Tuesday, June 9, 2009

So many times I can't quite sort out what exactly is going on

... like where everyone lives, exactly. My neighbourhood, dubbed the Water Tank area, is crammed with apartment buildings that like much of Abu Dhabi have shops and restaurants on the main floor. Yet the people who work in those shops and restaurants most likely don't live in the apartments above them, at least I don't think they do, because the rent for those apartments is outrageous.

More likely they live in rooms, cramped spaces, in between the shops and restaurants. (We already know labourers, taxi drivers and many of the other men that fuel the Emirates' development have less than desirable situations going on, and often deplorable ones) I am always catching men coming out of doors – doors they quickly shut whenever they see me – and trying to catch a glimpse inside. Whenever I am successful, I see sinks, bunk beds, shoes, mats – all the signs of people cramped together in not-very-nice quarters with nary a window. And whenever I ask people, say taxi drivers or the guy at the corner store, where they live, they seem to say "a room near Muroor".

Which is why I ponder this, a coat rack, placed in an alley just around the corner from my flat, outside one such door. There are always clothes hanging on it like this. Note the sandals nearby. Someone has left them to turn in for the night.

Can you imagine living in a place so small a coat rack wouldn't fit inside?

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