I went to on-line New Yorker to find humor and did not find it. An interview with a woman comic seemed compelling but it was not at ALL funny. She is transgender, do not even know what transgender is, and would personally prefer to be reading about Qatar, rather than ruminating about a person’s sexuality – a person I shall never meet. But she did have one wisdom, not pertaining to humor which shall be repeated: “I think having kindness for yourself makes you extend it to other people” The read was worth it for that alone.
At this time writing a blog has already been sent off to Chris concerning the misadventures encountered but I have nothing better to do than to read, research and write. I amaze myself constantly – I can survive the worst of blows, situations, messes and remain happy. Grandson and I texted one another this morning.
Me: Today I am happy, happy, happy for no reason at all. Hahaha
He: Hahaha This happiness is from Allah.
Me: Grandson. You are so smart and exactly right! You must have gotten your brilliance from your Grandmother. Hahaha
He: Yes! Exactly right!
Me: You are such a good Grandson.
I cannot do emojis and stickers on this computer but several emoji were exchanged and I send him a unicorn sticker with hearts for eyes.
It must be remembered that he is not my real Grandson but a tall, very handsome 33 year old Muslim man from Pakistan, who lives and works in Dubai. He drove me to the Grand Mosque on October 20, 2021, that is when we met. We definitely have had our ups and downs, so to speak. But we recover and go on, laughing and joking.
This is all rather amazing. I have a 38 year old son from India who also texted me. .
He Mama! How is Qatar? I just had a job offer from Qatar.
Me: I am so excited for you!! I am so happy that you are leaving the workplace where you are presently employed as it is inhumane, utterly overworks you and abuses you.
He: Thank you Mama
Such a relief to a Mama to know her son is off to some level of freedom and respect. Also rather convenient as I shall certainly get a tourist visa and visa Qatar again when I can actually see it. So I will come back and now I have a built in son.
An announcement of my intentions were made on Instagram – on the profile. The profile formerly read: “I am relocating to Abu Dhabi, the home of the Grand Mosque.” It now reads: “Traveling the Middle East in the next months. More shall be revealed on this blog,” The reasons for my rather abrupt change of heart, mind and motivation will be stated at a later time. Actually, it was not that abrupt, but my eyes were opened and a new awareness gradually set in. However, I am firm believer in living in the moment and being negative about the past is being kind neither to you or to me.
I am also providing a funny text exchanged between Computer Guru Chris and myself.
Me: I am in quarantine in Qatar. The same as jail. It is a big cell and has a view of the National Museum but it is still jail. Long story, I will tell on blog.
He; Did you know you were going to be quarantined? Jail sounds somewhat beneath your station. I really hope you’re not going to be there long. We could stage a break out!
Me: Apparently I shall be released tomorrow for good behavior. Believe it or not I have been good. Hahaha
But some of the funniest exchanges are between SAD (Sheikha Awesome Driver), he from Bangladesh. So my ‘children’ are from Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. Students of history will know that Bangladesh and Pakistan did not exactly get along very well – nonetheless we are one big happy family. But SAD cannot seem to make up his mind: am I his mother or his grandmother? . Hie texts but also send voice messages on Whats App. I do not know how to incorporate the voice messages, wish you could hear them as they are decidedly, ridiculously funny. He speaks in a whiny, pleading voice that resembles a four year old having a temper tantrum, here goes.
He: Ohhh You are my mother and my grandmother, you are everything. I miss you! I miss you! I miss youuuuu I miss youuuuu. Two days I do not see you. Where are you??? I am to missing you. Saadiyat Island missing you, Yas Mall missing you, Louvre missing you, Fish Market missing you. Come Back!! Come back! Come back!
His voice is necessary to convey the level of comic desperation and moaning in his voice.
It was, of course, necessary to respond in a voice message, I was laughing the whole time. .
