I’m a local

I dreamt last night that I had to leave the UAE early, and I was devastated.  I guess that means I’m attached to this place.

I’m also approached by European tourists on a daily basis, so I guess that means I look like I know what I’m doing.  Somewhere along this month-long, winding road of visa paperwork, home goods shopping and meeting new people, I have become a “local”.

So what have I been up to recently?  Tbh most of my time is spent studying and watching Netflix.  Not much has changed.  But when I’m not being a dull, anti-social adult, life here is pretty amazing.

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taken by a family friend from Palm Jumeirah

Even the mundane here is interesting.  When I spent four hours in government offices last week to apply for my Emirates ID, I met a local receptionist who is a big supporter of America and Hillary.  And I recently discovered that Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes are called Frosties in Europe, commonwealth nations and the Middle East.  Don’t worry, Tony the Tiger is still on the box, and of course they’re gr-r-reat!

Krishna and I struck gold this week when we went to opening night art exhibitions at Al-Serkal Avenue, the underground art scene in Dubai.  There are warehouses (turned studios) full of contemporary art.

Nearby is Times Square, a shopping center and marketplace nothing like New York.  Local artisans gather there for Arte Festival every month to sell jewelry, paintings, crafts, furniture, luxury soaps, and sweets among other things.  It’s kinda similar to Fayetteville Farmers’ Market.

Speaking of shopping centers, I can proudly say I’ve developed an internal map of Mall of the Emirates and Dubai Mall, which is quite a feat considering how big and hopelessly confusing they are.  Also I’ve mastered metro multitasking.  In my recent visits to London and New York I was too baffled by the mazes of train lines and interesting people to just read.  Especially when standing up!

And once you’ve carried four heavy bags of groceries from the tram stop to your dorm a third of a mile in the heat of the afternoon, I think it’s safe to say you’re not a tourist anymore.

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