On Recap of 2007 and Such

2007 was one of the best years of my entire life.

Ok allow me to rephrase that, 2007 was THE best year of my life.

Let’s rewind. My New Year celebration wasn’t an ideal one to say the least. Stranded in Saudi, locked in a furnished apartment, working at a job with an abusive mental streak were all signs that 2007 wasn't going to be a good year. At 12:01 1/1/2007, I wished myself a happy new year, made a mental toast to myself and new beginnings, prepared my new year resolution and went to a soundless sleep.

The dead-end job, being expated in Saudi were all too much for a person like me to bear. I called Royal Jordanian, pushed back my ticket, packed my bags and literally escaped under the dark cover of early morning.

It doesn’t end here.

I continued to work from Jordan with the same sadistic assholes. Little did they know that I am a very proud individual with a vengeful streak and an unforgiving attitude. So one day I was haggling with my boss, who decided to cancel our break time and push back leaving hours by one hour to save one hour of electricity usage (I shit you not), the other I was in Kuala Lumpur, enjoying the vacation of a lifetime. All their calls to me to know where the hell I am were unanswered and all their demands of important files to be sent were uncalled for.

In Kuala Lumpur I acted like my jackass self the best. I pretended to be a loud Italian tourist and run into Malays asking them “Por favore sinore, zinglabto gallabto” which translates to nothing at all. The Malays would look at me in pure, fearful astonishment. One of them even ran away and I started chasing him as my tourism mate cracked up. Other misadventures include getting hit on by an Iranian girl (note to all Iranian women, please learn some English, we really like you but would like you more if we used something other than body language to communicate), and a fat snake coiling around my mate’s neck.

Then I moved to Dubai. Much of my feats in Dubai are documented in this blog around the time I came. I visited Saudi Aramco, and saw what it really means to be taken care of, visited Oman, which is such a beautiful country that I hope to visit again, vacationed in Jordan and visited Petra the new world wonder, got my license, attended concerts, weddings, socialized, got my car, and most importantly, got a life.

In short, my new year’s resolution in a dark, stagnant room in the middle of the desert came true.

Here’s to another great year.


On Weddings and Such

Weddings are the most complex social setting in which any person can be. And you’d think that things would be different in Dubai, but apparently they are universally the same.

Let me paint a picture for you.

Children lying on the dance floor wailing, chasing each other with flowers while their mothers run after them to lock them in their baby trolleys, though the wedding invitation card clearly states in bolded font that they should be in bed by now, girls posing with each other for pictures, then not too long afterwards end up badmouthing and shooting each other hateful glances depending on who ends up dancing with the most eligible bachelor, (usually me), and boys ogling the lady guests who are looking amazingly beautiful like they never thought they could be.

It is no secret that I become my biggest jackass during weddings.

Me: Yeah, that’s nice. A little to the left, now smile. No wider a bigger smile. Ok now give me your nicest model look.
Girl smiles so hard that you feel her dress is about to burst.
I flip the camera, smile my biggest smile and photograph myself.
Me: Here you go. This looks nicer. Ha ha (walking away)

Kids are also fun to hang with and toy around with. They’re too damn cute with their tiny outfits and white dresses so as not to annoy them.

Me: Ok kids. 1…2…3… CHHEEEESE
Me: Ok kids let’s make this a little more fun. Let’s do some gangster signs
Kids look baffled at me and the leader of the group for explanation.
Me: Ok just do this with your fingers (Making “W” signs with free hand)
Kids oblige.
Me: Ok say WEESSS’ SIDE!!
Me: hehehe. Ok whatever (snapping a couple of pics)

Just as the guests start to fret around waiting for the bride and groom to make their grand entrance, the bride and groom make their grand entrance. The cheesy first dance starts with Bryan Adams or Richard Marx singing some bullshit song of how eternal and inevitable love is.

And I thought they only met twice before getting engaged.. But hey, who am I to judge?

People get up, people dance, people huddle around the bride and groom, the groom’s father dances like an ass, the groom’s mom dances like an ass. Circles are formed to dance dabke on a Fares Karam song, Nancy Ajram hollers some cheesy yet inevitably cute dance song.

Finally, the buffet, just as stomachs are staring to groan and legs starting to ache. The best timing to mingle and hit on new people and let new people hit on you.

Girl carrying a plate with a pickle and a loaf of bread.
Me: Yum, yum. Pickle sandwich, my favorite.
Girl: hehehehehe
The after-buffet phase is the best. Things become hot and heated, with everyone dancing like an ass, the songs much more intense, the movement much more deliberate and sensual.

Till the lights come out, and the bride and groom nervously dismiss the guests.

Happy mating.


On Justin Timberlake, Holiday Season and Such

So if you live in the UAE and haven’t heard that Justin Timberlake is coming to town you are one of two things:

1- You queue on Fridays for hours in front of Indian cinemas to watch the newest release for Aishwarya Rai and Amit Batchan and think bushy mustaches are cool.


2- You come back from work and roll your blanket around yourself and watch reruns of desperate housewives and spend hours in front of the peep hole waiting for your neighbors to come back from work and give them imaginary names.

Or maybe both.

Well, I am neither. I drove 2 hours to Abu Dhabi to attend JT’s performance. Ok honestly it’s not my biggest pride, especially considering the fact that the attendees were as old as my sons and daughters if I had any. But still, it was a thoroughly entertaining experience where JT outperformed himself and any other artist. I signed up for a Pop show, what I got was a mesmerizing rock performance worthy of great names like Guns N’ Roses and Pearl Jam. I am no music critic, this is my opinion. And it really seemed like JT was working his butt off, singing, dancing, entertaining, joking. It was all perfectly coordinated and choreographed, the lights, the dancing, the images on the TV screens. Even the organizers did a great job of getting 13,000 people in and out safely which I can see was done above anyone else’s expectations. So thanks y’all

On a different note my parents are coming to visit this holiday season to check on their one and only rocking son in Dubai. So if anyone from Jordan wants to send their relatives in UAE thyme, a bag of onions or potatoes, or olive oil please feel free to bother my happily-near retirement parents at …But seriously, if you want to send such things as money transfers, cute, unknowing girls feel free to contact me and I’ll give you direction

You know what that means. It means no matter what I do, no matter what I say, or hard I work to please them, I will always come out the loser. The endless interviewing of when will I get married how much am I saving the job, the career, the women, the ‘you need to get this’, the ‘you need to do that’ that will inevitably derail to whining of how hard it was raising me in a foreign country, the toys and cartoons I got as a kid, the education, then the breakdown into blackmailing tears.

Yet still. I can’t wait to get them from the airport. And I can’t wait to be my parent’s host for the first time in my life. The idea of being the one in control for a change is thrilling in itself.

It means I can drive them to the desert claiming to take them to a lavish resort and leave them there as payback for all the abuse I was exposed to as a child.

No, I'm kidding.

I’ll make sure to make them proud. I know they will be..


On Road Trips and Such

Every college dude has this one spectacular road trip that he verged unknowingly into in which it eternally changed him spiritually, emotionally, and in some unfortunate cases, physically.

My personal road trip took me all the way across the hemisphere to Uncle Sam's turf. Cowboys and Indians, peasants and pilgrims. It would've been a culture shock except that was my fourth (and hopefully my last) trip there. The shock perpetrated from the close interaction I had with the locals, if such a term can be applied in a politically-correct manner.

I worked as a door-to-door salesman. Not the most prestigious or dignified job, but I don't think anyone's first job should be. Sometimes I wake up from nightmares saying things like "Hi my name is Sami. I am a.." But I thank God that I didn't work as a mascot for some tacky hot dog restaurant.

Those were the good days for Arabs pre 9/11. To make things worse, and to prove my point that I attract unwarranted trouble, 9/11 occurred while I was there. 2 of my road-trip mates had similar names to the hijackers. One was not so lucky and faced serious problems which he inadvertently dragged me into. Flyers to Milan refused to fly on the same plane with him since they noticed he had Arabic features. We met by coincidence in JFK airport, where he introduced me to his friends from the FBI. I was interrogated, scrutinized and ran the risk of missing my eagerly-anticipated flight to Milan and then back to Amman.

I was done with the US. For good, I'd like to think.

