean, please! No one is asking you to like everything but if it’s something that you drink every day…you really might as well have something you like…or else, why don’t you just take a pill…
Needless to say, I don’t like him. Not to mention the fact that, based on his drinking style, I feel bad for his wife, the woman who actually has to kiss him every day.
I met an American girl this weekend. She was very nice and wore a super cute little grey jersey cotton dress that had thick sholder straps and was pretty short. She was curious to see Dubai and had many questions which I pretty much didn’t answer. Except for some. Which I answered in my head because I couldn’t believe she was actually asking me out loud and assumed maybe they were a joke that I didn’t understand. The best comment was: “yeah, I didn’t know what to pack because I wasn’t sure how conservative it was and didn’t want to offend anyone or anything. So, I decided to just pack dresses.”
Really? You went from seeing women in abayas, knowing that it was the cultural norm amongst the locals, thinking that you didn’t want to offend them in particular, to then only bringing little dresses? Really?
The UAE is not a big country and it is a fairly young country (although the culture is quite old). Based on some rudimentary research on their demographics, I have managed pull together the following pertinent information which I hope you remember for the remainder of this post:
Population: circa 5.5million
Other Arab/Iranian: 23%
South Asian: c. 50%
The British have, for hundreds of years, held a key position in the UAE. Not only through trade but also through oil. What the British have done to Dubai may be their cruellest form of colonization to date: they came, they worked, they polluted, they drank and they stayed (mostly hungover). And, when they decided to stay, they decided to make room for themselves in the disorder rather than impose their home-bred systems. Why else do we value the Brits if not for their sense of nanny-like systems & organization (and, of course, their accents)?
Listen. I’m not going to get into some long diatribe about British colonialism. My point is this. The UAE has been influenced by the Brits for hundreds of years. Over 100,000 Brits live in the UAE today. 50% of the population is South Asian. That number is predominantly made up of Indian nationals, many of whom have also lived under British rule at some point or have been influenced by British systems.
So why, by Allah, does NO ONE stand on the right hand side of the effing escalator? WHY? Not even they stand on the right hand side. It’s like they came to the UAE and held their own mini-revolution against the Queen by opposing systems and order. The worst part about all of this is that they have the sheer arrogance to stand in the middle. THE MIDDLE! Unless you have no concept of the world around you, the only reason anyone stands in the middle is because they think they have the right to stand where they please. And yes, Americans tend to have this attitude. But, let’s be honest. In this situation, there is no one else to blame but the Brits. If they are supposed to do anything in this world, it is this. Tell people to where to stand, how to stand and make us all feel dumb and unsexy for not having their accent.
How can I beat Buoy if there is a constant obstacle course of people through which to zig zag? Please, tell me.
Ps – If you are thinking about the WSJ at this point in time, I too am well aware that I may be suffering from sidewalk rage. Unfortunately this country won’t prescribe me a pill to help me deal with it.
Seriously. Are there? I was thinking about it this morning as I stared at the Indian/Pakistani men that made up 80% of the people on my metro car. As the not so faint odor of curry came into a stalemate, it sent me on a whirlwind of an internal dialogue that concluded with me thinking that maybe there aren’t any, which seems very odd. There are plenty of crazies in the rest of Asia, Europe has had its fair share and the US loves creating innocent glamorous ways to cater to the crazies (children’s pageantry is not normal and I’d love to meet the creepy 5’6” wiry white man who created them). Latin America and Africa are definitely not to be ignored either. But, India. I have never heard of any incidents involving a sociopathic brown Charles Manson. Which seems a bit weird really. And, if you were one of these turmoiled and sordid folk, I have a feeling you would never go to India to hide out. I mean, Thailand sure of course. But, not India. And why? What is it with India? There are billions of people and a bajillion children and peaceful Ghandi like gurus roaming the massive country. There are many many many Indians in Dubai. And while some of them do give me a very long and uncomfortable stare down, most of them just mind their own business and move on within their space, neither trying to get in anyone’s space and also not trying to avoid getting in people’s space (the idea of space probably has a different meaning for them…did I mention billions of people live in India?).
Which makes me wonder. Can we trust India if they don’t have any crazy people there? If India were a person, with a lovely tan and a warm persona, only a “little bit” corrupt, and a nice peaceful approach to life and religion (disregard their relationship with other similar countries) and they had never had a mass murder in their schools or a jail filled with crazy gunmen, rapists and serial killers, I would avoid the daylights out of them because I would be afraid that they were about to burst with all the pent up anger they were harbouring for years underneath that yoga induced smile.
Shit. Wait. There are crazy people in Slumdog Millionaire. But, I don’t know. That really doesn’t compare to this guy:
Or this guy (norwegian camp shooter):
And this guy really is a winner:
I’m buying my first Burqa Barbie (although, for the record and so that I don’t spread wrong information, the women below are not wearing Burqas. They are simply wearing hijabs or, head scarves). And yet, I’m wondering. How do I know which one is Barbie and which one is Midge? Or what if I think I’m buying Barbie but actually it’s Skipper, her little sister? I won’t find out till I get home and can see her hair in the privacy of women’s company. This is a massive risk to take. What if I don’t like her once I see her hair. Do I get two? I can have both. But, that’s a big investment. If I were a man, I could have 4. Wives that is. These are just dolls. But still. I’m having anxiety. I can get the two gossip ladies and then the two praying ladies. That way I cover all the bases and karma doesn’t shoot me. Ok, so, just in case, I’m getting them all. I can’t lose then. And when I get bored, I can just give one to a friend and replace her with another barbie. Good thinking.
