Thursday, January 26, 2012

Dubai: Leaving, Losing, Loose Ends, and Getting Home


Time to leave Dubai. Loved the weather. It was exactly what I sought before getting back into the cold Georgian winter for the next few months.

I also liked my first foray into the middle east. Liked it in the sense that I made the foray. My experience pushed some cultural buttons of mine that I know will be interesting to explore more deeply in the future, such as how what a person wears, i.e. an abaya with full head covering, can provoke such complex feelings in me.

(By the way, one sunny morning I walked behind a man who was wearing the traditional white Arabic dress. It was transparent; I wasn't close enough to discern if he wore underwear.)

I saw nary a dog in the five days I was in Dubai. A number of cats, though.

Some photographic loose ends

A metro entrance. Each metro entrance has a disinctive design. This is the Dubai Mall metro station. 

Flats for rent in Deira neighborhood. In USD, the prices translate, left to right, at $490, $544, $599, and $680 per month

Metro station interior.

No fish allowed on metro. Also, no gum chewing.

Approach to Palm Deira metro station.

Typical toilet in Dubai. Note the spray nozzle on left. Ubiquitous for cleaning oneself, and then toilet paper.



Dubai airport



Went through two or three security checks upon arrival at the Dubai airport. Was walking down a corridor toward my gate when I did my periodic body check for all of the necessary artificial appendages: purse, backpack, camera ... camera.... camera? Damn. Looked in my backpack and my purse. Not there. I backtracked to the security station I'd just left. (This required me to walk up a ton of steps that had going-down escalators and no going-up escalators.)

Arrived back at the security station, explained I'd left behind my camera either at this station or the one before, and the staff there gave me a negatory and pointed me to a supervisor. Snippy supervisors exist in all countries, all cultures, and she was one of those creatures. She was immediately on the defensive, stating that no one had taken it. (Who said anything about taking it? Sheesh.) Did I have it in my purse, perhaps?

In a deadly polite voice, I responded, "Madame, I don't believe it was taken. I have looked in my purse. Would you care to look there yourself?" and I opened it up for her.

"Where do you believe you left it?"

I said I wasn't sure at which station I might have left it behind.

To which she responded, "So you are unsure where your camera is."

"Madame," I said. (If I were a cobra, this would have come out as a hisssssss.)  "It is either at this station or a previous one."

By this time, a call had been made to the previous station, and it had been reported back that there was no camera there. Which she reported to me. And she'd called out to the station nearby - did they see such a camera? Nope, they said, no camera here.

I said, "May we just walk over and look?"

Which we did, she reluctantly so. As we approached the station, I cast my eyes about, and by God, just as she was confirming that there was no camera to be found, there I saw it, on the floor next to the x-ray machine. It had fallen out somewhere in the process of being pushed through - NOT by me.

So I retrieved my camera from her hands and as I was about to utter the words, "thank you," she trumped me with "you're welcome."

There's a little coda to this story. During my layover in Azerbaijan, I realized my wristwatch, which I keep looped around my purse's handle, was missing. I'm willing to bet it got pulled off (accidentally) at that same security station in Dubai. I'm hoping so. Every morning at 6:45, it beeps for 20 seconds. In my imagination, it startled the bejesus out of that pompous little group before they tracked it down.

Azerbaijan

Airport in Baku, Azerbaijan
In-flight movie on Azerbaijan Airlines

The airport cat was still hanging about.

Same in-flight movie on the leg to Tbilisi.


Back to Rustavi

Took a taxi from the airport to Rustavi.

In short order, I climbed into a comfortable bed. My hostess, Nely, gave me two hot water bottles to keep me warm.

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