American female traveling alone in the Middle East; my parents didn’t like it and my husband didn’t want for me to travel alone, but I wanted to do it…I had to do it. 8 years since I have traveled overseas by myself to explore new land. All the solo traveling I have done in between has been through the U.S. of A.
The Middle East – an Arab Nation; most Americans immediately think DANGER at the word of it. That is sad. Not even I could say what I was getting myself into, but what I did know was that danger was the last thing on my mind. Come on, Abu Dhabi, Dubai – this is the melting pot of the Middle East. I don’t think there is anywhere in the world where you can sit down for a cup of tea and hear Arabic, English, Hindi, French, Korean, Thai and French all within an earshot of each other. There is no travel guide you could ever read that could prepare you for the experience; it can only happen once you engage with the local community.
Yes, people stare and they do. But humans are curious by nature; they aren’t necessarily being rude or thinking bad on you. A blond at that will stand out about anywhere in the world that isn’t Nordic or California. But you know what, I am just as curious. I am intrigued by how men greet each other by touching noses. Or am curious to what beauty lies beneath the veil. I wonder how many ways you can wear a ghutra, and what the beautiful script that just looks poetic yet could just as easily read dumping station says.
When we read about the American Revolution and how people migrated from all over Europe and Asia for the golden opportunity America had to offer, what I see in the Arab Emirates is the exact same thing. Everyone who is here is for opportunity, a chance of a new life or better life. There is an Arabian Revolution going on.
There are islands being built left and right. I had the opportunity to have dinner with a couple project managers who build this islands and I asked them, “how many and for what?” I was told that the main islands for habitation were almost done and the rest are for oil exploration. It was explained to me that it is more ecologically and economically safe to do it this way. There is still a big question for me: After all the building is done, then what jobs are there for the people who are here for work? The area is being populated in large numbers quickly and while remembering this is a desert country with very little fresh water or food resources. What will happen when there is water shortage? Will these amazing cities of architecture, where the buildings should belong in the Modern Museum of Art become a desert itself?
I am not a professor of economics, but that is my thought. Whatever the plan might be for the UAE, I love this country.
A long flight ahead of me, but will be worth it be back in my own bed and into the arms of the love of my life. As this journey comes to an end, I can only look forward to when the next adventure will begin.
Writing not what she knows, but what she feels. Life is an adventure.
“When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people, not characters. A character is a caricature.”
“Write while the heat is in you. … The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with.”
—Henry David Thoreau