This morning I am practicing incredible, amazing restraint. Breakfasting at Costa, conveniently located in my hotel. Instead of donuts, instead of croissants, instead of muffins (and the list goes on) – I am having porridge. I know it is better for me and concern for my health is one way of being self reliant. A topic which soon we shall address. The porridge has now been delivered to my table and eating has begun. It is really rather tasty, made with milk so quite substantial. I am enjoying a flat white – my favorite brand of coffee, served in a china cup. One of the various joys of Abu Dhabi. Through constant diligence the pesky virus is under control in these parts, those paper cups can be abandoned.
The morning began with morning prayers on my prayer rug, facing East. How do I know that considering I have no sense of direction? Conveniently located on the ceiling is an arrow that informs me. The Marriott in Dubai had an arrow in a drawer. The Rixos no such direction, nor in the St. Regis. So it is reassuring to know where I supposed to be facing. The Rixos had prayer rug and a Qur’an in Arabic in the closet but no arrow. It was practically impossible to practice the faith in that Resort- its excesses and extravagance contrary to Islamic teachings. A Rixos Resort is being built in Doha for the World Cup attendees. It is a mistake in my eyes but there are other concerns closer to home. There is thinking that Qatar should instead be building a Grand Mosque in the tradition of Abu Dhabi, a Mosque of Great Grandeur rather than a Rixos Resort with a water tower (apparently). As I have never been to Doha it is quite unfair of me to criticize. I was invited but in April of 2020 their Covid control was rather nonexistent and did not want to risk my health. Then made plans again, which were thwarted and instead began my stay at the Premier Inn
Earlier this morning, somewhat by accident opened a book provided by the Zayed Center for the Islamic Arts. The title of the slim paperback is The Messenger of Peace, it contains various topics with lovely photographs and quotes from the Qur’an. Page 64 speaks of Self Reliance – a topic of interest as I am extremely self reliant, simply because I had no one to rely on – my parents in the beginning and then an unfortunate choice of husbands. My self reliance has served me well, so I thank my parents and the men in my life for their neglect.
The Qur’an addresses the topic in the following manner. 20:72 “There is none who had ever consumed a food better than that which he himself earned and indeed Allah’s Prophet David would eat from his owner’s earnings.’ A photo showing outstretched hands with rice illustrates the quotation.
Then on the same page another quotation from the Qur’an “It is better for one of you to carry a bundle of wood on his back and sell it, then (burdening the shame of) begging someone who may give or may refuse.”
When one is surrounded by beggars one should hand them this quote from the Qur’an , actually not a good idea as they would probably beat you up. I realized with a sudden start that there are no beggars in Abu Dhabi – did not realize that until this minute. Not even one have I encountered. I suppose it is against the law – it is against the law in the UK – during my 2014-2017 I learned of the Vagrancy Law enacted in the early 20th century (as I recall). When I gently reminded the myriad of beggars by handing them a printed version of the law (instead of $$$) – they did not take it too kindly. I ceased the practice when the meek men (no woman beggars interestingly enough) would become instantaneously vicious I printed something that informed them of the law of the land. The law was not enforced, although beggars were viewed by all as a nuisance. Unenforced laws are a major problem in the USA and many European countries. It teaches disrespect for the law but it is no longer a problem for me. Laws are stridently and strictly enforced here in the UAE – so there is no crime. Surveillance cameras are everywhere and this ensures compliance. I spoke to a guest at the St. Regis about the pervasive feeling of safety found here.
He: But there are cameras everywhere, recording everything.
Me: I am not doing anything wrong. I do not care if my so-called privacy is invaded. My safety and security is far more important than my so-called civil rights. Such freedoms provide criminals with the ability to commit crimes.
But back to food. The photograph of rice reminded me of another experience. Three days ago SAD took me to his very favorite Bengali Restaurant located in downtown Abu Dhabi. It was an absolutely amazing experience. It is traditional to eat with one’s hands – first I balked but then got into it. Moisten the delicious rice with the sauces provided, then pop the ball of rice into my mouth. The soup was an exquisitely flavored lentil soup, the sauces were ingredients not known to me but perfect. The star of the show was a whole fish – crusted and friend. SASS broke pieces and put them in my plate, free of any bones. It was tender and oh so favorable. The small humble restaurant was spotlessly clean, crowded with taxi drivers. Staff and patrons were in a jovial, welcoming mood, service was cordial, fast, efficient and caring. All staff worked together as a team, each performing their allotted task well. I was the only woman in the restaurant but I felt totally safe, protected and respected. There was no fear of the virus as drivers are required to constantly be PCR tested, wear face masks and be mindful of all regulations. This utterly enjoyable experience became the topic of an Instagramed. I did post of this experience on Instagram with the following caption.
Me: Ate at this fabulous Bengali restaurant in Abu Dhabi. The food fresh and delicious. At with my fingers according to tradition. Place packed with taxi drivers – everyone was jovial and happy. I was the only woman there, was treated with care and respect. It was Driver’s treat. So fun!!!!
I received several Likes and one precious response.
He: Because in our Indian culture women have the status of Goddesses and guests are treated well.
Me: That is so beautiful. Thank you SO much. A wonderful experience never to be forgotten.
Photographs of the outside of the restaurant and the business card will be included on this blog. SAD and I were in the neighborhood as I was having my old iPad fixed – an experience never experienced in the USA where they said it was broken and unfixable. Green Valley Computer Repair did the job and did it well. Nearby had my business cards printed at Spring Rose Office Supplies. They did a great job and were so friendly. My blog cards more attractive than any before.
So my numbers will keep rising as I busily hand them out to any and all. Since my arrival in Abu Dhabi my Instagram followers have risen by over one hundred. Many are active, posting and responding. No idea why people silently follow – I do not respond to folks who never respond back. Fazza brags that he has over a million followers – who cares???? It is a one way street, no real communication takes place. Although a man who calls himself Fazza Hamdan has been reaching out to me. I do not think he is the real thing, it would it not be most funny if it was him as I am not exactly being pleasant.
He: Do you know who you are talking to like that?
Me: Do you know who you are talking to. An honest Muslim woman who should be respected and not lied to.
This guy seems to have no memory of meeting me – how could anyone ever forget meeting me? Hahaha It took place in a humble London hotel on November 4, 2019.
Instagram is crowded with Parasites and Cat Fish but it can be a great way to stay in touch with people. It is a tool, rather like a hammer which can be used to either hammer nails or be used to hit somebody over the head with. Instagram has a useful purpose and a non useful purpose – I have learned over time. When talking about nails a few seconds ago remembered the idiom about putting a nail in someone’s coffin. This is what is means: “If you say that one thing is a nail in the coffin of another thing, you mean that it will help bring about its end or failure.” Will my comments about Fazza Hamden bring about his end or failure? I do not know, but I did block him on Instagram – although he is contacting me by email. But he cannot use that moniker Fazza Hamden to reach me.
I lead a most interesting life. Two days ago SAD and I went to the Phoenix and Dragon exhibit at the Louvre, Abu Dhabi. You shall hear more about that later. We ate at their French Restaurant. What an amazing experience. I had the Crepes Suzette for dessert, put the video on Instagram. Now that is a contrast. Bengali food one day, exquisite French cuisine another. Needless to say, I love Abu Dhabi.