Well, it seemed the horrors of Covid-19 have not altogether disappeared. This is from The National, a UAE online newspaper which is most informative. It is bringing news about what to expect in 2022 by region. “Europe is home to less than 10 per cent of the world’s population, but has suffered more than a quarter of known fatalities from Covid-19 – 1.54 million deaths – partly because of high infection rates and a large elderly population. A study released in November said the continent could suffer a further 300,000 deaths if measures to control the virus were lifted. The UK presents a slightly different picture. “High rates of vaccination and previous infection are thought by some analysts to be preventing further growth in the number of cases in the UK, although case rates remain high, averaging more than 40,000 a day.”
Helpfully there is also information on the Americas. “About 70 per cent of people in Latin America have now had at least one vaccine dose, putting the region behind only the US and Canada, where the figure is 73 per cent. The outlook for 2022 appears significantly improved over that of this year.” Cuba shines brightly: “Cuba, which has well-developed healthcare and research institutions, stands out for producing its own vaccines. These have helped the country to fully immunise more than four out of every five people and give at least one dose to 90 per cent of its population.“Cuba has three vaccines that seem to be working,” said Prof John Oxford, emeritus professor of virology at Queen Mary University of London.”
All of this is fine but I happen to be in the Middle East at this moment. Of course, there is news from there, particularly considering the fact that this is a UAE ‘publication’. “The region has the country that was the fastest to get going with vaccination, Israel, and the country in which the highest proportion of its population has had at least one shot, the UAE.”
Therefore, basically things are looking good. “With high vaccination rates, Israel and the Gulf states will be able to keep economic disruption caused by the pandemic to a minimum in 2022, subject to the Omicron variant not forcing them to reinstate lockdowns. Not altogether good however, While many of the Middle East’s nations are heavily vaccinated, when taken as a whole only 49 per cent of the population has had at least one dose. This is the second-lowest figure for any world region, ahead only of Africa. “War and poor healthcare infrastructure have slowed campaigns in Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Iraq.”
More European news = people rushing to get into France, Denmark closing down its cinemas. Oops in the UK “The new Omicron variant is believed to be fuelling the surge in coronavirus cases, with the real number of new infections thought to be as high as 200,000 per day.The risk of reinfection with the Omicron is more than five times higher and it has shown no sign of being milder than Delta, a study by Imperial College London showed.”
But also did some more exploring on my new ‘go to publication. Did learn the following about Abu Dhabi – where I am at this moment. “T
The sprawling Emirates Palace won Luxury Beach Resort and the World’s Leading Desert Resort is also to be found in the capital, at Al Wathba, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa.
Island life in the capital is also a winner with Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort winning Leading Luxury Resort & Villas and stunning retreat Zaya Nurai Island taking the title for the Leading Luxury Villa Resort. Sir Bani Yas Island in Abu Dhabi was honoured as a top sustainable tourism destination.”
But at this exact moment you, Gentle Reader, are probably wondering how I resolved the dilemma mentioned in the December 14, 2021 blog. My reservations here at the marvelous St. Regis ended on December 22, 2021 – they were full of Christmas Celebrants no more room for me. So I had no home and no where to stay – rather like the Christian Virgin Mary (except I am not pregnant, nor have I been). There was some initial panic but then some sleep, some thinking and a great deal of trust in Allah – which enables clear thinking, by the way.
The following question was posed: Where can I go that is nearby, that I want to visit, that will not have hordes of Christmas Celebrants? The answer came rather quickly and it starts with a Q – Qatar!!! Got on the Internet and made a reservation at a hotel, not expensive and with a great location. Not a 5 star, but who cares???? Then yesterday the ever helpful, actually exceeding helpful, concierge made plane reservations for me on Qatar Airlines. When in Rome do as the Romans do. That is, of course, a saying which I shall now explain to you with the help of the Internet.