There is no one story to tell. I went across 4 different states, 2 different countries, 8 cities and uncountable stories and memories in California, New York, Detroit, Tennessee, Los Angeles, Nashville, Manhattan, Bronx, Memphis, Lancaster, San Bernardino and Palmdale.

We first lived in a filthy garage, sleeping on a mattress that 4 Jordanians and a Scottish dude shared. One of the Jordanians had the knack of screaming while sleeping. Another woke me up by banging his elbow to my face, he was yawning. Then we moved to a more lavish, 2-storey house with a typical American family in upper-middle suburbia.

In my job I ran into the craziest shit ever. An Arab who wouldn't speak back in Arabic to me (this became the norm later on) A rottweiler biting the heel of my shoe. Flat bike tires. Falling off bikes and generally bike trouble. Running away from a police car that a lady called on me because I arrived promptly at an appointment I made with her. A black lady high on crack convincing me that God, Jesus and the Virgin were all black-skinned and that white man was the devil and will burn in hell. She proceeded to ask me if there were black people where I come from, I said yes remembering people from Jordan Valley who turn dark from the sun. Another lady claimed that I remind her of Jesus Christ. The worst of the lot was when one day I got bored, so I knocked on a door claiming to be a prophet for a new religion, they slammed the door so hard the wind blew me off. The next day I passed by the house and it was burning to the ground, with fire engines hosing off the fire. I escaped away in my rusty bike, carefully considering the fact that I really might be a prophet.

Sometimes, I wonder how I made it back in one piece.


On Getting a New Car, Islamic Loans, Nancy Ajram and Such

Thus far, getting the car was my most difficult feat in Dubai.

Papers, signatures, cheques, down payments, checkups, mechanics, car salesmen are all a natural recipe for disasters.

I searched all over 3 different emirates for a very particular car.

No one said I wasn’t a flamboyant ass.

The search took me a whole month of commuting, scouring newspapers, calling, haggling. Finally, when I found the car that I set my eyes on since coming here, I was faced with all sorts of different debacles.

Car Salesman: What bank is your account with?
Me: Name an anti-Islamic, interest-gargling, pure profit-oriented, anti-religion bank
Car Salesman: Sorry that won’t work out, you need to take an Islamic loan, I'm an old man and I don't want to get mixed with haram money.

Not that I have anything against that, on the contrary, I tend to respect people who adhere to their beliefs in the midst of all the debauchery and tempation going on. But if you wanna come down to it, it is all the same, only a difference in naming.

I hope to have the luxury of pinning down everything on the greedy, fake-smiling, suit-dressing, over-sized watch wearing jerks at the bank on Judgement Day. After all, they are the ones with the beards and prayer mats.

And since you’re all wondering what car I treated myself to, I got an Audi A4. Very beautiful car with all sorts of needless options that I will most probably never figure out. I called her "Aida" and am known for singing "Aida, Aida, ecoutez-moi" in my coarse voice while driving.

What a leap from my previous car, that was a 90 something beat-up Lancer that had a knack for breaking down in the middle of the road on rainy days with brown, boiling water popping from the radiator threatening to eternally scathe my model looks, as other driver pointed at me and laughed.

Car Salesman (smugly): You Jordanians love BMW (as if it needs a rocket scientist to figure that one out)
Me: Yes, but I am an unlikely Jordanian. HA HA HA
Car Salesman(fake laughter): HA HA HA
Me: HA HA! Together, we will rule the universe, as Car Salesman and Buyer, MuwahA HA HA!
Car Salesman(more fake laughter): Ha ha. What did you just say?
Me: Errr.Nothing.

I wanted to make sure that no one guesses my nationality by my car so that when I cut on someone he wouldn't say something along the lines of "effing Jordanian/Palestinian", the way I know when I see a BMW 320i vroom-vrooming on Jumeira Road, that it has a Jordanian owner, or when I see a Peugeot 206 with a drop-top that the owner is Lebanese (damn, you love your drop-tops, don’t ya?), or when I see Corollas or Accords or Altimas, well, you know.

So now I’m zooming around, hitting the kick down, flicking radio stations like a maniac since I have the luxury of doing so using my steering wheel, making “W” signs with my fingers mouthing “Wes’ Bank” to passer-bys as I listen to blaring hip-hop music and trashy Arabic music for the likes of Nancy Ajram and Tamer Hosni.

There goes my to-do list for this year. Actually, there remains one last thing.

Nancy Ajram, will you marry me? I promise to give you the remote control and feed you twice a day.


On Business Trips and Such

Business trips are the most lonesome time for any guy

It’s at these times, when you’re alone in a lavish hotel room, room service a button away with hundreds of TV channels half of which you don’t understand the languages spoken that a man entertains his darkest thoughts..


But aside from that, it’s always a pleasure to go to new places and meet new people.

My latest trip was to Oman. And even though I hold an unjustified, personal grudge against Oman, I must say that it is a very beautiful country with super-friendly people.

So on the subject of business this is a compilation of what doing business with all sorts of nationalities looks like. Please note that this list is made to be as offensive and racially insulting and discriminating as possible. If you do not have the bile to accommodate such nonsense, then what the hell are you doing here in the first place?


Egyptian: Hi I am Mahmoud. How are you? How iz za health? How iz za family? Yez, Mistar Sami I want ze product delivered yesterday at 4am in za morning ibleez.
Me: Whaaaa?
Egyptian: And you are not allowed to use a comboyutar.
Me: Whaaaa?

Egyptians love to negotiate. They just negotiate for the hell of it because there is nothing better they can do. They also love to make unrealistic demands and false deadlines.


Lebanese: Wow, I love your tie. Where is from? No, don’t tell me. Mmmmm. Massimmo? (proceeds to flip the tie, I shudder at the proximity and at the possible homosexual innuendo) My friend’s brother has a tie exactly like it. He wore it when we went to the club Triology. You know Triology? Yeah I go there every Thursday with Rita, Nadia, Sameera. Why don’t you come too?
Me: Rita, Nadia, Sameera??? SURE!!


Jordanian: What’s your family name?
Me: Oh.. fuck!
Jordanian: Fuck.. you tell me.. Hmmmm, I know a Tareq Fuck. Is he related to you? We used to share the same seat in junior high. (please note that there is no homosexual insinuation here, this is the way seats are made in Jordan, two people's asses are safely warmed by wood the seats are made of)


Saudi: I want the color green in my product..
Me: But…..
Saudi: No buts, if I hear another but I will make another unrealistic demand..
Me: But…
Saudi: Ok I want the picture of Sami Al-Jaber in my product. Or I tell you what.. I want the whole Saudi football national team in there too. And Mohammed Al-Deaie.
Me(weeping): But…


Me: I want..
Indian: Yeah, yeah, yeah
Me: But..
Indian: Sure, sure, sure..
Me: Well if you know what you are supposed to do.
Indian: yeah, yeah, yeah

Of course the final result is anything than what you wanted..


Egyptian, Jordanian, Saudi, Lebanese: How much?


On Sudden Hiatuses, Kanye West, Terrorist Roots and Such

Obviously this blog hasn’t been updated in a while (hears faint echoes of “Duh!”, “La ya sheikh?”)

But there are good reasons for that, and they do not include me lying in my apartment poking my belly-button for the mere fun of it.

It’s been a hectic, eventful couple of weeks. If not the most eventful ever. Really. There were lots of first times in Dubai in it. (I can see where your thoughts are trailing, and no I’m not talking about that)

1- First traffic ticket. As I arrogantly cut in line in front of tens of cars on a crammed exit, a policeman greeted me by recording my license plate. Thanks man.
2- First guests to crash at my place. I enjoyed your company, wish you stayed a little longer. They also had a synchronized snoring mechanism, in which the first was polite enough not to cut in snoring after the second.
Second Dude: snore
Second Dude: snore
You get the picture

3- Going to Wild Wadi water park. Highlights include standing in line for 40 minutes for one ride. I understand the traffic congestions on the road, but in a fucking water park to slide down in less then 20 seconds is just beyond me. A Philiphina girl looked down and was too scared to go for it. So I screamed “Yallaaaaaaaa”. Everyone found that funny and joined me in screaming. However the girl didn’t budge. I got bored again and decided to sing “Heyyy, hey faisali” My friends though I’m embarrassing them. Finally, when I got to ride this was the conversation that went on as I slid down the slide at an astronomical speed.
Me(swallowing massive amounts of chlorine water): Glug glug glug!
Lung(to Brain): Dude, tell the idiot to shut his main orifice. I’m drowning here.
Brain(to Lung): Aye, Aye Captain. Operation Shut Down Orifice in operation now.
Mouth: Whaaaa?
Lung (to Brain): I think we already swallowed too much water here.
Brain: What are you saying? Don’t tell me..NO!
Lung: I’m afraid so! initiate Operation Permanent Shut Down..
Brain: No please don’t..
Lung: Just push the damn red button.
Brain: It’s been a pleasure serving with you captain.
Lung: You too
Me: Hey I arrived. I’m still alive. Yay!