Me: Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! I am coming back! But NOT if you keep nagging me. And How can I be both your mother and your grandmother? You have got to make up your mind. You can choose but I cannot be both. I am telling you now and you better believe me. OK by. I must go back and write my blog. I did not get to be this famous by sitting around talking to you. Good bye.
Text messages were coming in left and right in my solitary confinement. This an Instagram text from an Al Thiani. .
She; Are you in Qatar? I hope you enjoy your stay when you are out of quarantine. Let me know if you need anything.
Me: I do not think I will need anything, thank you. But it would be nice to see you.
There was a a subsequent ‘conversation”. She cannot see me because she is in London at the moment but shall return. It was eerie – I looked through her Instagram posts and there was a photograph of her prayer rug and her Qur’an which had been posted a long time ago. It was almost exactly smilier to the photo I posted yesterday. That, to me, was mind-boggling.
It has to be said that I lead a most unusual life, texting simultaneously a taxi driver from Bangladesh and a member of the Royal Family of Qatar, the Al Thianis while in the Plaza Inn Prison. But please do remember the synonyms of unusual: extraordinary, exceptional, remarkable, singular, particular, marked, outstanding, notable, noteworthy, distinctive, striking, significant, especial, special, signal, superior, unique, unparalleled, unprecedented, prodigious mind-boggling, mind-blowing. Also please do remember that SAD, responding to my statement that I was ordinary, called me extraordinary. That is most notable and noteworthy.
It seems I am here for a reason, to observe first hand what is going on in Qatar. One has to be here, be on the ground to observe anything anywhere but particularly in the Middle East. There are massive construction sites surrounding this hotel. Most probably hotels under construction preparing for the World Cup in November. I can observe the working conditions of these migrant workers first hand. It cannot be staged. The working conditions are most humane. The workers arrive at about 9 in the morning, there is a long lunch period, and are taken ‘home’ by bus at approximately 16:30. Buses arrive to transport them home. I shall include some photos. The orange clad workers look like tiny ants. I counted the buses and approximated the number of men. Over 640 men boarded buses at approximately 4:30 yesterday. Some workers remained, most probably supervisors. The sites are very well organized, these people know that they are doing. That is certain. They are getting a job done in an efficient, human manner which is most difficult to do. Work will be made more difficult during the heat – the weather now is temperate, even for a Canadian.
I do admit that over the last two years I have been occasionally critical of Qatar. I read a report from Amnesty International that there had been migrant worker deaths during the construction of the enormous stadium being built for the World Cup. The numbers reported by Amnesty international were in excess of the ‘official numbers’. This seemed to be a cover up. But I have also been on the ground in Dubai. There were reports of huge death tolls related to buildings, particularly the World’s Tallest Building in Dubai. There was a BBC interview of the Ruler of Dubai who assured the world that all was well and that reforms had taken place. But during my stay in the UAE I have spoken to men who worked on construction sites both during and after this interview. They had no reason to lie to me and only spoke of their travail reluctantly and not to gain sympathy, and not to seek remedies. I believe them and not the Ruler of Dubai. He had a vested interest in concealing facts to the world.
I have been told that it is not safe for me to speak out but I have confidence that Allah will protect me. I shall not be fool hardy or take unnecessary risks but neither shall I be silent about injustices and inhumanity. If evil forces strike me down I shall go to Jannah, it is assured. And here is the good news – the evil forces who strike me down shall not be my neighbors in Jannah. If I were them I would repent, believe and perform a charitable act. That is a warning that Messengers give before Allah lowers the boom. Do read the Qur’an, I have.
I end on a sombre note. It is, at the moment, Tuesday morning and I am apparently to be released this morning if I have a negative PCR test. I am actually thankful for this time for many reasons.
One orders their food by telephone from a pre-selected menu. I laugh and joke with the polite man who took my order. The following conversation took place.
He: You are so funny! You made my day just talking to you.
Me: Thank you! One day I collected nine You Made My Days. Probably not possible to reach that number on solitary confinement.
The photographs are of the buses and the men being transported.