The Kindess of Strangers

A while back I had to take my car for the normal mileage service, but due to unforeseen issues I had to leave it at the service center and had to use public transport (not that I am complaining I actually love walking around for a change.)

When my car was finally ready for collection I decided to do the “unthinkable” and take the bus, to further explain the previous statement, some people tend to look down on public transport and think it’s ludicrous to even bring up such a topic!

Well luckily I am “crazier” than most, after shocking my mom with my announcement that I am going to walk to the bus station and her pleas to get me to reconsider and that she will call my cousins, my friends, anyone just to drop me off! I said no thank you, I am trying the bus for a change and made my way out of the house.

Google maps told me that the closest two bus stops were a 5 minute walk away, I walked to one of them and waited till the bus came and just got on not realizing it was the wrong bus, my bad, but it just took me back around my house and dropped me to the second bus stop (hey at least I got to see two bus stops close to my house, silver linings!)

I waited for around 15 minutes till the bus came around, and funny enough it was the same bus…the driver noticed my puzzled look and he spent the next 20 minutes explaining how a circle route works. It’s a shame that I can navigate public transport abroad better than I do in my own country!

I exited at the metro station for the second leg of my trip and a Filipino lady who was on the same bus was going to the metro station as well, she approached me and she asked me where I was going and I told her to the service center at so-and-so location and she said that she’s going towards that direction and she can help me, I thanked her and told her I am good here as I know my way around the metro, it’s just that I am not used to taking the bus. She just smiled and nodded and walked and stood waiting for the metro to arrive.

Now to those who are not familiar with the Dubai Metro there are different carriages, there’s silver, women’s and children (which is part of the silver section) and the gold carriage which is at the front of the metro, the silver is more economical and bigger while the gold carriage is smaller and you pay 2x the price of the silver.

I have the gold NOL card (that’s the name of the public transport card).

She stood in front of the women’s and children carriage, which belongs to silver. I thought to myself, I always ride gold but I don’t always meet such nice people, so I walked over to her and told her I will sit with her and she had a delighted look on her face.

We chatted for the whole train ride, I found out that she just recently moved to Dubai and that she works as a nurse and she just came from her patients house, and elderly lady, she sometimes cares for toddlers.

It was a nice change to share a conversation with a fellow human being that was completely random and unplanned for. She offered to help me without even knowing me, the least I could do is sit and talk with her.

“When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.”
—The 14th Dalai Lama (1935)

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The Kindess of Strangers

A visit to Emirates Airline Festival of Literature

On Thursday 5th March I decided to visit the “Emirates Airline Festival of Literature” which was held at Intercontinental, Dubai Festival City. The festival is a yearly event and it was held from 3-7 March this year.

I tried my level best to avoid book temptations, but ended up buying 4 books (and got one signed by the author as well!) the smell of books in the air was too strong to avoid, bookaholics beware you -will- spend money at the festival of literature!

After browsing/buying a few books and roaming around the crowds I decided to attend one of the talks offered that day, a panel discussion called “The Sticky Arts of Interpretation and Translation” caught my interest and I went ahead and got my ticket, the hour long panel talk was moderated by Kamal Abdel-Malek and on the panel were Leslie McLoughlin, Yasir Suleiman and Inaam Kachachi.

The panel discussion was very interesting and from the start Leslie mentioned an Italian phrase “traduttore tradittore” which literally means that a translator is a traitor, to highlight the difficulties that translators face, and even Yasir mentioned that a translator is at fault whether he get’s it right or get it’s it wrong.

One of the few valuable nuggets of knowledge that Leslie shared during that session was that a translator must have a high sense and regard to each language he’s translating to, to enable him to translate in an efficient way.

He said one of the difficulties he faced during his early translation years was trying to translate the different forms of the Arabic dialect and carry on the meaning to English. He gave an example of a sentence in Arabic “Ya Shab” which if translated directly would be “Hey Boy” but it won’t carry the intended weight nor meaning of the full text, so he translated it to “Hey young man” and Yasir added that in Scotland “Hey Jimmy” would be the equivalent to that phrase.

Yasir mentioned that the translation must carry the effect from the original text, and this is the tricky part, there’s a word by word translation and a meaning translation, and some things can’t be directly translated. I was very amused when he mentioned that when he flirts he does it in Arabic and how some languages are better suited for a topic than the other.

I liked how Inaam agreed that a translator is a traitor, but it can be a beautiful traitory, as a translator can take a text that she described as “coal” and turn it into a beautiful diamond and sometimes visa versa!

Kamal added that languages can get jealous of each other and the translator can get caught between them.

The panel discussion could have carried on for another hour and I wouldn’t have noticed, honestly I truly enjoyed the session and I learned so many things and they made me think of transnational in a whole different sense.

A visit to Emirates Airline Festival of Literature

“Sailing” into 2015

As the tittle suggests, I celebrated the new year in a slightly different manner than most years. I wanted it to be low key but at the same time with a company of like minded people. I booked an Abra which is a wooden water taxi and sent out an open invite on Instagram to whoever wanted to join the “Instameet”

A few messages back and forth and the total came up to 18 attendees, the Abra capacity is 20 people so I can safely say it was a successful turn up!

We met up at Al Fanar restaurant at 7.30pm for a quick traditional Emirati dinner and then embarked the Abra at 10.30pm, we took a short trip down the creek and then made our way up the creek to the fireworks watching spot, where we watched Burj Khalifa light up the night sky. It was nothing short of stunning and the event is online for all to see at http://mydubainewyear.com/

It was cozy and chilled out, no fancy lights or mile long queues, just a quiet wooden Abra with a fun bunch of people to ring in the new year.

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“Sailing” into 2015