Friday, May 29, 2009
Chaptette 7: Null Set
I awoke this morning with much on my mind. Better go for a long, leisurely, bike ride to nowhere. This time, no goals, no "nice" numbers, just riding. I didn't even peek at the bike's display panel.
Much. (64.45 minutes at an average speed of 27.6K/H)
Afterwards, lacking the normal vices, I decided to lie out by the pool (it was only about 8.30 a.m.) without any sunblock. I sneer at you, behavioral risk!
Several years ago, at a routine physical exam, I made this pitch to my doctor: "Hey, look, when I was a kid I played lots of tennis, worked on a farm, and served as a lifeguard. I'm sure I've been exposed to 98 percent of the sun that I'll see in my life. At this point, do I really need to worry about sunblock?"
What she said: "Yes."
What I heard: "Don't be a moron."
When we were at The Ritz yesterday, I decided to check out the pool scene there. When I got here, I had fantasies about walking to the beach every morning, going for a little swim, and just enjoying the waves. Yes, that is a fantasy. Even though Doha is on the Gulf, there are no good public beaches here, so if you want the beach experience you buy a day pass from one of the luxury hotels and use their beach/pool. So I had a good reason to check it out. The pool area was glorious: waterfalls, flowers, little reflecting pools, palm trees, and pretty much what you might expect that Brangelina might expect. My synapses really started crackling when I discovered that there were women not wearing veils and drinks not poured from fruit juice bottles. Exit stage left. Besides, it costs 250QR (about $70). That seemed like too much to get wet.
Afterward, Craig and I went to the City Centre Mall: that's where the ice skating rink and a movie theater are. No Qataris were skating, perhaps because they all wear sandels (men) or shoes (women), without socks. Only one Arabic movie was showing, and it didn't have subtitles. I didn't want to see any of the US films (yes, ALL the other 8 or so movies were from the US) so I read and walked around until he got out.
1. City Centre is to Villagio what Dollar Store is to Gucci.
2. All Qataris wear black (women) and white (men). A few women were fully covered (veils, gloves) with no body parts visible at all. A few more wore face scarves with holes for the eyes. Most wore headresses with exposed faces. All the men wear the long white shirt and white headresses with black ties, but there is an infinite variety in their exact cut and style: I assume that Qataris can determine status differences from such things.
3. The easily-identifiable Americans looked just like they do back home: sloppy.
4. I've never been in a place where it is SO obvious who is native and who is not. Even at football games at Razorback stadium, at least SOME locals don't wear Hog hats.
5. I bought a camera.
6. Smoking is allowed. It's now hard for me to believe, but US malls used to be filled with smoke, too. How easily our definition of what is "normal" can change.
7. You can make facts up and post them on the internet. It's easy to do!
I'm thinking of all my family and friends today, and I'm missing them.