The last few days here have been pretty sweet, with the woeful exception of my ailment, which seems determined to systematically undermine my system, one portion at a time. It has now transformed itself into a full-fledged cold/flu type thing, and I am typing as I sniffle incessantly. In other news:
The dunes stretch out infinite and undulating, camel-colored but run through with salmon ripples, as though some object was dropped upon them, sending tiny waves cascading out. They rise and fall in the receding sunlight like so much flesh... at points actually appearing to be the arcs of hips, funnels of twisted bodily contours. If you venture out into them, over several of their apexes, press your body to them, and they are warm, lifelike. Close your eyes for a moment or two, and you will be unable to figure out where you begin and end. You could become hopelessly lost here, if not for your telltale footprints leading you back to the point of origin.
The call to prayer slithers around the sundrenched streets of Abu Dhabi outside the window. I think I am falling in love with the Middle East.
Yesterday, I made friends with a camel. Those "ships of the desert" are truly some of the most remarkable animals on earth. Purely otherworldly. This big gal pressed her nose to mine, and nuzzled my face as I fought uneasiness. A Pakistani camel farmer came out and invited us to drink some of the milk he was extracting from one of the herds. In spite of my hatred for milk, I couldn't resist the kind offer, and so I lifted the jug to my mouth and a huge dollop of foamy camel cream landed on my face. We all laughed and laughed. It was delicious, and even though he spoke no English, and me no Arabic, he was clearly indicating that it would "make me strong." Considering how weak I've been, I crossed my fingers that he was right.
You could lose yourself here, in the sun and the sand, beneath the date palm fronds...I think I just might.
Chip and I headed from the desert oasis of Liwa to the Northeast, where we were embraced on all sides by mountains along a cerulean blue coast. These Arabs, they are crazy about building fake islands! Fujaira is lusciously gorgeous. We visited the region's oldest mosque (pictures to come) and went snorkling around a little offshore island. Miraculously, neither of us was burned by the relentless sun!
Chip and I had a better time in Sharjah than I did the first time around. We visited the Yemeni shop in the souq, procured some Xmas gifts (no spoilers, as many of you dear readers will be recipients) and drove around lost a lot. You do that in Sharjah.
Now, back in Dubai, we need to get to the ski slopes. I reckon if I am going to be nursing some stupid sickness and a sporting a chapped, red nose, I might as well be cold while I do it!
Leaving is bittersweet. If I was in tip-top condition, I might even wish I was staying. But right now, I look forward to English speaking, ease, and a little climate comfort. All this, awaiting in NYC. Picture post really is coming soon. I promise!