January 11th, 2003

krazy kat

Of... stuff.

So the other day -- slightly before my convalescence, though not suspected of relating thereto -- we went out to dinner at The Club for a prevenient celebration of my Mom's birthday (prevenient because they will be in New Zealand when it actually occurs, and I will be back at school, having returned just this afternoon).

The Club, I will take pains to note, is a veritable Abu Dhabi institution. Known initially as "Henderson's Folly," then later as "The British Club," it dates to 1962, almost a decade before the UAE existed as a country, and even before luxuries such as "running water" were known in this part of the world. Abu Dhabi back then was pretty much just an oil colony: a small collection of tents and bastakiya (palm-frond) huts, a mud / coral fort, and a couple little concrete buildings that the various oil men exploring for, well oil, used as a weekend retreat / home base.

So being, as it is, so intertwined with the city and its history, it is granted more-or-less a "special status" among Abu Dhabi establishments. It currently boasts a bunch of fully-licensed restaurants and bars, as well as a beach and various and sundry sports facilities. But more to the point, it is really a bastion (as such) of western-style culture.

And you know what? I've realized that I really don't like going to The Club. In fact, I hate it there. As soon as you set foot in the place, you are inundated with, well... not to put too fine a point on it, Westerners.

And eating in the restaurant the other night, surrounded by Caucasianally-dispositioned, English-speaking, middle-aged American, British, Canadian, Australian, etc. expatriates... I became actually (in some strange way) offended by myself, the company I was in, and the whole scene.


Okay, so I've mused on this whole deal before, about how I'm becoming more and more "comfortable" (for lack of a better term) with the whole culture here, and feeling more and more alienation from the way things are done back in Canada (or wherever)... "going native," as the term used to be (still is? I dunno).

I wonder, is this just another manifestation of that? Because I was just as offended (and not a little ashamed) of myself, being part of the whole crowd, as I was with everyone else.

A strong strong strong wish that I could just disappear into some little unknown mountain village somewhere, lie out in the sun (and not shave) until I was visually indistinguishable from the locals, then, uhhh... un-learn all my English. Yeah.

And a fear of returning. Will it still be like that if/when I go back?

A strong urge to not ever return to Canada, even quite aside from the whole Nausheen thing. I so wish I had a UAE passport. Or "permanent visa." Or something.

Garg. This all can't be good.

What was that word again...? Oh yeah... PEEKABOO!!
"What was that word again...? Oh yeah... PEEKABOO!!"
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