4- Going to the Kanye West concert. Highlights include:
Some chick spasming in the middle of the concert.
Nearly getting into a fight with a half-naked dude that turns out was actually hitting on my friend and was asking him to “go out for a talk”.
Kanye’s “Stronger” performance with glow in the dark jacket.
Kanye dancing like a possessed maniac in "Jesus Walks"

5- Next I decided to get in touch with my terrorist roots, so I went shooting and got 3 bull’s eyes which supports my parent’s theory and nullifies mine that I am adopted and am really originally Palestinian. Any terrorist group wanna hire my services? Qaeda, someone? My hourly rate is set to 560 Dhs for the sheer joy of my company, I don't see how being a terrorist should be different.

Errr. We already established that I’m joking before, right? I’m not ready to be shipped to Guantanmo yet and orange doesn't suit my fashion sense.

Me(flailing the gun around): Look at me, take a picture of me with the gun!
Instructor and Friend: GAAAAAAA!
Instructor: Please sir, keep the gun on the platform.
Me: Hehe, don't worry, it's not loaded!

On another note Momo called and is looking to invest 10-20 million in Jordan. Anyone interested?



[Based on true events.]

"Can I selve you something sil?" Said the tiny Asian waitress trying futilely to phase out the obvious mispronunciations.
"Can I have a menu please?" I asked, fiddling with the ID badge strung around my neck.
The waitress scampered off quickly to fetch a menu. She'll be gone for awhile, I know.
Nobody noticed the brief lapse as the pianist quickly flipped the page, then fleeted her long fingers along the grand keyboard to continue playing the mesmerizing tunes of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake. The atmosphere was dampened by the monotonous murmurs broken by an occasional rise and fall of laughter of guests. Glasses clinked against each other, juices were poured lavishly. Arabs wearing head cloths, and dishdashes clear as the finest wine huddled in fours and fives as Indians across from them, listened tentatively, staring away, while suited assistants laughed nervously, or glanced furtively at their master's faces.
I looked back at the newspaper. Where is the damn Appointments section? What is taking them so long?
"May I have a seat?" said a gruff voice
I looked up. A large, black man wearing a similarly black suit, with sunglasses studded with jewels hanging from his unbuttoned shirt stood in front of me. The monotone of blackness was only broken by the glimmering golden watch on his wrist, and a shimmering diamond ring on his pinky and a rare cleavage of sparkling teeth.
"Sure, go ahead" I said.
After a short silence, mounted by the pianist folding her book, standing up, and drifting away with her night dress crawling on the floor..
"How are you?" he asked
"What?" It took me a while to grasp the heavy accent.
"I said how are you?"
"I'm great what about you?" I lied
"I'm good"
"Where are you from?" I asked
"Sierra Leone."
"Oh I see. Interesting"
"You know Sierra Leone?"
"Yes I heard about it. There are peace-keeping forces there. And I know that Sierra Leone is a main exporter of diamonds". I owe that piece of information to Kanye West.
"Yes that is why all the wars are going on. They have diamonds as big as melons." He said balling his fist "It is peaceful now. Sierra Leone is the number one exporter of diamonds in Africa". He said.
"Yes it is. What about you? Where are you from?"
"Why don't you guess where I'm from?" I said. "I'll give you 3 guesses"
He was taken aback. His penetrating eyes fixated on mine, then darted around the lobby, then looked straight back at me.
It was my turn to be taken aback. My eyes rounded. No one gets it right from the first time. ever.
"You are correct." I said "No one gets it right from the first time." This time, I wasn't lying.
The man boomed a big, hearty laugh, and tapped my extended hand.
"I am good in reading people and understanding their psychology. Jordan, you tell me. I want to visit Jordan"
"You should it's a beautiful country. It has a city carved in stone that was voted recently as a World Wonder."
"That's interesting. I sure will visit soon. What do you do?"
"I'm a consultant here. What about you?" I asked
"I'm a business man" he stuttered. "I'm the son of an ex-leader. How long you been here?"
"Well I've been here for six months. Still pretty new. Fresh off the boat as they say. You live here?"
"No I live in London. Actually I lived in lots of places. London, Africa, Paris. I'm here for a visit. I got a 3-month visa and I only spent a month here. So I can come and leave anytime I want."
"You've been to Cityscape?" I asked
"Yeah actually. " He stuttered again. "Lots of interesting opportunities"
"Yes, it seems the real-estate market is booming. Everyone wants to have a piece of the pie. People say it will slow down but I doubt it."
"Yes, it is interesting"
There were a lot of things that were interesting about this conversation.
"Do they pay you well?"
"I'm okay actually"
"Do you have cars?"
"Yes I do have a car."
"Can I have one?"
I paused. Why would he want my car? Oh I get it. Cards damnit!
I reached to my jacket pocket quickly enough for him not to notice the momentary black out. I fingered the business cards around I took for my meetings.
"Here you go"
He glanced at it, then put it in his jacket pocket.
"I will call you"
"Sure you can call me anytime."
"My name is Momo." he said getting up and shaking my hand.
"And I am Sami. " I said, shaking his.
"Nice to meet you"
"Nice to meet you too, Momo."

PS If found appealing there will be a chapter 2 in which readers might participate in the shaping of fictional events.
PPS I realize this is a scam. Thank you for your concern. However, I can't help but indulge my overactive imagination, if any of it resembled the truth. I know my life will become something like Tom Cruise in The Firm.


On Eid in Jordan and Such

This is what a typical Eid back in Jordan would look like for me

9:07 AM Wake up to the sound of endless fireworks whistling into the morning sky, and kids bang-banging each other to their fake deaths with their cheap, plastic gun toys. I fantasize about them using real guns. I yell at them from the warmth of my bed to shut the fuck up and get a life. The bang-bang continues.
9:10 AM I check my mobile and read 6 new messages which I skim through to see who is lifeless enough to send me a message in the brink of morning. Make a mental note to myself note note to hang out with those people.
9:12 AM Sleep
11:00 AM Sibling wakes me up to declare to my ignorance that today is the first day of the Eid. Thanks Dr. Phil. I really needed you to point that out for me. They continue to extort Eediye off of me (Eediye is a an amount of money given to younger members of the family as a present for Eid) I tell them to go away. They pick up my pants and find my wallet and skim through for any notes which they shove down their pockets and run away.
11:02 AM Sleep
12:20 PM Wake up. Mom and Dad eyeball me and await me to say “Happy Eid” to them and kiss their hands. I grumble something that resembles “Happy Eid”
12:25 Search fridge for edible scraps to be called breakfast, when my parents scream to me to close the fridge because we’ll be having a feast. I find leftover corn flakes and wolf it down.
12:30 PM Watch TV
12:32 PM Check email to see who is lifeless enough to send me an email in the brink of morning. Make a mental note to myself not to hang out with those people. (usually they are the same people who SMS'ed me)
12:34 PM Go back to watch TV or any newly bought 2-dollar DVD's from downtown Amman.
1:11 PM Father declares whatever I’m watching as crap and that Hollywood is a zionist institution and Jews control the world as he smokes his strawberry-flavoured shisha, grabs the remote and flips to Al-Jazeera to Abdul Bari Atwan declaring that Arab governments are crap, and that Hollywood is a zionist institution and that Jews control the world.
1:30 PM Feast begins
3:30 PM Feast ends
4:12 PM Family visit time. My parents come searching for me as I hide under my bed or behind a curtain (for real).
5:40 PM At family member's house I am drilled at what university I study in. I tell them I graduated 4 years ago. They ask me if I studied tawjihi (Jordanian high school) I tell them in order to study in university you need to have a tawjihi certificate in which they all respond to with an “ooooooooooooooh, he’s right” look. "That's the difference between people who finished their studies and people who didn't. See Ahmad what it's like to complete your tawjihi" Ahmad shoots me a hateful look from the end of the room. I can see him giving me the finger in his head.
6:52 PM Drill continues. They ask me if I work. In my head I tell them no I beg at the traffic lights, but all I say is “yes” and explain my job to them. They ask me when will I get married. In my head I tell them “tomorrow”. This time I indulge the sound in my head.
8:10 PM Hellish visit ends with shaking of hands and distribution of chocolates. Time to call up some friends who unlike me are free of any family strings and obligations.
9:33 PM Meet friends. Friends don’t know what to do.
11:12 PM Someone suggests ice-cream and for the first time, everyone agrees.
11:42 PM We find that people hiked from every corner of Jordan to eat the mythical 2 dollar ice-cream in Abdoun they heard all about as children. Guys are sulking heavily around like vultures, spitting seeds, gawking at the girls allowed to wear make-up and skirts for their first times since a year ago. Hey, it’s Eid after all.
11:50 PM Friends stare at each other and at the passing girls.
12:19 AM I suggest cards. Venue and participants are discussed.
1:07 AM Cards are shuffled, shishas positioned, embers fanned and juices sipped.
3:14 AM Someone is declared an asshole for dropping the King of Hearts so early within the game. Cards are thrown on his laughing face. Someone else swears by all known and unknown deities that this will be the last time they ever play cards with the group of assholes we are.
3:17 AM Cards are shuffled again as another round starts with unchanged players.
4:21 AM Come back home, draw down the shutters, eat leftover sweets hidden for tomorrow’s visitors. And sleep till mid afternoon the next day
11: 09 AM Sibling wakes me up again to declare that today is the 2nd day of Eid and extort more Eediye off of me. Thanks Dr. Phil. I needed you to point that out for me.

