Abu Dhabi Part 2

Part B:
It’s the end of the day so I’m waiting to go to the dance studio to figure out when my capoeira/hip-hop/contemporary class will begin. I’ll write while I wait.
The Air India desk in Mumbai said that I had to go to the Air India desk in Dubai in order to change my ticket. The problem was that Air India doesn’t have a desk in the Dubai airport. They gave me the number for their office in Dubai. You can make free phone calls from the airport to anywhere in Dubai and Abu Dhabi so Alex said there was an office in Abu Dhabi. This traveling was very up in the air; pure adventure.
On the bus ride, after talking a bit, and before falling asleep, I got to see some of the amazing architecture of the UAE. The buildings are huge; no two buildings are alike. I also got to see the tallest building in the world, albeit from afar. Their metro stops were gorgeous, everything was clean, we passed a hotel that’s in the sea, it was a very surreal experience.
I finally got to the bus stop, took a cab to their house and hugged Caxias really hard. There was another capoeira mestre there from Belgium (he’s Brazilian and lives on the Holland Belgium border). Our discussions about the world began and continued throughout the week, each of us taking turns saying what it’s like in our respective countries. Between myself, Caxias, Alex, Mestre Tyson, and Contra Mestre Zamis, we speak 8 languages and have experience of living in more than 8 countries. It was an interesting and awesome cultural exchange. I also got to meet their baby Kaike. He’s 8 months old, smiles, laughs, bites fingers and is almost walking.
On a more serious side, I did feel a little out of place. It was a little difficult for me to go from one country to another; they’re beyond different. The buildings are huge, the cars are huge; I don’t think I saw a car that was over a year old. They’re all Mercedes, BMWs, luxury cars; I think I saw at least 8 Porches during the trip. The amount of money the country has is beyond belief. I couldn’t bring myself to waste food. I shut the tap off while washing my hair in the shower (although it felt amazing to take a shower in a real bathroom). I made sure that I drank all my water. My stomach also felt a little out of place. I’m confused on why my stomach never felt weird coming to India, but going to Abu Dhabi, eating foods I’m much more familiar with, my stomach was not happy. I relished in different cheeses, salad, mixed nuts, and the Brazilian food Caxias made. Not hearing honking was a pleasant side effect of my travels. Another great break was sleeping in air conditioning with no mosquitoes.
Abu Dhabi isn’t really a place to go sight seeing. If I go back, I’ll have to go to Dubai. We tried to go to the Sheik’s palace but it was closed. We also sat on the beach for a while at a café. There are different rules on the beach, you can’t walk off the sand without a shirt on, there’s a “private beach” that costs 10 Dirhams, which is just enough to keep the Indian workers away. The beach, anywhere, is absolutely beautiful. It’s partitioned so that you can’t swim past a certain point. Everything seems really well monitored. The city or country is actually only 20% or so native Emeritis, the rest are all expats; many of them are Indian.
Caxias’ capoeira group was great. There was only one person from there. There was an Iraqui-Scotsman, an Irish woman, a Lebanese-Canadian, a French girl, a Duch guy, a Jordanian who had lived in UAE his whole life. It’s diverse to say the least. Everyone was extremely nice. It made me happy to know that such great people surrounded my friends. Of course the capoeira was great. It was nice to be around my style of capoeira, but made me realize how much of it I’ve lost. It’s ok, I’ll train again, and get good again. It was a successful trip. The strike for Air India ended on Saturday so my flight left early Sunday morning without any problem. I felt at home again in the airport waiting with a bunch of Indians to board the plane. Of course the plane was late. I had mini fears about getting back into the country, but the only things the immigration guy asked me were about what NGO I worked for. He seemed happy, as do most Indians, that a foreigner is helping out in India.
I hopped into a rickshaw in the Mumbai heat to my friend’s house to nap and then go to Dharavi. I haven’t been in almost 3 weeks. Many of the kids are in their villages, but it was great to see the ones who were there. From there I took the train to the bus back to Pune. On the way I met Gaurav who is from Uttar Pradesh who just moved to Pune a month ago for work. Although my eyes were droopy (the flight and time difference allowed for 2 hours of sleep) we spoke throughout the ride until he realized my exhaustion and said I should rest.
Back in the office, I walked up to our door to see Susie’s smiling face in the window. It was nice to have her back. She was gone for 2 months due to reapplying for her visa. She’s back from the US. She bought me tortillas and coffee (both hard to find items around here). I also found out that a friend of mine got engaged over the weekend when he went home; his family insisted. He’ll marry a girl who he knew in his childhood, but whom he hasn’t seen in many years. He said he was scared at first but now he’s ok. Now I feel as if I’m home. I also feel at home because I got to wake up to mosquitoes and their bites. The funny thing (although not a ha-ha funny thing) is that I missed this place. I didn’t feel homesick for New York, I felt homesick for Pune. The homesick feeling came on Sunday night when I got to talk to my mom for a while. I don’t remember the last mother’s day I was away. I’ve sufficiently overstayed my office time and must be off. I hope that’s enough to keep you all reading for a few days. I might be out of topics again soon, so please feel free to tell me what else you want to know. Until then, I’ll be enjoying my tortillas. My menu tonight is bean tacos ☺

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