my older son joseph and i left mumbai early on the twenty ninth. mumbai had been the stop joseph was most concerned about–mostly because i’d be meeting two male friends whom i had never met in person. f2fb friends #244 anto prashanth and #245 rahul guru had worked with me on a website through their company taskseveryday.com and we had often exchanged pictures, videos, favorite songs on facebook. we had “kept up” with each other. but joseph was concerned that one or another of them might want to “date” me which is always unnerving to a young man, to think of his mother as being “date-able”.
dubai was my concern–we were heading into a muslim country with customs i was sure to misunderstand. and with the impeccable fit of my foot and mouth, i was going to get us into trouble. so on the morning of the twenty ninth, we headed for the mumbai airport, with joseph feeling quite upbeat and me being somewhat concerned.
meanwhile, in el ain in the middle of the united arab emirates, f2fb friend #246 cecilia degiolio was getting ready for a cross country drive.
air emirates is an american run airline and it is the most efficient airline i’ve ever encountered. and fashionable. its female flight attendants wear the greatest headgear. i snagged a luggage tag even though joseph and i were living out of a backpack and my carhartts utility bag. that luggage tag makes me look like a world traveler.
at dubai, joseph got detained briefly and the dudes behind the counter were firm but very polite about not letting me join in the conversation. joseph has been having all sorts of problems with his passport because he insists on leaving it in his backpocket when he does laundry. he was regarded askance but ultimately told to leave and we caught a cab. we were a little giddy at having avoided some international diplomatic crisis. i was surprised at how clean dubai is–i think i’d be willing to eat off the highway. . . and i was also surprised at the many portraits of u.a.e. leaders khlifa bin zayed al nahyan, mohammad bin zayad nahyan, and mohammad bin rashid al maktoum that were on display–i had thought islam didn’t allow for portraiture. tells you how little i understand the world and its history!
cecilia taught in the winnetka public schools up until three years ago when she moved to the united arab emirates. she teaches at a girls’ school and she is such a role model for her students. but of course, she was also a role model in winnetka–a little known fact about my town is that martin luther king, jr.’s first public speech to a predominately “white” audience was in the winnetka village green at the invitation of one of the churches. cecilia rallied her students to ask the village to place a plaque in the green to commemorate the speech–i was president of rotary and i asked her to come speak to our members. that’s how we connected, although winnetka is so small there are half a dozen other ways we know each other. but we hadn’t seen each other in forever.
she drove in from el ain because she was concerned that i wouldn’t be able to really manage the trip from dubai to el ain. and she was absolutely right. she came with her beau and fellow teacher victor.
we had a meal together and then cecilia said it was time for me to play with a falcon. i’m not so sure about that getting my eyes poked out thing!
afterwards, joseph and i walked through a field near the airport. there were a lot of stray cats. they asked to go home with me and joseph. whenever i tried to pet them, they curled their backs and hissed at me.
onward to rome, because a girl can’t stay in a country for longer than 24 hours without getting wanderlust. for an agoraphobic, i sure do get around! thank you cecilia for showing me a most beautiful part of the world!!!