Happy Belated Mushroom Eid everyone

PS I know it's a cheesy joke but it cracks me up everytime. Mushrooms are funny.


On Families and Such

Families are complex. Not only that; families are awkward, complex, agitating, irritating and sometimes I wish I could scrap off my family name and live in an island alone with no internet or network coverage, hanging in my bathing suit and flip-flops, drinking coconut milk and working on my tan.

Don’t blame me yet, hear me out.

My family stars a variety of comedy characters that are common within most families, probably yours too.

The over-bearing, lonely relative. This person is above 50 and the family still have hope of hooking him up. He still believes I am a 12-year old who enjoys spending away his coins on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles at the nearest arcade like there’s no tomorrow.

Over-bearing, lonely relative: Where were you?
Me: Friend (Note that I rarely mouth more than a monosyllable, otherwise the topic sure as hell will propel out of everyone’s control, and I will be declared a Satanist, homosexual, introvert, rude, erm, you get the picture)
Over-bearing relative: What friend?
Sami: The fucking friend I sleep with
Of course all I say is: Friend from Jordan
Half a conversation later conclusions are drawn that my friend is a notorious drug-dealer stashing whores somewhere in his apartment and I should stay away from him.

I must be a more exciting person than I give credit for.

The needy-female. This person needs a companion in whatever she does. God forbid she goes anywhere alone or does anything without stringing an army of hapless bozos along carrying her hefty, brown shopping bags in the faint hope of gaining her acceptance unknowing that she already has a puppet boyfriend and 2 backups eagerly waiting their turn back home. This model comes free with endless shopping sprees, a pink cell phone glued to her ear and long, long waits at the stifling parking.

Needy Female(widely smiling, flicking long eyelashes up and down): Samiiiiiiiiiiiiiii
Me: Akalna khara (we’re screwed)
(Me looking at the ceiling, making a nonchalant whistle): Wow, the painting of the ceiling looks really nice.
Needy Female: Hehe, Sami you silly thing. Listen, can you drive me tomorrow to Sharjah/Abu Dhabi/Al-Ain/ The dresser? The mall? I need to get my nails done/ Shop till I drop.

A loud whisper that evolves to a bellowing echo goes repeatedly "No, no, no" But Needy Female has done her homework and is much smarter and conniving than most people give her credit for. I take a quick peek at the gathering of gossiping moms, girls and men awaiting my repsonse. I mutely whisper..
Me(weeping inside): Sure.

The Godfather. The Godfather comes with an army of teenage, whiskered relatives acting as cocky bodyguards, proving their worth and manhood to the family, and more importantly to the needy females of the family. One is holding his wrinkled hand, slowly marching him above the step of the house, the other swarms inside, dusts the couch, fixes a pillow, opens a window, and happy to bark orders for the first time in the day, demands a cup of cold water.

Godfather: *Cough cough*
All eyes fall on me, especially the two bodyguards who are eagerly salivating for the moment to see me crack under pressure, and hence render me as an uncompeting nuance. My dad eyeballs the kitchen and makes a cup gesture.
Me: Whaaa?

Needles to say I am very deft in family politics and my parents are very proud of me.

Parent (irritated to make a long-distance phone call): Sami what the hell did you do? Word reached us that...
Me and Sami: Yeah, whatever. Yawn, toz.

Families are complex. That’s how families are. Yours, mine, everyone else's. Deal with it, get over it, because only God knows that life without them would be an endless, lonesome bore.


On the UAE and Such

It’s been half a year since I set foot into Dubai Airport, carrying 2 overweight suitcases, and 2 hand bags, filled with the remnants of a scrubbed-off past life; books, my favorite DVDs, comics, random collectible toys, Zalatimo sweets, summery adornments, a brown envelope of stamped papers and certificates that define the person I am. I wore a ridiculously out-of-place leather jacket, a scarf wrapped around my neck and winter boots which would be perfectly fine in a jump across the hemisphere.

I stood in line, behind hundreds of people queuing to get their passports stamped; black, white, yellow, short, tall, thin, fat, men, women, beautiful, ugly, sleepy, tired, laughing, smiling, Arabs, Iranians, Russians, Asians, Indians, Brits, Africans. I was awed by the sheer amount of people, and how they all waited patiently in line, tapping their feet, listening to their iPods, holding hands, waiting to pass the gates, beckoning to the unknown.

When it was finally my turn, I approached with a smile. An Emarati officer bid me where my visa is. I confidently displayed the fat, brown envelope I tugged around containing all my important papers. I removed a printed, black and white copy of my work visa with a wacky smile on my face, like a knight unsheathing his sword. He brushed me off, and politely asked me to pick up the original copy from downstairs. I raced downstairs my handbags beating against my waist where I gave them my name; Sami.

And there was actually a pink visa waiting for me top of the pile, regardless of my cynicism. I rushed up, queued again, stamped, walked out to the stifling heat, waved to my receiving relative who completely ignored me expecting that I was still the teenager that he last saw.

So, I’ve been pondering this post in my head since, in my inner-duologues, and private thoughts, I have finally found the opportunity to put it into a written format.

And even though there is a lot of bashing going on for Dubai; the rent prices, paranoiac dangers of deportation, SALIK, traffic jams and others, nonetheless, I always give praise freely and unconditionally when it is due.

(This is not a kissing-ass post for any body, nor is there a gun pointed to my head telling me to write lavish poems; I am expressing myself freely with no strings attached just as I like to.)

This country has made us feel at home more than home itself. The people themselves are warm, hospitable and beautiful. The government officials are always smiling, willing to share a joke or two, helpful and eternally-patient. I remember at the airport when I came back from a business trip, the Passport Control Emarati looked at my passport and said “Welcome back, Abu-Nasab (brother-in-law)” referring to the marriage of Princess Haya of Jordan to Sheikh Mohammed. I was about to jump and give the dude a hug, but I was too tired to do so since the plane arrived at 4 in the morning.

Not to mention national security reasons.

Not so far away, expats are treated very differently. Trust me, I know.

So on behalf of me, Sami, Jordanian, Arab and all expats in the UAE..

Thanks :)


On Driving in Dubai and Such

In continuance with my newfound, hard-earned freedom of earning a UAE driving license, I decided that I should temporarily rent a car and be among the newest to be welcomed onto the hazardous and infamous traffic of Dubai.

