Sunday, October 08, 2006

Attawie in UAE

Finally, I made it and reached to my parents in UAE. Though it's a visit-visa but it will do for this coming three months. As I landed in Sharjah airport, I felt nothing. Only the urge to go out and tell my parents I arrived safely. It was my first time to fly all by myself. It was a huge step for me. I even didn't let my sister accompany me to the airport in Jordan. A friend drove me there and said goodbye and that was it. I was completely alone.

It was only less than an hour after Fotoor time (after the sunset when Muslims break their fast). Streets were empty just like the empty airport. After the weight thing and the departure stamp, I headed to gate 11, which was still locked. I sat there where I found only an old black man reading a book. Every now and then, a group of bearded man would come to the praying area, which happened to be about five meters away from my chair.

I was wearing a jeans and navy shirt with a white sport shirt. My violin and my handbag were on the next chair. I had the Holy Qura'an with me in the bag but I preferred to read The Harlequin, a gift from Melantry (thanks Mel), I thought I would read Qura'an on the plain. My head was covered with a white bandana with a zillion Adidas written on it.

I never knew why the religious men kept frowning at me on their way in and out from the Musalla (a room for praying in a public place). Was it my outfit in Ramadan? Was it the English book I read instead of Qura'an? Was it the devilish violin, which they consider as a blasphemous instrument? I could never tell. All I know is that I didn't like the looks and they were everywhere in the airport so I decided to keep my chair. After about an hour, the number of the people waiting with me became around seven or so. A man came to count us and then checked our passports and tickets and asked the men to board and told us, women, to wait for a while. It was weird because I've heard "Ladies first" my entire life. I called two of my cousins and some friends to say goodbye (including Anarki and the Kid) and then got on the plain.

As I was welcomed to the plain with a smile I looked at my boarding card to know where I was suppose to sit but an airhost told me I'm free to choose my seat. Of course, the first area, A, was only for first class, the second, B, for business class and the other two areas for economic class, E. A and B areas were completely empty. On the other hand, in the first area of E, there was only gatherings of families and most of them if not all were black. Whenever I looked for a space, people start to stare at me. I went to check the rear area, I thought I would find some of the girls who were waiting with me but there were not there. Only the groups of the religious bearded-men with their white clothes were there.

I thought I'd better sit among the nice black people, who would look at me as a stranger, than to sit among these religious men, who would look at me as blasphemous girl.
Before I switched the cell phone I smsed my mother and called my sisters and we were heading to UAE.

The first time I was on the plain I read all the instructions under the seat and checked all the safety commands, including the emergency exits. This time I didn't bother to do so. I just kept looking at the signs guy and listened to the French instructions to refresh my French.

Sitting next to the window, looking at the Iraqi airplanes, I was ready to take off. Though my eyes were full of tears in the dark plane, I never knew if I wanted to go back to Amman or not. I didn't even know I want to stay in UAE. After a while, I kept watching the screen in front of me, looking at the increasing number of altitude, groundspeed, and climate outside the plane. I also watched the path we were taking but don't know why the map was upside-down and we were heading north instead of south. That freaked me out I even thought of asking if we were heading to Turkey or UAE. When we started to land, the map was ok, I saw the Arab Gulf on the map, and I was relieved.

Three black children in the back seat would come and peek at me every now and then. I couldn't understand a word they said but they were definitely came from a Muslim African country because their grandfather kept reciting from the holy Qura'an until we landed.

The food was more than fine; I meant the taste wise, but the quantity? I doubted. However, when I had to eat it was more than enough that I was the last passenger to finish, that I had to call for help to take the tray, which was after the announcement of starting to land.

I'm trying to upload the tray but it's not working. Maybe later.

Next post I'll resume the chapters I started earlier about my journey in Amman and meeting the bloggers.