That I would be living here. Seeing these sights, living this life.
Never did I imagine that I would entertain myself on longish drives by watching for camels in the desert off the side of the road. Or that I would be fortunate enough to have a massage therapist actually come to my villa and give me a massage. Or that I would be shopping for bacon in the back walled-off section of a grocery store, feeling slightly unsettled, or somehow tarnished. Or that I would learn haggling over prices so quickly, refusing to pay first or second asking price for just about anything.
Sometimes it hits me that this really *is* unimaginable. Like the other day, a friend and I were sitting on this incredibly crowded rickety-looking wooden boat thing called an abra. I was sitting in the back, next to the old rope and decrepit-looking wooden paddle/rudder thing for steering. It was piloted by a man that didn’t speak any language I could identify, who simply hissed at us to pay the Dirham fee. This abra had no rails, no ropes, no walls, no hand holds, nothing, just a big platform upon which to sit and smush together.
We were crossing over the Dubai Creek to a souk (market) on the other side….. I looked over at my friend and said “Do you realize that we are in a foreign country, riding an over-loaded boat that OSHA would go freekin carnival-ape-crazy over, to an open-air souk with no controls over what’s sold or how, and we’re not paying any sales taxes?? Did you ever imagine you’d be doing something like this???” She smiled and said “And the ride’s costing us a whopping 27¢ too!” Crazy.
Some of the things that we’ve done here, the experiences we’ve had, the stories we’ve heard, they’re like nothing I ever imagined would happen to me. Please don’t read the way I come across in this blog like this whole adventure is routine for me – there ain’t *nothing* routine about Dubai or the Middle East, far as I can tell. Not at all.