Someone should prepare an orientation program about driving in Dubai in clear bullet form for us novice drivers.

  • Indians are generally-speaking lousy drivers and have very bad judgment of the term “personal space”, think of them cramming by the thousands into a train and you won’t blame them anymore. Approach with care.
  • Indians talking on their phones can be very hazardous to your mental and physical health and stability. Try to avoid at all costs.
  • Arabs feel that such trivial things like looking to their left and right or using indicators are unneeded luxuries and a terrible waste of much-needed time and effort. So is stopping at red lights. (I’m only joking Dubai Police, don’t take this seriously. Oh and about that nice photo you took of me on Sheikh Zayed Road, please tell me where I can pick it up from because I plan on posting it on my Facebook account and tagging myself. Many thanks)
  • When a sudden, blue light flashes out of nowhere, please hit the panic mode and start worrying about your makeup looking good, and whether it was you who got fined till you forget all about the car stopping in front of you with emergency indicators.
  • Cars swaying to the right and left on Sheikh Zayed Road means that someone is listening to some loud music and dancing to it or making out. Ok yes I dance to music in the car, shoot me.
  • In the unfortunate case of an accident, please stand in the middle of the road, proudly displaying the wreck that your car has turned to, fuming angrily and flailing your arms, it helps the cases of us commuting around to arrive early and earn our bonuses and raises.
  • Paying 4 dirhams is no absolute guarantee that you won't get stuck in endless traffic.
  • When stuck in traffic, wave to people around you, or at least have the courtesy to make goofy faces to your neighbours in traffic, they really appreciate it and are likely to respond similarly.

Feel free to update this list at your leisure.

Now that I’m cruising along the streets, grimacing against the blinding sunlight, pushing down my sunglasses to the bridge of my nose in attempt to read the signs and uncountable exits, I have found myself in more than one unfortunate situation.

Me: I’ll take this exit
Friend: No man there’s too much traffic, it’ll take us forever. Let’s take the next one.

Half hour later, cruising in the middle of the fucking, uninhabited desert, as car zooming next to us on the other side of the road at unspoken speeds that the force of the wind propels us sideways.

Me: Shit! What the hell is this? (Indicating a beware sign depicting that camels cross this road) Where the fuck did civilization disappear?

Drive safely. And do not come close to me please.


On Misadventure No.4 the One Where I Go to a Football Match that Ends Poorly

It's that time of day again, ladies and gentleman, in which I share with you another story of my embarrassing yet eventful and enticing past.

There is a particular football match that is stamped in the memories of all Jordanians who lived in the nineties like an eternal birthmark. Everyone knows it; you, me and every Jordanian we know.

I am talking about the final match between Jordan and Iraq in Amman Stadium in the Pan Arab Championship in 1999 which Jordan won after 2 excruciating extra time, and penalty shootouts in which the woodwork were deservedly crowned men of the match.

After that, Jordan wasn't quite the Jordan we know.

Random flashbacks
Girls painted with the Jordan flag on their faces cheering shrilly on the sides of the streets whereas it was taboo not so long ago, boys hurdled in the bucket of an excavator as it rocked them like a baby's cradle, a water tank circling my street all the time pissing what we like to think was hygienic water at the onlooking, cheering bystanders. A kid was actually dancing and singing to the water tank "Rashrish 7ubbak ya gameel" (Spray me with your love, O beautiful one(A Syrian sonnet))

You can’t make these things up.

Being the patriot and lover of football I am, I decided to go with a friend to cheer for Jordan in Amman stadium. When we entered the stadium, it was jam-packed with cheering, whistling, screaming, sweating all-male Jordanians. I couldn't see the field if I stood on the tip of my toes.

Me: What are we going to do?
Friend (Eyeing the wall on which numerous cheering people stood above the already cheering people on the stairs)

Now let me explain a bit. The stands were made up of 3 large concrete steps on which hundreds of people sat with their feet dangling. Now the long wall separating the stadium from the outside park had an iron wall mounted on top of it. People stood on the ledge of the concrete wall, so that the tips of their shoes didn't touch anything at all. My friend climbed the wall first and gave me his hand till I stood hazardously on the ledge hanging from my hands behind the iron wall like the image of Jesus Christ on the cross.

The cool thing I realized about football matches is that you can spew whatever shit you want and no one would give a damn less.

Me: Yifda7 3ardkooooooo (Fuck you)
Just for trial purposes. No one flinched. Cool.

Jordan were 4 up, the crowd were frenzied, screaming, clapping, shouting, spitting. Then a sudden terrible change of fate happened in which Iraq started scoring goals one after the other

After the first goal , slight murmurs of disapproval in the stadium
After the second goal, low curses of discontent here and there
After third goal, fuck this shit, loud curses involving a lot of the players' female members of the families' private parts. The goalkeeper got the lion's share of those curses.
After the fourth goal people started banging the metal wall that I was hanging onto with their hands that I swear to you the force of the bangs propelled me downwards and was near to throw me down.

Lunatic Friend: Hang oooon. Hehehehe! (Obviously having the time of his life watching the panic precipitating in my face)

Iraq came near to winning but the referee blew his whistle and it was time for penalty shootouts in which Jordan won thanks to the woodwork.

That's when all hell broke loose.

The gate separating the crowds from the football field fell down in a blink of an eye in more than one part of the stadium. People started infiltrating into the football field carrying their Jordanian flags like leeches swarming onto meat, waving them around and running randomly. Ambulances rushed in to remove the injured people, and the flags that were waved awhile ago were now being used as covering blankets or for waving air into the gaping mouths of the unconscious.

Me(still hanging from the wall): This looks like fun. Do you think this is real grass?
Sami: Let's go and find out.

So I tiptoed slowly into the football field and went through the broken fence, and into the field where the players just moments ago were maniacally chasing a tossed ball. I started running in circles with the wind in my hair and the grass at my feet.

Me: Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. This is the life

Suddenly, a policeman shows out of nowhere as they always like to do

Policeman: Wala!! Shu bitsawi hown? Hey!! What are you doing here?
Me: Errr
Before I opened my mouth to voice my answer I rushed all the way back to the stupid wall I crawled from, climbed it and hung myself from the metal wall again.

Later on my friend caught up with me

Lunatic Friend: Hehehehe, Man! I never saw you run so fast

DISCLAIMER: Lots of Jordanian and Iraqi football fans were hurt in the production of this blog post. Thankfully, I was neither of them

The End


On my Job, Jongar, Settling in and Such

I have been in Dubai for a total of 5 months now and am still enjoying every minute of it. I started settling in by renting my own beautiful apartment with a view. I would've called it home, if it weren't for minor distractions like vacationing back in Jordan, or being shipped immediately afterwards to Saudi, the land of the empty as I like to call it.

I wouldn't have gone back to Jordan if it weren't for a family emergency, which usually either means weddings or funerals. Thank God it was the first. When I came back I was reluctantly shipped to Saudi for the equivalent time of my vacation as if I was being punished for vacationing so early within my career.

Boss: You're going to Saudi
Me: Emmm. Oman is nice this time of year.
Boss: Hehe, no you have to go. Saudi is nice.
Me: Bahrain?
Boss: Hehehe
Me: Ok ok between me and you, Qatar, but that's my final offer.

I was negotiating a lost cause

When people ask me what I'm doing in Dubai, I tell everyone that I'm a belly-dancer or strip-dancer, depending on the audience and their threshold for juvenile crap. That makes people nag more, not catching the drift that I don't like to talk about my job for the sake of the healthiness of the relationship I am trying to maintain. It's not one of those common jobs that you can mouth in one word like doctor or architect and everyone would go "Aaaaaaaahh"

I should've studied Physical Education and became a gymist or something.

When I talk to Jordanians about my job, I tell them I am Jongar, in reference to the fact that I am a one-man army and hence a powerful being in Jordanian slang (Jongar is the Arabic version of a Japanese anime called "Astro Ganga"of a giant robot fighting off invading aliens, that we as kids of the eighties grew up watching and loving)

As a kid I scribbled myself in harsh crayon markings next to Jongar, and when asked to write a composition about summer vacations, I would talk about my "friend" Jongar, and was known to kick my nursery mates' asses all the time screaming "Jongaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar" as if that justifies it.

