Friday, January 25, 2008

A Space All My Own

The living/dining room. It's huge though you can't really tell here. I sit in that black chair and work at a small computer table behind it. The dining room table offers plenty of space for research materials.
I call this my yoga hall. When I lie on the rug and stretch my arms all the way out, they don't touch the walls. The kitchen is the first space to the right, my bedroom and bath the second right. If you come visit, you'll stay in one of the rooms to the left. Your bathroom is at the end of the hall.
My bedroom has vast closet space, shelves, and drawers. One reason I'm delighted by the 12 foot ceilings and huge rooms is that in the States, I live--with my husband and pets--in a shoe box. Overflowing with books, stacks of papers, magazines, and the other quirky stuff of life, our house doubles as office and workshop space--and a crash pad for our two daughters and friends, when they're around.

Virginia Woolf wrote A Room of One's Own. I've had a room but never a whole apartment of my own--with nothing in it except my writing and reading materials. And comfy couches, beds, and good table space. Nobody else's books, magazines, photos, trinkets, or clutter lives here.

Earlier tonight I was g-chatting with my daughter, Colette, telling her I heard people moving in upstairs. So far the quiet--I adore silence-- has been stunning, except during the call to prayer, which isn't getting me up every morning anymore. I still wake up but I go back to sleep, jet lag having faded away.

I wrote Colette what I was hearing upstairs--luggage rolling, loud voices speaking Spanish, and heavy feet on the tile floors. I have been so spoiled here, the only other occupant of this six-apartment building being a guy I never hear and have only seen when, as he opens his car door out front every morning at 7 AM, I sometimes peek at him out my window.

Colette said, "I wish I could see what your place looks like."

I decided to post a few interiors.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

In Dubai

Jumeirah Park.
Indoor skiing at the mall
The tallest hotel in the world
Old fashioned dhows (boats) used to transport goods.
Men going to work.
This place is growing soooo fast. They're creating islands in the sand to house 300 skyscrapers. Here are a few of the creek that divides Dubai. The boats are still used for export--out to the Persian Gulf and beyond. Dubai will soon boast the tallest building in the world. Already it claims the tallest hotel, pictured above--it hovers out over the water. There are no rooms, only suites, and they START at 3 grand a night. The place is booked solid. More than 80 percent of the world's cranes are here, and in use. At the soon-to-be-tallest building, a floor gets finished in between 1 and 5 days. There will be 158 floors--and the building is constructed so that if another country gets competitive and tries to go taller, Dubai can add more floors, easily.

Monday, January 14, 2008

More photos

Indoor mall
Indoor mall

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Photos From the Car

This is half a billboard; the other side shows the Lincoln Memorial with Abe lying back, his head resting on a pillow. It's an ad for Qatar Airways, which I enjoy flying. Give me a plane over a car--any day. In Doha, plan to spend a lot of time in cars.
I don't know what this is about, but I really like the billboards in Doha--only wish I weren't always zooming by them in a car with a driver I can't ask to stop so I can get a better shot; we'd get rear-ended.
At a traffic light, two school-uniformed girls romp in the back seat. This one blows something like cotton candy out the window with a little tube. Her friend blows out the other window.
On a mini-break.
Pipes and cranes and rubble . . . everywhere.
Doha from a distance.
Most buildings are beige, not green.

Villagio Mall

I'm sitting in a red-walled wifi cafe (yes) in a Doha mall, called Villagio, known for its indoor canal and high-end shops. Cross up and over a bridge to get to the other side. Feel like a canal boat ride? Gondoliers are at the ready. Skating anyone? There's also an indoor rink, surrounded by shops. The mall ceiling--painted blue sky and wispy clouds.
Desert. What desert? SEE PHOTOS IN LATER POST.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Photos from Doha

This area will be full of residential compounds within 2 months. Work happens 24/7 and
the construction crews come from Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Egypt, and other countries.
It's the call to prayer from this minaret on the left that awakens me every morning at 5 AM. I like the sound of the live voice--it's plaintive and haunting. There are three in hearing range.
This is the view out the front of my apartment building. Come visit me in my lavish quarters--three bedrooms, three baths, huge plush couches, 2,000 tv channels and, uh,
lots of them, well, not for children or prudes. I'm watching Al Jazeera's coverage of the primaries. Fascinating.
The view out one of my bedroom's windows.
This is the entrance to my gated compound, taken from a fast-moving car. Almost everyone living here works at Qatar University--we're a mix of Arabs from other countries and Ex-pats.

Hi Again:
Everything here is fab except for my computer access.
The Chinese would call it a broken day, at least in terms
of cyberactivity. Otherwise, a super day. Had the first
student meeting and they are wonderful young women.

An ex-pat American and an Egyptian boyfriend took me
to an Arab fair late this afternoon (we're 8 hours ahead here).
We drove over with a fully-covered woman (nikab) and her four-year-
old son. He took one look at me and burst into tears. I terrified

I learned a bit about some deeper aspects of life in Doha.
Fascinating and just the tip. I'm in love with the relief patterns
on the stucco walls and with everything here. Maybe I was a
bedouin in a former life. 9:30 PM and I'm off to meet some of my
compound mates who have wireless! Yes. It's the first night
of the weekend here.

Keep in touch.

In the desert

I'm at Qatar University and only have one minute to post.
No Internet in my palatial apartment--but three bedrooms,
three baths, huge kitchen, dining, and living rooms.
Photos--of my apartment, views from the window
and a few other things--coming soon.