Abu Dhabi ensalla
When I was 18 I went to Ireland alone and hitchhiked all over the country ending up where my parents had bough a house in Meath. I stayed at a local pub and got drunk with a local and then went upstairs to my room and he spent the entire night outside my door begging me to let him in and I realized I had misunderstood the culture and letting this man buy me four hot whiskies had made him believe I owed him something. In the morning I climbed over his passed out body and decided not to allow strange men to purchase drinks for me in the future.
So, I forget that I’m a feminist who is used to doing what I want when I want.
I woke up at 6am, bolted some breakfast and discovered my colleagues were all waiting to go to the male campus and so I declined and sat in the lobby. After about ten minutes the driver came in and summoned me onto the bus. We drove out to what resembled a war zone where there was an amazing marble building rising out of the dust. We all went into HR where I was informed I wasn't in the right place ( lots of confusion between Molly and Mary) and this sweet man in traditional garb sent me off alone with a driver to Fatima college which also is a marble building in a war zone. My only contact has been someone named Hanaa so after I was told by a guard to enter an office where a nice looking western woman was sitting and I said Hanaa? And she said, yes, I thought I'd been found but no. Wrong Hana. Good news is I am apparently in downtown Abu Dhabi, not in this very deserted area. We went upstairs to meet the right Hanaa and she is lovely. She expressed happiness on seeing me but also put me in a room where I am currently awaiting further developments.
Today I was picked up 90 minutes late and driven into Abu Dhabi with a driver who did not know where he was going and after I suggested we were in the wrong location took me somewhere else which was wrong and left me here to be administered to by people who took pity on me but were not my new employers. Now I wait to be picked up again sitting next to a woman completely covered in black except for her hands, which are beautifully hennaed. I feel powerless and angry but what's the point? Finally the same driver returned with a friend who knew where to go. I walked inside and was immediately involved in a banking lecture but without a cell phone I can’t open an account and I can’t get a cell phone without an Emirates ID and I can’t get the ID w/o fingerprinting and I can’t get fingerprinted until Wednesday. Deferring to men must become as natural as breathing as long as I am here. I went to work out and was the only woman in the gym with violent wrestling on the television. It wasn’t too bad.
This young Canadian guy in the pool tells me I need to remember we are not important to these people except as workers like the ones that pick up the trash. He has no expectations for his students. I have decided to start meditating again and to develop detachment. Also to buy another huge bar of Toblerone.