Me: Jongaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar (all the while beating the shit out of a bawling kid)
Kid: Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
Nursery Teacher(pulling me from the ear): Sami how many times have I told you that you are not Jongar? And Kid is not evil alien from outer space ..
Me(flailing arms wildly around and singing the opening theme of the cartoon): Ow! Ow! Jongar, Jongar al-batal il-jabbar (Jongar, Jongar the mighty hero).

I wish Nursery Teacher would see me know, for she will undoubtedly realize that she was wrong all along and that I am none other than:

Jongar, Jongar, al-batal il-jabbar.


On Misadventure No.3: The One Where I Blaze the Alarms in JFK Airport

While we're at the subject of airports, I wanted to gain this oppurtunity to reminsce on my earliest misadventure in airports.

I was still a kid and I was still innocent enough to think that airports or policemen held no hard feelings and grudges against me. Boy, I was wrong.

I was coming back from a camp in the US with a bunch of other Jordanian campers. Everyone was distressed and sad because they left their new friends behind. We were waiting in JFK international airport to catch a flight back to Frankfurt, then a flight from there to Amman.

Me? I faked sadness, I was too damn hungry to think of some stupid friend I made in 3 weeks and will probably never see again. Someone suggested food, and I was all the too happy to oblige. As we sat to eat our hot-dogs I felt a flowy feeling in my nose. Being the inexperienced kid I am, I wiped my nose with the back of my hand only to see a dry trail of blood. I set my mind to ignoring the blood flowing from my nose and wait for it till it settle down, if it weren't for another asshole kid screaming "DAMM!! DAMM!!" (BLOOD!!, BLOOD!!) as if the shit-head never saw a drop of blood before.

Now the whole camping kids stared at me and I had a respnisiblity to do something about it. I just can't shrug my shoulders and say "So??". I tilted my head backward and clogged my nose with my hand, got up and started what felt like an eternity of seaching for a bathroom.

I searched and searched to no avail, by that time the bleeding got worse and my clogging hand was getting soaked with blood. I returned to the hot dog restaurant where someone told me the bathroom was in the back. So I went to the back only to find a door with "Emergency Exit" Not the kind of door you want to open, trust me. But I was desperate and hoped the emergency exit would lead to an emergency bathroom. I pushed the door open and I swear to you, all the lights in the damn airport flickered on and off and a deafening alarm sounded all around the airport.

I took a startled step backwards.

Me(the beginning of many times to come): I'm screwed.

I ran away, head tilted back with a clogging hand on my nose in the eternal search for the bathroom, till I washed up in one, all the time the alarms blaring on and on. When I came back to my fellow campers with a stupid "It wasn't me" smile on my face, they said police came asking them if they saw anyone go into the exit and they told them they didn't.

10 years later there was a reunion of campers. One huge guy was looking at me funnily and annoyingly.

Guy: Hey!! Aren't you...? (tilts his head back and put hit hand on his nose)
Guy: HAHAHHAHA!! Hey Firas, come check this out. It's the (tilts his head back and put hit hand on his nose) (roaring with laughter with Firas)

Apparently, it became a reknown story told over and over between fellow campers and their friends.

Damn, I hate airports.


On Airports and Such

I think the God of Airports and Aircrafts has serious, unresolved issues with me. He likes to toy with me, and laugh with his huge airport tower for a body, and two aircrafts for hands.

I never manage to go to an airport without getting into a whole lot of fuss that involves curious people circling me, me retelling my issues with the people behind the counter, and them consoling me and offering unneeded advice.

The trip back to Dubai was no different, actually I think it was the highlight of my career of wreaking havoc in airports that includes blazing alarms on the level of whole international airports, attracting notorious FBI detectives, and last but not least emptying and refilling bags on the floors of Queen Alia airport.

I shit you not.

Airport Assistant: Go to counter 10
I go to counter 10
Guy behind Counter 10: Go to counter 13 or 14
I go to counter 14
After standing behind 3 bawling children tugging on their annoyed father’s shirt to show him a toy car for 15 minutes, they tell me this flight is heading to Abu Dhabi
Me: *@#&*@#
Me (to a cute missy standing in front of me): This is why I tell my parents I don’t want kids
Cute missy: Hehehe (brushing me off)
Me: You heading to Dubai?
CM: Yes
Me: Well, this isn’t the counter for it apparently.
After directing CM to the proper counter, I got her chatting
CM: What do you do?
Me: I'm a strip dancer, hehe.
CM (eyes widening): hehehe
Me: No I just say that so people will not dose off while I describe my job to them.
CM: Well, it's effective!
Me: Where you from?
CM: San Francisco
Me: And what the hell are you doing in Jordan?
CM: Hehe, my husband is Jordanian.
Me (to myself): Damn! I was planning on marrying you
She was such a sweetheart that I decided to help her with the baggage, otherwise the sweet married chick from San Francisco would never have made it onto that flight, neither would I.

Man behind counter (tearing off the tag): Your bag is overweight
Me: It’s only 6 kilos extra
Asshole: These are the regulations
I quickly pulled the bag, grabbed all the damn Jordanian sweets to be distributed needlessly around, and shoved in book and shoes with the sweets.

I hope the sweets don't smell of feet otherwise I'll be castrated and outcasted by my over-sensitive family.

I looked like Santa Clause carrying a presents bag around.

I ran to the passport control where the guy behind the counter was chatting to some other guy

I banged the counter twice to get his attention
Me (realizing the graveness of the situation I just got myself into) : Fuck man! Now you’re really gonna get it. You’re gonna sleep with the Iraqis in the pissy, claustrophobic room with smelly blankets for covers and shitty food.
Amazingly the dude was a nice guy and told me to not be anxious and I told him I will not until I get onto the damned flight. And when I get a plane to visit Jordan back.

Oh and by the way, the vacation was amazing. More to come soon.


On Coming to Amman and Such

I am due in Amman this weekend for my quarterly status report and to shake my booty to innumerable weddings.

How do I feel about it? Well, I’m not excited at all to say the least.

I come back a changed man, and I’m not so sure how my friends and distant family members will accept this new man. I am pretty sure that I will be referred to from hence on as “Abu-Shakha ta3 Dubai” , “yir7am gamlo, ma kaan abel kamm shahar in Amman” translated to “Father of Piss” (it’s a Jordanian nickname, so don’t bother) “Who does he think he is? Just because he went to Dubai a couple of months means he can look down on us?” It’s your typical Jordanian boy goes out of the village to the city, or more geared to me: gangsta from da hood to uni. (West Side!)

There’s also the dreaded family visits.

Over lunch

Acquaintance: So how is Dubai?

Me: It’s nice.
Me (to myself, sometimes a little too loudly that the people sitting next to me notice): Here it comes.

Acquaintance demoted to Bug: How much do you make?

Me (smiling): I'm ok

Bug: Like how much?

Me (Wider smile): They are planning on building [insert random story of the most recent obscene landmark in Dubai] in Dubai

Bug: Really? My cousin is in Dubai. His name is Mohammed something. He works in an IT company. Or was it Engineering?

Me: I’m not sure I know him. (Just because I am in Dubai doesn’t mean I know every fucking Jordanian/ Palestinian there)

Bug: Ok can you find me a job there?

Me: and what happened to your Mohammed something? Why doesn’t he find you a job?


Me: I’m kidding of course I’ll find you a job. I will even host you at my apartment and let you use the gym and swimming pool in my building. There’s a nursery too if you wanna bring your wife and kids.

Bug beams.

Bug: Ok give me your email. I’ll send you my CV tomorrow.

The CV pops in my inbox in a couple of hours with a hideous passport image of Bug wearing an equally hideous tie attached to it)

Me: Hahahahaha (clicking the delete button)

(Inspired by a true story, that is even more absurd in its details that it might be featured later in the Misadventures)

I am ready for Amman, but am not so sure if Amman is ready for me.


On Random Misexcerpt from my not so Everyday Life

Picture this.

A jungle. A jungle buzzing with wild mosquitoes and vicious, blood-thirsty dragonflies. There’s lots of them that the minute you swat one away, a gang of its bullying friends come back to pick on you. There are elephants too. The big, hairy type, not the pink ones in your overactive imagination. Sulking heavily in circles. Trees among trees that you can’t see further than 5 meters. And a murky swamp, where the elephants like to cool off in the blazing summer heat.

