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.


Blogger David said...

Attawie, I am sorry to hear that some men made you feel uncomfortable in the airport and on the plane. It sounds like you were dressed conservatively, including a head scarf, so why would these religious men have a problem? It seems that there are always people who will judge a person based on appearance alone without bothering to even get to know what is in that person's heart!

You are so talented! Art and music! I think that the violin is a really beautiful instrument to listen to. My aunt's husband (who sadly passed away last year) was a professional violinist. It was such a privilege to hear him play! He taught orchestra in a local school for many years, but in the summers he would tour with a famous composer named Henry Mancini. He also did concerts with the actress and singer Julie Andrews. I really liked him and I miss him! I can't believe that the violin could be considered as a blasphemous instrument by anyone! However, there are people in the U.S. who believe that any form of dancing is evil. Some people are just weird in my opinion!

It must be very frustrating for you to have to shuttle between Jordan and the UAE. I hope you can find a place that will welcome you for at least several years. Have you thought about trying to go to graduate school somewhere in Europe or in the U.S.? I think that you would be more qualified than a lot of international students that I met while I was in college!

10/08/2006 9:15 AM  
Anonymous miraj said...

Attawie, so sorry to hear about those annyoing men. You know, while I was traveling from Jordan to Baghdad last week and while heading to the waiting hole before getting to the plane there was a religious man sitting there and since I know they wouldn't like my clothes despite they are not revealing (but you know them, they do not rest until they can not see anything of you) I tried my best to look for a place far from him. I discovered then the man was not even looking at anyone and he did not even bother me when we had to face each other when we waited in another stop before getting the plane. I felt I made a mistake judging that man.
But since I was harassed by similar men even in Sharja I felt it is safer to protect myself.

I wish you all the luck Attawie, I know exactly how it feels to feel you're not settled down.

Take care

10/08/2006 3:47 PM  
Blogger programmer craig said...

Maybe it's good they had the men get on the plane first! Just think if they let the ladies on first and then all those bearded guys sat next to you and gave you funny looks the whole flight!

10/09/2006 4:29 AM  
Blogger Konfused Kid said...

Why should you feel embarrased? I suggest when you run into such people you completely ignore their precious existence, this is the penultimate cure for them.

10/09/2006 5:05 PM  
Blogger aNarki-13 said...

hamdulilah for your safe arrival..

at least its better than landing in Saudi Arabia..:))

Regards to S. and everyone, take your time, make your decisions carefully.

c ya round.

10/11/2006 4:51 PM  
Blogger attawie said...


Thanks for this sweet comment. I'm sorry about your aunt's husband, may he rest in peace. It seems he was something to play with Julie Andrews. I love her. I wish if I can reach the level where I can at least teach violin, but the books I have are all old and I got tired of repeating the same old lessons. In any case, I practice about an hour a day; I'm just trying to keep myself at the same grade and not to lose my finger facility. It's a pity I'm not developing.

I still want to be accepted in a university for graduate studies but it seems hard. I don't have a clear steady income and no residency in any country. Scholarships for Iraqis are granted to those who still in Iraq.
Actually I know I would be accepted in USA because I applied after the war and I was accepted but for many reasons I didn't go and study there.

Welcome here, it's been a while.
These religious men, among all people in the world, should not judge people according to appearance.
Anyway, you left Amman last week? We could have met!

It would be much better if I thought about it like this from the first time.

I will keep that in mind.

Thanks. it is indeed better than landing in KSA.

About S, she is still taking driving lessons and she going to school these days.
take care

10/11/2006 8:14 PM  
Blogger ac blue eagle said...

I like your blog. Sorry for the religious nuts. Seems they are everywhere--think they are all right in their ignorance and hate!

10/15/2006 1:31 AM  
Blogger Michomeme said...

هاي اتاوي شلونج؟؟ مشتاقيــــن..الحمدلله على سلامتج

بخصوص الاسلاميين او المتدينين لا تضوجين نفسج كلمن اله رأيه وشخصيته..مو لو مومو؟؟

10/15/2006 9:51 PM  
Blogger attawie said...

AC blue eagle,
Welcome to my blog. Glad you liked it. Thanks for passing by.

هاي, اني زينه و هم مشتاقه بس النت مو طبيعي هنا, هم بطئ هم الالشاشه مالتي صارلهه كم يوم تحشش. اول شي كانت تقلب اصفر بعدين اخضر و هسه كلش ظلمه

يعني حتى كتابتي مدا اشوفهه غير بالقدره.
سلامي و تحياتي الى الاهل

10/16/2006 12:42 PM  
Blogger programmer craig said...

Who is your big fan in Alaska, Attawie!? I've never seen such a big cluster-dot on that site map from Alaska before :)

10/17/2006 9:20 AM  
Anonymous acblueeagle said...

By the way, you are going trick or treating there, aren't you? I think you friend in the US is.

10/31/2006 5:16 AM  
Blogger David said...

Hi Attawie, I hope to see your new post soon! :)

11/02/2006 9:31 PM  
Blogger aNarki-13 said...

new post.. new post.. :)

11/08/2006 8:44 PM  
Blogger olivebranch said...

hala breem ilfala, shlonich? Ashoofich Kareeban Inshallah!!
- miss you, Luke(y)

and tell me, is breem ilfala in the correct context? :D

11/10/2006 5:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi guys,
I want to post something too but there's hardly time to do so. So, I'll post something short.

"breem ilfala" is correct context. I see you are getting better and better.

11/12/2006 6:53 AM  
Blogger attawie said...

that was me I don't know what's wrong with my blog. I'm trying to post.

11/14/2006 4:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hai i m 23 year old m from pak but now i live in dubai UAE i have job

can you make me your friend (mail me ( call me +971 50 8962427

12/29/2007 12:31 PM  
Blogger attawie said...

Hi Ullahihsanwhp
welcome to my blog.
one of the reasons I started this blog was to make friends. after reading my posts and exchanging comments, I believe we can be friends. I made so many friendship which are so dear to my heart through this blog.

Welcome here

1/03/2008 9:31 PM  

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