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by Oui Sat Sep 23rd, 2017 at 05:47:25 AM EST

Spending a fortnight in the Emirates ... always interesting to learn a people and nation from inside out. Amazing hoe Dubai is orienented on the Saudi kingdom and its oil exploration beneficiares the British with BP and Yanks with Standard Oil and Aramco of old.

Agressive PR about the soldiers of fortune fighting the war in Yemen against the imaginary foe Iran. Of course the US goods of war fully on display with Apache fighting machines and fighter planes. Sheikh ... whatever Needs You. Same old US influence on local culture or thereof. Television news casts CNN - Fox - Sky News - BBC and the Gulf States' broadcasts.

Modern life mixing with the conservatieve Islamic culture ... amazing. Dubai Mall displays the top brands for the extreme wealthy next to 100% trash goods from Japan, China and Taiwan ... just unreal. Desert temperatures outside pushing 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Strictly a male society with with all inequalities of gender and minorities. Display of care quite similor to the American way of life ... big, bigger, biggest. Adolescent behavior with most expensive cars reminding me of my teenage years of the 50s and 60s. Rolls Royce, Ferraris, Porches and the largest of Asian brands. No midsized cars or European standard cars. See little goods from mainland Europe.

Just had celebration of Islamic New Year, holidays and the Friday day of prayer.  Just the first impressions of a tourist on a mission. Am aware UAE is a full security state with Sharia als basic law.

It's weekend so I bought the local issues of the Gulf News and National newspapers. Picked up the October issue of the National Geographic with an article on Dubai - Can the Desert Metropolis Go Green. Always gains my intention. Noticed some smudges on the pages. A little study proofed these blackened out a single term in the article on Dubai. Persian Gulf was censured by the local authority. Let's make war, not love. The Hallmark of the propaganda Hollywood style mixed with the military industrial complex. Where did these Arab tribes gain so much wealth during the Bush years, Iraq War and the sky rocketing oil price.

Thanking Uncle Sam ... more to come soon, not The End yet.  ;-)

More to follow ... crossposted from Booman Tribune.

Hello! A travelog without photos (so far) is a novelty these days. I am forced to imagine the unimaginable. I have never traveled to the Greater Middle Ease, MENA. I have not left the USA in eight years, and that was to London with which I was somewhat familiar. Places change without you.

The foreign destination to which I traveled on my own was Greece. I was sixteen, the early '80s. I worked for a summer at the American Farm School just outside Salonika. In my free time I wandered the city alone. I didn't speak the language at all, but I felt safe. I reached a plateau of Olympus. No one can take that horizon away from me.

I wanted my daughter to have a similar experience at the same age. So I sent her to China. She scaled the Great Wall among other things. Long story short, she's ready for wild places rather than tour groups.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat Sep 23rd, 2017 at 03:08:37 PM EST
My daughter worked in Dubai for a couple of years starting as a nurse in the American Hospital of Dubai.  Appalled at the way her colleagues were treated by management she soon left to run a website in Dubai instead. It was a good "coming of age" experience for her, and a base to explore further - Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Jordan etc.

I visited her en route to KwaZulu Natal. It reminded me of Apartheid South Africa with Philippinos, Indians and Pakistanis treated like dirt.  Forced to work on building sites in 45 degrees centigrade and imprisoned in houses as domestic slaves. Yuge wealth and wastage next to abject poverty, and dependent on it.  My daughter has since left and returned home and I don't plan to visit again!

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Sep 23rd, 2017 at 05:40:42 PM EST
Oui's story, your daughter's adventure remind me, What expectations, or "baggage", What kinds of compasses does one carry to foreign places?

When I was a child my parents were my compass in foreign places across the Caribbean or Atlantic. When I arrived in Greece alone the school provided some basic orientation and a retreat, but no TV, not that it was a hardship. With age and more frequent solo-flier to foreign places I acquired certain habits to orient myself to the culture such as flipping on the TV (domestic and international channels), picking up newspapers (domestic and international editions).

These media seemed always to reveal to me, on the one hand, the appearance of continuity, and on the other, unexpected boundaries. Can one identify which ethnic groups are "out" from TV commercials placed by charities? Yes. Can one identify ethnic groups are "out" by walking the streets. Nope, not immediately. That takes some shoe leather, time, and, well, either interest or suspended disbelief.

Which is to say, I have been more appalled by abject inequity in the US and UK "Virgin Islands" than in Singapore or Viet Nam. S. Africa I deliberately avoided, though I've been offered the opportunity, because my enjoyment can't bear the disappointment.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat Sep 23rd, 2017 at 06:34:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I avoided SA whilst Apartheid was in place, unwilling to become complicit.  However having met many SA exiles in Europe, and having done my master's thesis on Apartheid (predicting its demise), I couldn't wait to visit once Mandela was released and elected President. Yes things have gone badly, particularly since Zuma was elected, but no worse than I expected, and much better than it could have been. Unfortunately, the direction of travel is still not good...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Sep 23rd, 2017 at 06:45:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One of my former clients (naturalized US, CH, Sierra Leonian) traveled there often and would return both wild-eyed and exuberant. Left me feeling like a priggish granny before my time.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Sep 23rd, 2017 at 07:20:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thx for your comments :-)

Am not in a position to add photo's as such ... my travel companion is a lady friend of the Islamic faith who does understand and speak Arabic. Unfortunately she has her own schedule of business engagements and we just meet over tea or dinner. Did some shopping in the Dubai Mall, try to walk some distance in the neighborhood ... the heat offers some obstacle. The public transportation of bus and metro is a way to witness the less fortunate and minority workers. Rates are quite reasonable btw ... must be 'cause their salaries are lagging.

by Oui on Sat Sep 23rd, 2017 at 06:56:51 PM EST
I for one don't mind the absence of photo illustration. You write "bus", I conjure Bal'more's mighty messy transit operation ... thing ... with heat, no heat, missing stops, no bus --Where is the &#^%^& bus?!

Carry on, pls, as you will.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat Sep 23rd, 2017 at 07:17:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not to mention: So expensive, they must be overpaid (or am I thinking of London?)
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sat Sep 23rd, 2017 at 08:12:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I felt kinda German-y the first few months there, watching people slither through the rear doors. But, hey, I never was a turn-stile-jumper in NYU either. Speaking of which ... I can't recall a strike. And I'm not going to GOOG. That would be beside the point.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Sep 23rd, 2017 at 08:43:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When I was in Saudi Arabia in the '80s I would travel  the countryside around Riyadh on Fridays. We had the use of Mitsubishi 2L sedans owned by our Saudi client. Some of the small villages had really interesting architecture. One had concrete block buildings with some finished in mud wattle and thatch.

One time we went rock hounding with a map provided by a Bechtel expat worker. We found petrified wood and I took some home to LA. Another time we came upon the carcasses of the sheep butchered for an Eid al Fatir feast. Ramadan had been in July that year.

Sometimes we would see camels with a halter wondering about and sometimes a camel with nothing indicating domestication. But my favorite was seeing a camel kneeling in the bed of a Datsun pickup driven by a Saudi near the souk in Riyadh.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Sep 29th, 2017 at 03:07:57 AM EST

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