No this isn’t an Indiana Jones movie (Tantarantan, tan ta taaaaan)

This is real life.

Ok ok you got me already. In real-life there is also professional Thai elephant riders, and lots of tourists from every corner of the world and a stand for cooling beverages sold at touristically-insane prices. And a stamp on your hand for riding the elephant. Yay!

The tourists ride on a comfy couch tied to the back of the elephant, as the Thai rider sits on its skull and “drives” the elephant using elaborate sounds of “Mei” like a goat and negs unto its skull.

Us Jordanians have an unfathomable if not illogical pride. We always want to show off that whatever thing professionally done can be inherently accomplished by us complete Jordanian novices because, well, we’re Jordanians.

So as other sissy tourists sit on their comfy couches with an umbrella struck upon their heads, me the brave Jordanian I am insisted that the Thai rider let me drive the elephant on my own using elaborate body language of pointing my fingers to the jungle and moving my index and middle finger in a walking motion.

Thai rider happily obliges. (5 minutes break off work, who wouldn’t?)

So I ride at the elephant’s skull. “Hey this is easy methinks. Har Har Har”. (I felt like being a pirate for 5 seconds) The skull somehow jabs into my left butt cheek with every left step the elephant takes, and to the right when it takes a right step. It was a titsy bit uncomfortable to say the least.

The rider disappears into the jungle.

Being the attractor of trouble and unhappy coincidences that I am, my elephant decides to make a slight change in its route out of the jungle path and caress a branch of greenness with its happy, swinging trunk.

Elephant stops.

Me: Emmmmm
Travel mate: Errrrr
Me: Emmmmm
Travel mate: Errrrr
Me: Emmmmm
Travel mate: Errrrr
Me: It’s not supposed to do that, right?
Travel mate: No!

I only started panicking when I remembered an article I read about elephants in “musth” Which is a state where some snot blocks the elephant’s brain and they go into a fit of rage because of the blinding headache it causes.

Me: I’m screwed! Biddy mama. (I want my mom)
I started humping its skull like the rider did and making goat noises.

Me: Meeeeiiii, meeeeeeiiii, mishan Allah meeeeeiiiii, Dear God Meeeeeiiiii .Move bitch!!! (slapping its empty skull repeatedly while still humping the head)

To no avail.

The toothless rider comes back beaming with an ear-to-ear smile and directs the elephant back on track.

Me and Travel Mate: Kuss ukhtak! (Fuck you)

The End

DISCLAIMER: No large mammals or Jordanian tourists or Thai riders were hurt in the production of this blog post.


On Legalizing my Driving Status and Such

In continuance with the generosity of this hospitable country, the authorities here decided to go ahead with legalizing my driver status. The social fabric of the testing car is something worth mentioning.

Events taking place in real time.

An Emarati tester, a Hindi senior-level employee, Pakistani worker, and a Comedy Arab (what my coworkers refer to me by)

Anyone sees any hints in this arrangement here?

Emarati (talking onto the phone to another tester): Yeah, yeah, so you're changing lanes now? Ok change your face!
Emarati (to anxious Indian): Start!
Emarati: Start!

So the Indian starts by almost bumping the car parked right in front of him.

Emarati (jerking the hand brake): Get out! Failed!
The Indian sulks away in sadness and an obligatory head wiggle to where a group of his short-lived cheer-leading squad of fellow Indians stood in stupor.
This is a good start
Emarati (talking to me): He wants to hit the car and is expecting me to pass him.
Me: Hehe
Emarati (rolls down the window and shouts to failed Indian): Deco, deco! (Look, look) pointing with his 2 finger to his eyes and back at the car

Confident Paki gets into the driver seat, guns blazing: I came all the way from Abu Dhabi and this is my 8th attempt.
Emarati: Start Start!
The Paki reverses
Emarati: STOP!! Failed!
Paki stares in sheer horror
Emarati: I joke! I joke! What, you no funny Baba?
The Emarati was my kind of guy, I seriously contemplated asking for his number to hang sometime.
Emarati: Start. No nervous Baba!
The Paki is helplessly sucked into a prohibited street.
Emarati: OUT! OUT!

My turn.
Comedy Arab: Salamo Aleikom
Emarati: Wa aleikom il-salaaaaam Comedy Arab
The image of me bumping up and down in a beat-up Chevvy with loud hip-hop music making gangsta signs with my fingers twisting around, as the people behind bob up and down, bombards me as usual.
Comedy Arab commits a terrible mistake
Emarati: You just committed a terrible mistake, they’d fine you 5000 Dirhams if they caught you.
Comedy Arab: Then thank God I’m with you! (Damn, I can be witty sometimes)
Emarati grins.
Comedy Arab clicks his fingers, what’s that phrase? what’s that phrase?
Oh yeah; ma tgasser akhooy! (We are not in shortage of your generosity, brother)
Such sweet words that have wondrous effects and insinuations.
I drive back to the center, proud as a peacock, where I couldn’t help brushing on my flirting skills

Paki worker comes to me asking for directions for the eye clinic
Me: Baba I don’t know, I don’t work here. But go there that looks like a clinic!
Paki walks into a different door.
Me to girl sitting next to me asking to be hit on: I wonder what would’ve happened if I gave him the wrong directions (I think the Arabic version is much funnier “Shu kaan saar law daleito ghalat?”
Girl bursts in laughter
Girl: So you took the daftar (notebook)? (I think she meant the license, any Lebanese wanna help me out here?(Preferably, hot (Making brackets within brackets is plain ridiculous, if you ask me))
Me: What daftar?
Girl: You’re not Syrian?
Me: No, everyone thinks I’m Lebanese then think I’m Syrian, that’s cuz I’m good-looking..
She laughs
Girl: So Lebanese are good-looking?
Me: I like to think so, to boost my self-esteem you know, so you’re Syrian?
Girl: I’m Lebanese, I don’t need no boosts of self-esteem.
Me: Hehehehe

It was an excellent come-on, except she wasn’t too attractive, and had too big boobs which I’m intimidated of.

So, if you see someone cruising along Sheikh Zayed Road, in a tinted automobile, head bobbing to blaring Hip Hop music, doing meaningless finger movements conveying unknowable gang signs, smiling to random women, flashing his cell phone, or just noisily listening to Jordanian national songs like “Hashmi, Hashmi” “Jeishana Jeisha il-watan” wiggling his hand in the air, then it’s most probably me ..

Or Sami


The Call that Never Came

In the memory of my dear friend and brother, Amer Al-Jitawi who passed away in a tragic car accident on the 21st of July,2007 in Oman, I dedicate the forthcoming poem. Amer made a brief presence in The Misadventures as The Engineering Dude from Misadventure No.2: The One Where I Get Beat Up by The Police.

I never wrote a poem before, don't know if I ever will. And I don't know any rules or restrictions for writing them. Stanzas, rhyme, meter, whatever. The only rule I obeyed and followed is that it came from the heart.

This is in your memory. I miss you already, man.

The Call That Never Came

I waited for your call this Thursday
It's our outing night, you and me…
Acting like there is no tomorrow,
Acting like there is no today..

It's not fair you know..
We had so many plans, so many things to do
But God has made His own plans
And in His infinite wisdom, they did not include you..

This is the beginning of our lives, we said
We'll play and enjoy every day
And maybe one day, when all is said and done
We'll grow old and wither away..

But not too soon..
For there is so much in life to taste..
No room for such things as sorrow
No need for such things as haste..

But tonight I stare at my cell phone..
Waiting for you to call me, to tell me otherwise
That this Thursday, like every Thursday..
We'll party away, till the break of sunrise..

I ask anyone who reads this to make a silent prayer in the memory of my dear friend


On Cultural Night and Such

One of my favorite things about Dubai is the cultural diversity. Never mind that 70% of the population is of Indian-origins, but still Indians themselves are pretty diverse apparently.

They still look the same to me.

So in true Jordanian/ Arab/ Middle-Eastern fashion I invited my coworkers out to a lunch at a prominent Lebanese restaurant; Al-Hallab.

