August 30, 2014
I am just flying through the alphabet. I am writing with the the letter “G” in mind, as I write my way through the A to Z Challenge. I’d like to thank the host of this challenge, blogger Frizztext for creating this space, reading my blog posts, and leaving encouraging comments. Thank you.
This past week has been very cathartic for me, dear Readers. Not only has this challenge allowed me to sharpen my skills as a writer, it has also enabled me to extricate some of my ghosts that were in dire need of removal.
Al Ruwais was not the first place I lived when I moved to the UAE, nor was it the last; it was merely the longest. The town of Ghayathi has the dubious distinction of being my last place of residence before I unceremoniously flew home to the U.S. It is also the place that holds the most bitter of memories for me. I find that rather strange, dear Readers, given that I had only maintained my address in Ghayathi for a little over two weeks before departing forever, my adopted country.
Whereas Ruwais had been a family orientated town, sans any females after sunset, Ghayathi was a town that seems to have been built to house the male workers who worked the oil fields. And since the fields were worked 24 hours a day, at least six days a week, the town never slept. There was a constant buzz of activity along the main strip of town.
In and of itself, this constant ebb and flow did not bother me. No, what bothered me was the fact that rarely, if ever at all, were there females milling about. Forget loitering, I rarely, if ever, saw a female so much as go to the supermarket. All I ever saw were men.
There were men at the market doing the shopping, there were men at Etisalat paying the internet and cable bills. There were men at the Western Union sending money back home, and there were men at the mosques, five times a day for daily prayers. But where were all the women? Surely, there had to be women residing in Ghayathi, right? Right?
Seriously, there were no women sitting at the cafes, chatting and having a cup of tea. There were no women, gathered in twos and threes, playing with their children at the park. And certainly there were no women walking through the various little shops situated in and around the town square, such as it was. So what gives? Had I truly traveled 7,000 miles around the world, only to discover the world’s only all-male town? I hardly think so. So what is really going on?
I’ll tell you what’s really going on, dear Readers, the women are cloistered. There are women who live in Ghayathi, of course, they just live behind the veil, and then some. Peace. Rather, it’s an uneasy peace, ~v.