…. that make the most difference, really.
Like this discreet little sign stuck on my hotel room ceiling,
which points the way to Mecca. Islamic guests use it for
prayer, because Muslims always face Mecca during their
five-times daily prayers.
And that makes this sign totally cool, because it IS the Middle
East to me, more than anything else.
Here, I'm woken by a muezzin singing the call to prayer from
a mosque minaret, rather than the church bell that rings out
from the convent behind our home in inner-city Melbourne.
Here, I can put a deposit straight down on the flat I saw today and liked immediately,
rather than having to jostle my way through an open for inspection with a hundred
other people and then fill out an application form with all my personal details including
my blood type, shoe size and a promise to donate my first-born child to the landlord,
only to then spend the next five days sweating it out to see whether said landlord has
deigned to accept it.
(By the by, the flat's a studio, but it's massive: one third as big as
our house, and the monthly rental includes all bills – electricity, water, cable tv and
internet – as well as twice-weekly cleaning. It's perfectly acceptable to rent it for
three months rather than having to sign up for a year. It's also completely furnished.
The flat screen tv is twice the size of our clunker at home.)
Here, when I walk down the street I see people in national dress, which is absolutely
normal - women in black abayas and men in white thobes; like positive and negative
Here, I will consider making a monthly trip to Dubai to see my old tailor, Mr Prakash,
because Dubai is only a 45-minute flight away, and I can.
Here, Blogger is in Arabic (it looks so cool) and reversed, because Arabic script is
read from right to left rather than left to right as English script is. It's like seeing it in
a mirror, only with a language that's much prettier – all curlicues and dots and lovely
It might also explain why the spacing has gone so strange and why I can't seem to fix it...