Saturday, December 20, 2008

I was lying on the grass on Sunday morning of last week...

photo by Bethy

This weekend we thought it would be fun to take a break from parties and go to Safa Park for a family picnic out on the grass. Who knew we'd be in our bare feet, eating hamburgers from the take-out in the park, enjoying watching the kids running around, and the gatherings of soccer (called "football" here, of course) and cricket games?

In December?

Unfortunately we also didn't know that a water main had broken along Sheik Zayed Road, the major freeway, and so a 15 minute drive became a 110 minute drive with hungry kids. Bethy wet her pants. Wet pants aside, we were busy being amused by people doing U-turns and driving backwards on the side of the freeway back to an exit to get off. Windows rolled down added to an interesting symphony of world musics eminating from the cars. One woman was standing up in her car out the sunroof for miles and miles, but the prize went to the guy in his long robes and fez who got out of his car, locked it by remote, and strolled away. The people in cars behind him in the lane were not amused.

an uncontained portion of the flood

When we finally got to the actual flooding there were scores of men working with pushbrooms, pushing the water, pumper trucks pumping out the water as fast as they could, and other trucks dumping sand. When I read the paper the next day it said that the pipe had actually broken at 8:30 in the morning, so they'd been working on containing it for some time. Must have been one heck of a pipe! (Bigger and Better in Dubai, you know).

Once we got to the park, though, all was well. Graham pointed out to me once, and it is a wonderful thought, that within Safa are people from all nationalities, some of whom whose governments are at war with one another, but that in Safa, all co-exist peacefully. More than, really. We were greeted and smiled at and waved to again and again as we walked on the grass and though the palm trees after lunch.

Bethy wearing a hibiscus behind her ear.

I had said hello to a woman wearing a beautiful Sari and later she and her cousins stopped by and asked to take photos with the kids. A common request. I've been approached numerous times by folks asking to take a photo of Thomas or Bethy, or to hold them. I always say yes.

Bare feet and a glimpse of world peace just before Christmas?

Life is good.


Your Friendly Neighborhood Librarian said...

Hi you guys! Your Mom gave me your blogsite.
I love your comments on world peace.
Even here in Federal Way, my street has Hmong, Filipino, Ukrainian, African American, and plain old European/American families.
It's when we realize we really are neighbors on a little planet that real world peace would kick in I think.
Gerry from 320th

Jean said...

Ah, yes, the drive-any-which-way attitude in the Middle East. Charlie says that when he was in Kuwait years ago, the road sides were littered with Mercedes that had been abandoned after fender benders or after running out of gas or after displeasing the owner in any way at all.

But the residents of the Gulf countries can't be blamed for all the situations. My friend who thinks that "Stop" in Arabic looks like Santa and his reindeer says that she actually caused an accident while taking a photo of a stop sign in Dubai in 1988. As she tells it, "I saw a driver backing up out of the corner of my eye while I was taking the picture. The next thing I heard was 'beep beep' crash and then lots of Arabs yelling at one another. I turned around and said something like, 'What an idiot, backing down the street the wrong way.' I was told that the driver was watching me and perhaps we should get out of there now."