As a wise man once told me, “one is too many and 4 is never enough.”
Btw, I can’t stop staring at these awesome photos part of this awesome exhibit called Women on the Verge (very Almodovar) with the following, incredible message from 2011 Noble Peace Prize Laureate, Tawakkol Karman:
“Today we can declare that globalization is the hidden power for women, and it therefore has become clear that she is more capable of shattering the fetters to cope with the necessities of the rapid change in our country. […]
My dear women! you have revolted from all over the country of Yemen, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria in order to construct a dignified life and a better future. Therefore, there is no way that we should bend down or go back. […]
I do believe that the prosperous future is for women, and it is we who make the dreams come true and a better future. It is she who creates dignity and liberty. Thus, whatever that has accomplished was a collaboration between men and women alike. One of the necessities of partnership is for the woman to obtain her full rights. No dignity and no liberty for a nation which oppresses women and take away their rights.”
This photo by Omar Al Zaabi looks like the Middle East that I have yet to see. This little girl is beautiful. The Batula (what she’s wearing over her face) is usually worn by older women around the Gulf. I’ve read many things on its purpose and don’t have a clear answer (which can be said for many things about this region…for example, why don’t the streets have names?) Is she constrained by Islam, hooked in like her fish net veil implies? Or is this a statement highlighting women’s choice in their cover? Is there a progressive tone here as she shows her hair, hands, feet and some remnants of her playful patterns under the abaya? But, what do I know. There may be some obvious message here and the nincompoop that I am just isn’t seeing it thanks to my ignorance and general apprehensive attitude towards asking too many questions…
Either way, this is a beautiful photograph. And a great view of the palace I’m planning to buy in the next year or so…if only I could find where I put my magic lamp and genie…
Every morning, on my way to work, I see the same people on the metro. And, every morning, as I get off the metro, it is my goal to race them to the entrance of our massive office complex. They, of course, just think I’m an irrational speed walker, ruthless and under some extreme pressure to arrive at my office at any expense, even if it means that I have to cut people off and elbow them over as I run into moving traffic. I let them hear my American accent so they, at least, have some country to blame.
Like any normal human being and proud member of the animal kingdom, I am very competitive. While I fight to win, I hate to accept victory. So, I sprint out of the train, down the escalator, out of the station, down 2 roads and cross one street just so that I can get there first, and will actually slow down as I approach the door and give up to defeat as my main competitor arrives at approximately the same time.
And yes, I’m talking to you Mr. 5’7”bald british man who dresses well and has a reasonably good body but looks like Burns from the Simpsons. You will, from now on, be referred to as Buoy, because you look like an aged young man and your spectacularly white bald head looks like it could be a florescent floating device the most desperate soldier would be frightened to find when lost at sea.
Every morning we get on at around the same time, just 20 minutes before the race can officially begin. As we approach I do breathing exercises and some stealthy stretching. Doors open and we’re out! You take the stairs, I sprint down the escalator. I have my metro card in hand ready to let me out. So do you. I run/walk awkwardly next to you, then down the next set of stairs. My skirt is slightly constricting but that’s not excuse. You have to carry your head so I tell myself it’s an even battle.
We speed walk down the sewage smelling walkway and reach the street where we both must decide if we should wait for a safe time to cross or if we should just go for it. You wait. I dive right in (like a true New Yorker). But, as the cars stop for me, my strategy backfires because you get the opportunity to take your long strides safely across the street. I’m still insecurely run walking worried the cars will see you reach the other side safely, will start driving and will hit me in the process (I’m paranoid…like a true New Yorker). The world slows down. We get to the same revolving door. And now what? Who will win? Who will get there first? It could be you, it could be me…or, it could be what any self-hating winner would do…it could be both of us as I insist on entering the same revolving door slot with you and apologizing for the tight squeeze in the process. Because I am, after all, a woman. I apologize for most things I do while knowing I’m not sorry at all. Then, we get out and you keep going. I drag my flip flopping feet the rest of the way to work, unsatisfied by the tie. Feeling defeated. Again. Tomorrow I will wear my lucky DVF dress and my sneakers. Eff fashion. You’re going down, Buoy.
I moved to Dubai for many reasons, one of which was because I was expecting to go to a local market, meet a bread thief and pretend to be his crazy inbred sister hitting on a camel. So far, I have only found the camel with its luscious lips and long eyelashes. I tried to woo it with the below song but it seems that the camel didn’t speak english because it just sat there, staring at me, chewing. Or maybe it was my epileptic belly dancing that turned him off. Either way, he didn’t respond…
Since my move to the region, I have yet to meet Aladdin. I have, however, met plenty of Brits, Indians, Aussies, Pakistanis, Phillipinos, Sri Lankans, Canadians, Syrians, Lebanese, Cyprians (from Cyprus), Italians, Spaniards, Germans, and many more. So, until I can find my diamond in the rough, I will just document my tales on the others as seen from my comfy spot in my sand box…
Camel Woo-ing song (robin williams did a far better job)
Oh I come from a land, from a faraway place
Where the caravan camels roam
Where they cut off your ear
If they don’t like your face
It’s barbaric, but hey, it’s home
When the wind’s from the east
And the sun’s from the west
And the sand in the glass is right
Come on down
Stop on by
Hop a carpet and fly
To another Arabian night
Like Arabian days
More often than not
Are hotter than hot
In a lot of good ways
‘Neath Arabian moons
A fool off his guard
Could fall and fall hard
Out there on the dunes
The glass case at the bakery