Mid-summer in Doha… here we go again. Classes are over, and everyone has fled the dust and heat. But not me, I’m sticking it out for the bulk of it, too much work to do, and trying to save a few bucks this year. But it’s amazing just how quiet it is right now. Everyone I know, with the exception of Van Gogh, is gone. Tex, Lady Tex, Beauty, Beast, Boss, Lil’ Boss, Eagle-eye, Rock, Stinky Pete… all have left for cooler waters for almost two more months. On top of that, we’ve permanently lost a few others. [NAME REMOVED] decided to circumvent the globe, Nick & Jess are in D.C., and Alaska just took off back to the frozen tundra desperate to join her people’s annual seal hunt on the ice floes. Godspeed everyone…
Speaking of [NAME REMOVED], I have a quick travelogue about her from last year. Just after my Jordan trip, I got a nervous call from her one afternoon. She was jittery and frustrated. It took a while, but she came clean about a small problem she had. Her new employer provided housing, but no furnishings. So she had her storage unit full of furniture and various bric-a-brac in the states cleared out and shipped over.
Take a look around you. How much “stuff” do you really think you have? Check out your shelves and pantry. Look thru your closets, empty out those drawers. Take a really good look. Now take everything you own and shove it into a two-bedroom apartment without any closets, storage areas, drawers or shelves. [NAME REMOVED] did that… and she was about to freak out.
She called and asked, very nicely, for help. I was hesitant to fly to another country to help unpack someone, but she did say please. I agreed to come under the condition that she would do what I say without any bitching or complaining. I flew over on a Thursday night, and took a cab from the airport into downtown Abu Dhabi. [NAME REMOVED] found me on a street corner and brought me up to her apartment with a warning… “don’t get freaked out.”
Holy shit. Stacks of loose boxes were piled floor to ceiling. Every available space had been covered with various knick-knacks and housewares. It was if a Bed, Bath, and Beyond had mated with a Pier One and birthed out her living room. [NAME REMOVED] meekly kept saying “it’s not that bad” and “please don’t freak out.” She got me a drink, shoved a stack of pictures off the couch to make a spot to sit, and I had to take a moment to compose myself. I just kept staring at the mounds of shit all over the floor. I finally understood why she needed my help.
I’m not the cleanest or neatest guy on the block… my desk is covered in work papers and miscellaneous crap. But I’m known for editing my lifestyle… I have no problem with throwing away old junk and trashing memorabilia. I don’t get personal with my purchases.
So the next morning at daybreak, I got up and started cleaning in the way my Mom taught me. Work in small areas, and use lots of water. We broke the mess into sections, and I pushed [NAME REMOVED] hard to trash a lot of shit. Old frames, stereos, VCRs, and winter clothing... not needed, get rid of it. She actually did a great job of cleaning out her trash. I did fail in convincing her to discard her antique fireplace set… not necessary something you need in the Middle East. So while she left for a fun run, I spent all day doing nothing but breaking down boxes, packing and organizing suitcases, and shoving her shit into any and all spaces available.
By the late afternoon, I was done. Neither my spirit nor my back could take anymore. I had her drop me off at one of the massive malls on the beachfront do to some shopping. Abu Dhabi is similar to Dubai in architecture, but has a completely different feel. It’s much more open and green with beachfront promenades and park areas. The mall was the same as any other mall, but it did have the exception that women generally dress much skimpier in Abu Dhabi versus Doha. It had been a while since I had seen booty shorts.
I made one quick pit stop via cab to a local grocery store for a very special excursion. Of all the differences and similarities between Abu Dhabi and Doha, there is one… very special, difference.
You can buy pork in Abu Dhabi.
Buried deep in the back of special grocery stores are darkened doors behind the produce section. Like the porno-section of video stores of old, you have to go behind the curtain into the forbidden zone. And there, like the porno wing, is where you seen the stunning slabs of pale pink flesh. I ogled the slabs of bacon and cold cuts. I picked up a rasher of thick maple bacon and made my way back to [NAME REMOVED]’s for my bacon omelet. A short while later, we said our goodbyes, and I made my way to the airport for the forty minute flight home.
A short jaunt, a difficult situation, and shit-ton of work… but a fun trip nonetheless. But don’t think this is the last you’ve heard of [NAME REMOVED]… she tends to show up when you least expect it.