Archive for the ‘multiculturalism’ Category

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Random thoughts

March 6, 2009

We’ve coined a new phrase — road neener neener. Paul doesn’t have road rage. He has road neener neener. If he can keep someone from cutting in front of him or pass someone who is driving ridiculously and leave them in his dust, he takes great joy in this. It’s what keeps us sane while driving in Dubai.

Totally embarassing moment: Paul called to tell me he was there to pick me up and I walked out to the place he usually waits to pick me up. I saw a little white car in that same spot. Walked up to it. Opened the door and almost got in when I realized that the driver was a strange woman? So, I say “Oh, sorry, wrong car. … Where’s my husband?” and I look around to find our car. She says “I don’t know, but I can give you a ride home.” Luckily, I saw that he had pulled into a parking spot a short distance away, excused myself and proceeded to get in the right car. No more operating on autopilot for me!

Miss Kitty came to visit me at the library while I was working the late shift Tuesday night. She came to the front door and meowed. I heard her through the double doored lobby. So, I went out picked her up and petted her a bit. Not enough to satisfy her, but I was working alone, so couldn’t be away for very long. She is starting to shed voluminously. The weather is warming up again. I suppose it won’t be long before she is hairless again.

A grouchy Sudanese telling an American living abroad in an Arab country to go see an Indian Chiropractor. Only in Dxb.” – our friend Muhammed Ali (yes, that is his name.) This pretty much sums up Dubai (Dxb is the airport code – you can probably see why I find PDX and DXB confusing.) Dubai is the ultimate in multicultural and our growing group of friends and acquaintences is definitely multiethnic – Indian, Singaporean, Burmese, Russian/Syrian, Sudanese, Eqyptian/Swiss, Swedish, North Carolingian, South African, etc. They are incredibly funny, intelligent people I love to hang out with.

At our favorite restaurant one night, we had a new waiter. He asked Paul where he was from (it’s the beard again). The waiter then struck up a conversation, in his best Globish version of English, asking us how we thought Obama was doing in his first month. He then proceeded to tell us that it is American politics/foreign policies that people hate, not Americans and that the Americans he has met are all nice people. He really wanted us to understand that there is no animosity toward American people. Interestingly enough, this came up in another conversation with someone else a few weeks later. So, I wonder. Can American’s say the same?

Car washing/cleaning is rampant here. There are no fund raising car washes here because that would require a business license (also there are very strick rules regarding charities and fund raising here). However, you can get your car cleaned in nearly any parking lot. There is a man who cleans the cars in our apartment building parking lot. We pay Dhs 100 ($27) per month. He goes over the body with a duster, wipes the windshield and washes with water and rag only when there is something the duster can’t handle (like when Paul drove through the Sharjah industrial area after it had rained). This is done several times a week. Paul tried putting tips of 5 or 10 dirhams under the windshield wiper, but the guy just deducts that from the monthly fee. Festival City mall seems to have a troup of car washers hanging around in the parking lot just waiting to wash your car while you are doing your shopping. Kind of amazing. We saw someone washing a car in an open parking lot during a sandstorm. Might as well have been spitting into the wind.

We love Dubai. … Have we said that already?

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L’s question

October 30, 2008

Per Linda’s question regarding Eastern Europeans here — There are Eastern Europeans here, although there are very few, if any, at the college. I’m not sure what industries they are involved with here or where they hang out. Most of the people in our neighborhood are East Indian, Pakistani and SE Asian. We are beginning to see what appear to be tourists (Caucasian couples looking lost). There goes the neighborhood! 😉

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Multicultural culture

October 28, 2008

I’ve been thinking about writing about racial relations here, although I don’t think I fully understand it, yet. I doubt that there is a more multicultural place on Earth. However, people seem to get along fairly well. We hear stories of taxi drivers who refuse to pick up people of particular races, but have not witnessed this ourselves. There probably are instances of discrimination and friction, but it isn’t as obvious or problematic as it is in the states.

Yesterday, at lunch with my coworkers, it came up in conversation that saying “Merry Christmas” has been a controversial issue in the states and that you should say “Happy Holidays” instead. The East Indians at the table asked “why?” We told them it was because someone of a different religion might be offended. They scoffed at this. It would never occur to them to be offended by someone else’s religious celebrations.