INGULFED

(Notes for the Abu Dhabi Bar Mitzvah)

Archive for synchronicity

Miss Dial and Mr. Right

The United Arab Emirates, I am certain, has the highest ratio of wrong numbers dialed in the entire known universe. If Yellow Book made a guide for Abu Dhabi, it would have every number on one page with the heading: JUST GUESS. At least once every day, I answer calls from India, from Senegal, and from all over the Emirates unsure if I’ve ordered something or could somehow be the least bit useful to the mumbler on the other end of the line. Because of language barriers and the fact that everyone in the UAE is actually calling all the same people, you’re never sure until you’re asked: “Sanjay?”
No. This isn’t Sanjay.

Text messages rain in from banks, clubs, stalkers, vampires (just guessing about the last two), often divulging more information than they should because you’ve got someone’s old number. Your statement is ready for the Dubai Islamic Bank account beginning 4299 and ending 8654. Even banks have trouble finding Mr. Right.

Or maybe this is actually the vanguard of sketchy advertising. Hey! That’s not me, I can see myself saying. But you guys do text message banking? I’m listening.

The Abu Dhabi Film Festival, too, tests the limits of ethical sales tactics with its website — complete with the single most aggressive shopping cart in the whole wide web.

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Cabs — تاكسيات

UPDATE 19:30, September 17th: The Epilogue

UPDATE 22:00, September 18th: The Post-Epilogue

A study once revealed the hippocampi (thought to be major memory centers in the brain) of London cab drivers to be much buffer than those of non-cabbies. Abu Dhabi taximen are a step above. Or sometimes not.

The huge blocks in the city, spaced about a kilometer apart, are interlaced with a patchwork of little unnamed backstreets that run like neverending parking lots through garages and alleyways. Addresses, then, in this city free from zip code and street number, take a much different form. Our western obsession with the numerical exactness of the address is replaced with the “rural route”, which relies on landmarks and major street names: Apartment X, Geneva Laundry bldg. Khalidiya Street, across from Kentucky Fried Chicken. ّWell that’ll get you going in the right direction. After all, the “ad” in address means “toward” — isn’t that enough?

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