Friday, March 18, 2011


I was tired and hungry last night after moving villas in the heat, so I rode my bike over to La Brioche for dinner.

Tons of people were out, mostly men. Actually, come to think of it - all men, but when I'm on my bike they don't even notice me, I'm there and I'm gone! The sun was going down and the air was cooling off quickly. As the men left their construction sites in twos and threes, I could smell their cologne and was surprised to see them in their crisp, clean, after-work punjabis, hair combed perfectly, freshly scrubbed skin glowing.

In one huge sandy lot between villa projects, a huge crowd had gathered. There was a cricket game going on on one side of the lot, and a football, (soccer) match on the other. The football goal posts were made of old scrap pieces of wood hammered together, and all the workers played barefoot on the soft sand. They called to and heckled each other in different languages, but their laughter and cheering was universal.

As I turned the corner there was a gap in a tall fence, for a few seconds I could see a large circle of men gathered in the front yard of the luxury villa project they were constructing. Over the fence I heard drumming, singing, laughing and the tinkling of tea being stirred. Their music reminded me of the folk music Mel and I fell in love with while travelling around Rhajasthan years ago.

Hats off to many of the Pakistani, Indian and Bangladeshi workers in our area who make the best of their lives here. Life isn't easy for them. They work long hours in the blinding heat, building luxury homes they can never afford to live in themselves and can never step into again the day after they complete them. They rarely see their families, and yet they send their paychecks home to them every month. Suicide, beatings and murder are not uncommon in labour camps, yet these men still find a way to  sing and play football at the end of the day.

In contrast, most western foreigners are forever looking for a way to cut themselves off. Hidden away in apartments or rooms, they don't want to see anyone else. They watch TV alone, eat alone, and feel all the more miserable for it.

My bike is definitely the best thing I've bought here. Cars race down the empty streets with their black tinted windows closed tight, the air conditioner blasting, like an antibacterial, hypoallergenic, climate-controlled bubble, insulated against everything real.

I love riding my bike and hearing the call to prayer on the wind. I like riding through empty lots where the sand has been packed down by foot traffic hard enough for me to ride my bike across. I know where there's a white mulberry tree, which house cooks Indian food every Friday and where there's a dead cat, half buried in the sand, that's slowly being mummified by the wind and heat.

On the way back from dinner it was after dark, but there was a full moon and I could smell flowers. 

Friday, March 4, 2011

Friday Morning KCA

Friday morning in KCA is like Sunday morning everywhere else - people sleep in, have big breakfasts with their families, get ready to go to Friday Prayer and generally take it easy. Traffic is non-existent, so it's a good time to take the bike out for a spin.

Our immediate area in KCA is pretty much a massive construction zone at the moment. This pic was taken from the roof of our villa. As you can see everything is in some stage of going up.

The fine sand that's everywhere. 

At the end of our street is a lot used for storing all the machinery used on various 
construction sites in the vicinity. When I come home from work in the afternoon, 
the drivers are usually napping in the shadows of these machines.   

Today's destination! Khalifa City Market! 
This place has almost anything you need, and plenty you don't need. 

Someday, as a grand experiment I'm going to dump some post cards in here 
and see if they ever get delivered. 
Send me your address if you're interested!


The "Pink Shops" aka "Funkytown" usually I ride a little further afield but 
the sun was already blazing at 9am, time to pedal back home!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Introducing: Pamy

My transport around KCA! I bought her at Carrefour for about 100 bucks. I got a pink girl's bike because I figured the workers around here would be less interested in nicking her. The basket fits 2 bags of groceries and I can tie stuff down to the rack above the back wheel. She was made in another place close to my heart - Taiwan, and she's named after a (former) Canadian Icon!

I usually take her out for a long ride on Friday mornings when traffic is non-existent around here, although lately I've found I have to get up earlier and earlier to avoid the slowly increasing heat. The workers around here had a good laugh the first time they saw a foreign girl peddling around, but now they wave and yell, "Good Morning!" when they see me!