Saturday, February 19, 2005

An American in The UAE

More ridiculous and innane obeservations of my short stay in the UAE:

I had what I call an "American Moment" the other night. That's when I forget I'm in "foreign" and think or act like an American... like when I go to the left side of the car and expect to find my steering wheel, or I think a bowler means someone who is bowling, not a cricket playing ball pitcher. My most recient one happened as we were stepping out of a very lovely dinner in Abu Dhabi in a magnificent apartment with a view of the new Corniche (ocean-view drive). I saw a large white lighted building out of the corner of my eye and I thought, "Oh, there's a White Castle restaurant." Well it wasn't a White Castle, it was a sort of castle shaped mosque.

In Pakistan, facial tissues are used as paper dinner napkins in moderate restaurants and homes all across the nation. We've become so accustomed to them that if you ask for a napkin at our house, we'll slide the tissue box closer to you. Here in the UAE, they have taken this practice one step further and various moderate restaurants have tissue boxes printed with their name and logo and placed on the tables as pop-up napkin dispensers. It makes sense since lots of the local food is fingerfood and a ready supply of small napkins is useful.

So far though, this has been a really lovely visit. The more "American moments" I have the better. And the ridiculous ones aren't so bad either and are always good for a laugh.


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