Today, by the calendar a Saturday, is by the work week a Sunday. We spent this “Sunday” like good tourists should and discovered a bit more about Dubai.
No, we did not go to the Dubai World Cup, but when we got home we watched on TV and I will cover it in the next post. One word, MAGNIFICENT.
OK, so we decided we would take the metro to Dubai, from Sharjah. The line into Sharjah just opened a month ago.
Maybe I have mentioned the taxi drivers here. They are ALL Pakistanis, and the ONLY people in the entire UAE that do not speak English. If you have ever seen the movie The Terminal, the scene where Tom Hanks answers “do you speak English?” with “Yes” about 8 times, that is a Pakistani taxi driver. Also, they are fresh off the date boat do not know where anything is. I carry a map with me and show them “You are here, here is where we must go” All they say is “Yes” and start off in the wrong direction. They cannot ask for directions of a local because they don’t speak Arabic either, just Hindi. But that’s just what it is. It makes every cab ride an adventure. So today we thought we would give them an easy target. We just said “Metro, Sharjah” Instead of a “yes” we got “No Metro Sharjah”. We tried three cabbies, then gave up and told them to take us to this certain Mosque. We called it by the right name, we showed it to him on the map, and he took us to a mall. No way two white people would be going to a Mosque, right?
Anyway, we got there. It is the only Mosque us Christian white folks are allowed in. (In contrast, I do not know of a single Mormon Temple I can enter) The Mosque was awesome. Every Mosque (and brother, there are so many, and they are so close you can throw a shish kabaob from one to the next) is a bit different. Most are built as family Mosques by a Sheik. Some are little and less audacious than this one.
This Mosque was built by a Sheikh who also funds the Center for Cultural Understanding.
The center has breakfast and lunch meetings where people like ME can go and try to learn something about the Arab/Moslem culture. I intend to attend a few meetings. The guide we had today was an English woman who converted about 15 years ago. She was very professional and quite entertaining. She explained a few things about the dress customs, and the last thing she said was, “besides, it scares people who watch CNN and BBC.”
Anyway, that is it for the Mosque. A’shalam alekuhm.