Wednesday, May 10, 2006

This computer rendering of Dubai Sports City in theTimes makes Dubai look a bit like Alderaan or something. Then again that's sort of what Dubai seems like on many days.

Sorry, I just took a quick look at the Alderaan entry in Wikipedia. Alderaan was mountains, seas, forests, and plains. Few shining cities, no deserts. I think I perhaps meant Coruscant.


For whatever reason, I get a bit queasy and freaked out when it comes to anything having to do with the physical act of sexual intercourse these days. (Too much information for some of you, I'm sure, but there are important bits of cultural knowledge in this post. Read on...)

To start with the most glaring example, a company is Saudi Arabia recently began marketing a product called Hymen (TM) tightening gel. Today, the company's ad agency showed me the print ads they created: The first was a screw lying inside a nut, but the nut was too big for the screw (or the screw too small for the nut). The second was two scrunchies (elastic hair thingies) laid side by side, in the shape of a -- in the shape of an oval; one is all loose and tattered and frayed, and the other is, well, not. There's a third ad I can't remember, but if I do, I'll let you in on it.

The point is that being able to please their husbands in bed is one of the most important things for Saudi women, and for Arab women in general, because if one can't make one's man happy, he'll go find himself another wife. And when you reach your mid-thirties, and after you've had a few babies, well, this becomes an issue. (Of course, this raises the question of the success rate of penis-enlargement spam in this part of the world....)

Hymen (TM) flew off the shelves when it was first introduced last year. The company could not keep up with production.

The point is, when I first heard about this, it made me uncomfortable just thinking about it.

Another thing -- and perhaps this is not so freaky, but it still made me uncomfortable. Durex, in addition to condoms and lubricant, now markets little vibrating thingies sold in a plastic package. I have not brought myself to buy one or inspect the package closely, or maybe I did and blocked it out, but I believe these to be ring-shaped. They're for sale right near the cash register at the convenience store within my office complex. Sadly, I guess this means sex toys are no longer in the realm of the adventurous. (Most of them remain firmly within the realm of those getting laid on a regular basis.)

Hymen tightening gel and convenience-store vibrating cock rings.... It all sounds a bit like science fiction, like something from Coruscant.
I started driving. It's not so bad, but the city's so big and spread out, it's a big pain in the bum going to meetings and stuff. I had a meeting at 9:30 today on the other side of town, and then I "stopped by" for a quick cup of tea without another guy on the way back. (The thing about cars is, you have to find a place to park them.)

I'll have to buy a car once I get legal. For now I'm tooling around in the company's BMW. This is not as stylish as it sounds. The radio's broken and it won't go above 90 on the dial, so the only two stations I can get are BBC World Service and the local Indian station, where the announcer speakrs in a hybrid of English and Hindi. Seriously, the guy just switches in and out effortlessly and, it appears, quite randomly. Sort of like most Arab yuppies do, in fact. I'm not sure if this linguistically counts as a creole, or if it's just randomly speaking two languages.

Monday, May 08, 2006

I have many blog reflections but lack the time to flesh them out fully. Like: Chemistry's a funny thing. I had a friend in Cairo with whom I had a fair amount of that. But it never really mattered for a bunch of reasons. When we met, I was engaged and she was just getting over a broken engagement. Then my engagement unexpectedly ended. For a few days, neither one of us were engaged. Then I flew to Prague and Kiev and while I was away, she got back together with her ex-fiance. Now she's engaged and I'm just getting over a broken engagement. Our timing's always wrong, she said. Indeed. Absolutely nothing ever happened, which is a good thing because she'll only marry a Muslim and it's safe to say the two of us have very nearly incompatible value systems. So I was glad and not glad at the same time. Sometime's the timing off, sometimes the outlook on life is all off, sometimes everything's all off but you can't deny there's something you can't quite put your finger on, which I guess is what people mean when they say "chemistry." That's the only point I'm making. I wish I could say more. I would say more, but it would take a while to tell the story properly.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Sure, I guess there's plenty to blog about, but where to start? Like the fact that one beer costs 163 Czech crowns, and yesterday I went for a walk mid-day during 40-degree (104 Fahrenheit) heat -- and that's a cool day for Dubai -- before getting a ride in a Bentley to the Mall of the Emirates where I watched people skiing at the bottom of the indoor ski slope. Stuff like that.