“When visiting a foreign land, follow the customs of those who live in it. It can also mean that when you are in an unfamiliar situation, you should follow the lead of those who know the ropes.” Wikipedia tells us more about it: “When in Rome, do as the Romans do, or a later version when in Rome, do as the Pope does, is a proverb attributed to Saint Ambrose. Saint Monica and her son, Saint Augustine, discovered that Saturday was observed as a fast day in Rome, where they planned to visit.” Now what you, Gentle Readers, do without me to inform and educate you? I guess be uninformed and ill educated. Hahaha!
I have been meeting several interesting people at the breakfasts. I was asked to join a man, his wife and son who were originally from India. The son lived in Marin County, went to UC Berkeley and then to Stanford where he took design. The wife is most well-educated obtaining graduate degrees from a university in Austin, Texas, where the parents of the UC/Stanford graduate now live. The husband came from India, poverty stricken but became a business man owning a printing business. The man and his wife have been married for thirty-five years, most happily – it was an arranged marriage. They learned of my strange plight – alone, no kids, no husband, moving because of prejudice and discrimination visited upon me by the County of Marin.
He: Aren’t you bored, living alone?
Me: Oh my goodness. Absolutely NOT. I was bored and alone with the husband, the step kids, the grandkids and, at the time, still in contact with my nuclear family. Then I was bored and miserable. Now I am happy!
He: You are free! You can do what you want, particularly with your retirement income.
Me: Yes, I can. I want to live in a Muslim country however, I cannot deal with prejudice. I am not used to it. Muslims are so happy that I became a Muslim and rejoice with me at my good fortune.
He: So you are going to live here in Abu Dhabi.
Me: I think so, it is a wonderful city.
His wife, a charming and perceptive woman asked:
She: Are you sure you want to live here in Abu Dhabi?
Me: Thank you for the question!! No not altogether sure. It could be that Qatar, for example, may be more to my liking. I am going there and I will check it out.
On the surface, not ever visiting there, it does seem rather ideal. It is a cultural hub – with many high caliber museums. It is a country that highly respects education and sponsors vast programs educating, not only its own youth but thousands (if not millions) of refugee children. It is the richest nation in the world and shares its bounty in meaningful ways. I know people in Qatar, meeting them in early 2020. Actually spent New Year’s Eve with some and received an inflatable unicorn as a gift. We have lost contact, for various reasons, over the last seven months. It seems much longer than seven months but as I count back, it was April oof 2021 when I last had a very important conversation with a wonderful woman and her stepson. It was not safe to go to Qatar at the time as they did not have Covid under control. They do now, I am vaccinated and shall, of course, arrive with my recent negative text.
My doorbell rang a few minutes ago. I answered, it was my Butler, arriving with fruit. He was handsomely attired in a tuxedo – the photograph taken a few days ago shall be featured. We laughed together:
Me: I have a Butler’s job for you. Please unzip my abaya – it has a back zipper and I cannot get it off. You arrived just in time!.
He: How did you get it zipped up?
Me: Another young man from India comes to make coffee for me every morning, fixed my glasses and now is my ‘dresser’. His job responsibilities are increasing.
He: What else will you have him do?
Me: I do not know. He says he gives twenty minutes to his mother every day in far away India and he will devote the same amount of time to me.
What are my plans for the day? Place my bathing suit upon my body, go to the Adult Pool, get in the blue tiled wonder and exercise my right and left knee and legs. The pain in my left knee did ease but then the right leg began to hurt as I had probably put too much pressure upon it. I am determined to be able to walk freely so that I can partake of the many museums in Qatar. It is a short flight – I am going steerage (as I call Economy) but upgraded to the Lounge so that I can sit in comfort awaiting my flight.
The photographs are the Butler (his nickname is FAB which stands for Fantastic Awesome Butler. One of the fruit he bought (minus an orange), the painting that graces my walls and a photo of my feet – got a great mani and pedi yesterday. My toes match my Birkenstocks (which were actually purchased in Paris, of all places.
My special Breakfast Waiter was Muhammed from Egypt, who promised to be here for me forever. I spoke of him to my breakfast companion.
Me: I can remember his name as it is the same as the Prophets, but he is not the Prophet.
He: Well, not yet anyway.
Now that was funny – never will he be. The Islamic faith believes that Mohammed was the last prophet.