This question has been haunting me lately, ever since I realised the truth about my neighbourhood, affectionately known by its inhabitants as Little Karachi. I had been wondering for awhile what was up with the refreshment shop near my building. There was a lot of coming and going, blacked out windows, customers of all walks of life, or so it seemed. I wondered from time to time if I might be missing out on a delicious lunch by never checking out their menu. Yet whenever I got a glance inside, there seemed to be very little in the way of actual refreshments going on, other than shisha.
One day I saw some of the ladies who appear to work there near my building, peering into one of the tiny accommodations housing a couple of the fellows who staff the shops and laundries nearby. For some reason I felt seized with a sudden protective feeling, and that is when it hit me: the refreshments they are serving at the shop near my house might not be of the food and drink variety. They might be another sort of refreshment altogether.
All of a sudden the entire operation made sense, and I felt very foolish for the 18 months I'd accepted what it said it was at face value.
I mentioned this to a friend, who laughed and said she'd heard there were loads of such refreshment shops in my neighbourhood. In fact many people, perhaps even those of the law enforcement variety, seem to know about the "rosy hue" of my neighbourhood.
The more I learn about the UAE, the less I know.