INGULFED

(Notes for the Abu Dhabi Bar Mitzvah)

Archive for November, 2010

Keepin’ it Rial in Doha

Last Sunday, I decided I’d go to Azerbaijan. Monday, I dropped my passport off at the Embassy (which, to our bad luck stopped issuing visas in the Baku Airport only two weeks ago) hoping to have it back before the weekend. Thursday, I picked it up just in time, and with passport in hand, I was more than ready for a trip Friday to Doha, the capital of every country in the world that begins with the letter Q.

At 4:45 in the morning we left Abu Dhabi by cab for the Dubai budget airlines terminal (flights to Kabul, Baghdad, Peshawar) and our 7:30 am flight. We launched out over the world’s tallest building, the world’s highest concentration of investment bankers, and the dredged archipelago that resembles the world itself, this one parched and abandoned.

And there we were, headed for Doha — or just “Dah,” as our Brit captain said — where the weather is “virtually exactly the same as it is here”. In fact, at first glance, it was like we hadn’t even left the Emirates. Just like in Abu Dhabi, the corniche winds quietly along the waterfront and its well-kept grass. The tall glass buildings, too, are set apart from everything more than four years old. There was a film festival, playing almost identical screenings to the last week’s in Abu Dhabi. And with a flight of exactly sixty minutes and the Qatar time zone one hour slow, we even arrived at exactly the same time we left.
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كريكت — Cricket

[New video down below]

Since time immemorial, men and boys have long relished hitting balls with sticks. Satisfaction and accomplishment have no exemplar more pure than the moment of contact between ball and stick. With his first alphabet, man drafted rulebooks to institutionalize stick ball-hitting in rites like Rounders, which left the Queen’s isles on a boat to make its fame in the New World as Baseball. But before all of this, there was Cricket.

With this in mind, I set out for my first ever cricket match, a benefit for the victims of the floods in Pakistan and contested between the struggling Pakistani national team and the physically much larger squad from South Africa. It was green against light green.

Somehow, in my years of curiosity about “the sport Baseball made more interesting,” I had never been able to learn the rules. But there at the pitch, tutored by a well-traveled American, I had it down in five minutes. And immediately, I knew what was wrong.

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