Last night I went out to dinner with some of my husband’s coworkers and their spouses. We went to the Al Qasr Hotel, which is know as ‘the palace of the Madinat Jumeirah’. The drive up to the hotel is lined with gorgeous golden horse statuary. It’s life sized. Very impressive.
The company was also impressive. While there was a couple from Spring, Texas, most of the others were from all over the world.
One gal was raised in Paris, lived in Dubai and travels all over the globe opening up duty free shops in airports. One Romanian woman lectured us on how insulting it was to guess a Romanian was from Russia. The Scottish couple showed us how to ‘air kiss’ in the European fashion (both cheeks). The Indian girl and Norwegian girl both drank Cosmos and laughed about “Sex and The City” episodes.
It was a surreal experience. I guess I never thought about what a parochial outlook I had on life. My exposure to the wide world has been limited. Now, I’m living in a cosmopolitan place and befriending folks from all over the world.
Little things are startling me. Like realizing that a South African’s summer and winter are reversed. When they leave Dubai in July and August to head home, they are going into winter weather. I think I knew that the other hemisphere had flip-flopped seasons, but knowing is different from listening to a friend bemoan the difficulties.
Everyone thinks my accent is interesting and wants to know where I’m from. I have to constantly remember that ‘public displays of affection’ are against the law here. It’s a whole new world. New culture, new experiences and new people.
As a writer, I’m a people watcher. An observer. Even an eavesdropper. I’ve been known to troll through a store after a couple watching how they act together, trying to visualize a book character doing a similar thing. I’ve stalked a man in the airport trying to memorize his looks and movement, convinced he was the hero in my next story.
I think that this foray overseas is expanding my worldview. Giving me even more examples of people and places that I can use to inspire my writing. I certainly hope so.