Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Al Salam Street, Abu Dhabi

It is warm in Abu Dhabi, but the heat doesn't seem to bother any of us as much as it did last summer.
Still, we spend most of our time indoors. Rounds of R.I.S.K., Monopoly, and "Hide and Seek" are played over and over lately by the children.
Villa by villa our neighbors are beginning to return from a summer spent elsewhere. M and I are enjoying weekend evenings dining and talking with them again.

In many ways I have it quite easy in Abu Dhabi. Once a week our large villa is thoroughly cleaned for a very reasonable price. (The people who clean it are a lovely husband and wife from Sri Lanka. They charge me 30 dirhams per hour, which is equal to about $8 per hour; although I pay them about double that, it is still a great deal less than the going rate in the U.S.) We also have our cars washed every morning for the fee of $27 per car per month.

I got very sad news recently from the hardworking man who washes our car. His wife, only 25 years old, died very suddenly back in India of Typhoid Fever. He has a five-year-old son who now lives with his grandmother.

"I bet she was very beautiful," I said to him.

"She was," he said. "Soon I will show you a picture of my son."

"I am so sorry I don't know what to say," I said.

"Just say a prayer," he said quietly.

The photo above, by M, is Al Salam Street, a road I frequently take to get to the "heart" of the city. In the center of the picture is a very large portrait of the late H.H. Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan, founding ruler of Abu Dhabi (on the right, with sunglasses), and H.H. Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the U.A.E. and ruler of Abu Dhabi.

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