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Published: March 9th 2008
The past couple of days have been fairly uneventful. I met a couple of new friends for lunch and tea (so happy I have more of a social life now!), bought a beautiful rug for my new office, and attended a rally for International Women’s Day. Renuka went with me, and said she was teased by people for it later, saying that she was fighting for women’s place under the new constitution. But I like inviting her to things like that, because I figure the more feminism she’s exposed to, the better.
There were a couple hundred people at the rally on the green in the middle of the city, including most of the staff from ABC Nepal and all of the girls from the shelter. Ranju spotted me in the crowd and ran over, followed by all of the other girls, who recognize me now from my couple of visits. I didn’t understand anything that was being said by the speakers, the singers, or the actors putting on a little drama, but it was fun to hang out for a little while.
Now I am on my flight to Dubai. We touch down in Dammam, Saudi Arabia for
about 45 minutes, but I stay on the plane, luckily. I was nervous about Saudi Arabia, since it is the most conservative country in the Middle East. I then have a couple hour layover in Bahrain. I’m on Gulf Airlines, which is nice. I just had to step around one of the flight attendants in the aisle in the empty second part of the first class cabin to get to the bathroom. He was on his prayer rug saying the afternoon prayer. Only in this part of the world would you see something like that….
I don’t know if it’s my white skin or the fact that I am one of only a couple of women on this flight (I actually only saw one other female passenger), but they moved me up to first class, which is fabulous! The flight is only 5 hours to Dammam, but I get to stretch my legs and spread out. The flight is full of Nepali men, probably going to Bahrain or other Gulf cities for work. Several of them have been watching me intently. This is probably the first time on a plane for a lot of them, judging by the way
they struggled to find their seats and picked through their meals.
I can’t wait for Dubai! Too bad Dre’s flight has already been delayed. She got stuck at JFK, of all places. You always expect problems once you get to the more remote areas of the world, but JFK?? I wonder what happened. Luckily I got an email from Mike this morning telling me she’ll be coming in a day late, since we had plans to meet at the airport.
The next few days are going to be a lot of fun—a conference called Women as Global Leaders, amazing food, beaches, camel races, souks, and some of the world’s hottest dance clubs. I’ve been craving a visit to Dubai for years, ever since I had a couple of friends live there and tell me how much fun it is. Bring it on!
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