Sunday, 3 June 2007

Domesticity, Art and Transport

Hello Dubai

I have just arrived, somewhat reluctantly, in that role encapsulating modern global living of the trailing spouse. I seem to be near a creek which I can just about see if lean at a dangerous angle over the balcony. The population out of my window seems very much like my hood in East London so apart from the heat it's not that different.

There is no furniture in my huge flat except a fridge, a cooker, a bed, a desk and two chairs. It's a bit like being in a squat. However, there are two bathrooms which means that for the first time in my life I have my own exclusive bathroom so its all not all bad. All I need now are some curtains and a job.....

So as befits my new and hopefully temporary status, and to address a key part of the unfurnished problem, I have got seriously domestic and am making four sets of curtains out of Saris. Given that this area is more like being in South East Asia than the Middle East there are cheap textiles everywhere so I decided to buy my Saris from my new favourite shop called 'Moral Trading'. I am now the proud owner of a plastic bag with MORAL in huge letters on one side and the equivalent in Arabic on the other. Who needs Prada?

At the weekend we headed down to catch the last few days of the Sharjah Biennial. Given my own artistic interests I was pleased to see it addressing environmental themes but somebody really should have worked on the minor signage. Despite banners advertising the event down most main roads in Sharjah, trying to find the venues proved impossible. The maps in the event brochure were next to useless, there were no street signs indicating venues and the taxi driver as well as passers by had never heard of the Sharjah Art Museum! One can only conclude that the event doesn't want to attract anyone who doesn't already know where it is and can drive there! This is a shame because it just makes the whole thing seem like a PR exercise and does not encourage newcomers to attempt to visit it again.

Luckily we did get to experience the permanent interactive installation that is Sharjah bus station. Absolutely mad... again more like being in a teeming south Asian city except there was a completely cool old Hajji enforcer with a big stick stopping the crowds rushing the bus when the doors opened and dragging them off physically if they got on. This seemed mainly to ensure the observance of positive discrimination for women which is very, very useful. ...... if you're female you can just go straight to the front of the massive and unruly bus queue and get on the bus first! Excellent although very understandable... hardly any women use public transport anyway and I was certainly the only whitey that had been on that bus for a very long time!

With the Sharjah Biennial theme still in mind I was very happy to have the existence confirmed of the Dubai recycling truck .... though it is not yet clear to me exactly what it does...

1 comment:

  1. perhaps we could get the ol hajji to speak to the Biennale transport coordinators