The food was good, the atmosphere, blech, since Celine Dion was hollering about her love going on and on as long as my headache, when I was expecting something along the lines, of, well I don’t know, I don’t want to sound demanding, some red-haired Lebanese chick, you know? It being a Lebanese restaurant and all.

I have a way with people, you can tell.

Sureeth (newly introduced Indian): Hi
Me: Hello. How are you?
Sureeth: Fine, thank you
Me(after a brief pause): How much is your dowry?
The Indian stares in surprise.
(To unknowing readers, apparently, in Indian culture it is the bride and her family who pay the dowry to the groom according to his status, weird I know!)
My coworker blabbers in Hindi explaining to his friend what I think literally translates to “This fucking Jordanian asks every Indian he meets about their dowry.”

Sureeth laughs and gives me the typical answer all Indians give;
I don’t know

Me: How much do you think my dowry would be worth?
More laughter
Them: You’re not Indian.
Me: We can work on that.. We are brothers in World Wonders now.
Sureeth blinks his surprise
Me: You know, Taj Mahal is a New World Wonder, so is Petra. That makes us Brothers in World Wonders.
Amazingly they all know about Petra.
Me: How do you know Petra?
Sureeth: I worked with Jordanians. I haven’t received my last 2 month salary.


Me: How much do you think Shipha Shetty would pay me dowry to marry her? (Shilpa is a famous, educated and of course, beautiful Indian actress, whom I have recently fallen in love with, after being forcefully exposed to the whole Bollywood, high-pitch-singing, mustached-hunky actors, confetti-falling everywhere culture. Oh and back off Richard Gere!)

: Shilpaaaaaaa, hehehehe (in a how-does-he-know-Shilpa-tone) (Imagine an Indian coming up to me and proclaiming his love to Abeer Issa, no? Not the same thing. Ah well!)
In the restaurant, the Indians went on to suspiciously pick their foods with the edge of the fork, like paranoid Israeli Inspectors examining a stranded bag of tomatoes, while I devoured the tabbouleh, hummous, shankleesh, kebbeh, like Oliver Twist.

Me: Eat Kibbeh, it’s good
Coworker: We don’t eat beef maaan
Me: Oh ok, (Yis3ed Allah, in my mind) I throw the 4 Kibbehs in my mouth simultaneously.

Me: So what’s the name of your friend coming to Dubai today?
Indian Coworker: Ali
Me: Ok when he comes we’ll receive him with
Me: Ali, Eleiwaa…eiwa
Darab il-zumeira…eiwaaa
Darabha 3ammy…eiwaaa
Khashat fee galby…eiwaaa
Till the end..
Silence. A long one this time.

Indian Coworker: What shit maaan?
This is a song we sing when we go on picnics in Jordan. I’ll tell you what, I’ll sing and after the end of every verse you just say EWA….E…W…A…, it’s not that hard, ok?
Indian Coworker: What maaaan?
Me: 3ali 3eleiwaaa..I point at my Indian friend to finish off…he mutely says EWA
Darab il-zumeiraaa…point…
Darabha 3ammy..EWA (without pointing)
Khashat fee galby..galby rasas, m7ammad raggas, borgos bil-baas.

After receiving Ali at the airport.
Me: Welcome to Jordan.. Errrr. Dubai

Old habits die hard I guess.
Oo 3ali 3eleiwa…
Can I hear an “Ewa”?

I don’t know why but after receiving Ali, the image of me holding the hands of the Indians and dancing dabkeh with sky-blue bandannas on our foreheads bombarded me.

Us: Heyyyyy! Hey Faisaly. Il-kull yghanni Faisaly!

I love cultural diversity, and I love Dubai. Only in Dubai can I get away with this shit.


On Facelifts and Such

Well, I guess it's about time that I flaunter another passion of mine:

No, not racy underwear, you pervert..


The Misadventures will be undergoing a series of facelifts. Please be kind enough to let me know what you think.



On Flirting and Such

Whenever I find myself unable to escape from running errands, I make a case of making those chores as less mind-numbingly boring as possible by flirting the pants out of every lucky receptionist girl I run into. People surprisingly appreciate it, even though the people behind the counter meet hundreds every day, but they are rarely treated more than ATM machines.

DISCLAIMER: I suggest you don’t try this in Jordan though, it doesn’t work as much and the results are unpleasant to say the least, so you’ve been forewarned.

Me: C’mon help me out here (flashing the widest smile, leaning into the counter)
Receptionist Girl (hesitating): Ok let me see what I can do
Me: Wow, I will really like you if you sort this out for me.
Receptionist Girl (smiling): Ok I’ll remove that guy (pointing to some hapless bystander) and give you his slot, only because you were smiling and he was not.
Me: Thanks (still smiling) Em. Bye

Even though I couldn’t see my facial expression, but I was blinking away my utter shock and stupor.

Of course, there are undesirable side-effects to flirting, like everything good in this world. Such effects include but are not limited to: jam-packed email inboxes with loads of rubbish including “What is Love?” forwards, baby pictures and Horoscopes of “Know your Tree?”

And there’s always the embarrassing blunder.

Me (attempting to break the ice): How come you speak Arabic so well?
Receptionist Girl #2(slightly embarrassed): Because I am Arab, I am from Oman, Muscat.
Me (to myself): Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit
Receptionist Girl#2: It’s alright, everyone thinks I am Hindi.
Me: I didn’t mean it in any demeaning way, honest! Some of them are really pretty. (She was)
Receptionist Girl#2: Yeah like they say in your tongue, [Insert Lebanese sentence that I can't seem to recall ]
Me (annoyed): I’m not Lebanese, even though I am cute and good-looking
Me: Guess where I’m from!
Receptionist Girl#2 quickly glances onto my paperwork.
Me: Ha Ha Ha. You cheated!
RG2: He He He! I did!
Me: Ok no presents for you!
Furthermore, RG2 went on to blabber in Hindi to her colleague.
RG2: Baling bing ring ting sing bing bing (Hindi sounds like Crazy Frog singing to me)
Me: You’re not talking about me are you? How come you speak Hindi so well?
RG2: He He He, no walla! I was saying how packed this place is.

It was an unworkable situation. That’s the farthest I could go after my initial blunder.

Other than this, there are different side effects including prying questions and the When-Are-We-Getting-Married? syndrome.

(3rd to 4th conversation)
Girl: Do you have a girlfriend?
Me: Yes I have one in every municipality of Jordan, for safe-keeping purposes.
Girl: Why do you say that? Do you count us anything other than one?
Me(gasping): whaaaaaa?
Me(to myself): We’re an “us” now? When did we get to that?
Girl: You know too many girls
Me(gasping): Okaaaaay. See ya!

But by the end of the day, all flirts, even the flirtiest of them, want to go back home, to a warm smile, and a hot-baked dinner spiced with herbs and love, and sleep on a silky shoulder and dream away of nothing at all.


On Breaking up and Such Part II

Hapless trio lie in their muddled beds, cheeks dotted with haphazard stubble. They peer through the shuttered windows, where blinks of dispersed light are seeping through. Their bodies feel alien and heavy with the intake of unnamable, addictive substances (No I don’t have any, go away now, what you trying to do get me deported in less than 90 days?). They contemplate the thought of going to school, college or work for less than a blink of an eye.

Trio: Naaaaaah (flips the blanket over his head, curls into a teary, human ball)

They put on the same tape or CD they’ve been listening to for the last 3 weeks, usually which is a mix of Hani Shaker for Arab lovers, peppered with Hamada Hilal and his infamous smash hit “Dayman domoo3” (Literally translated to “Always tears”) and other western songs such as “How could an angel break my heart”

Never mind the cultural, geographical, racial, and social differences, all the musical playlists will merge magically to the albums of a one, notorious band..

Linkin Park


You can’t go wrong with such lyrics.

Their parents are resigned to the notion that the broken-up with dudes’ are converted Satanists. They start looking in the yellow pages for psychiatric help.

The phone rings. Trio jump out of their beds hoping that it would be Heartless Bitch, sorry and regretful for the wrong she has done, but the cell phone clearly displays "Female Colleague".

Female Colleague is ever-supportive, you talk about your ex (without mentioning names), the racy things you did together with little embellishment. You contemplate the thought of rebounding with her, then you recall the snorting sound she makes when she laughs and dispose of the idea totally and completely.

Female Colleague: Where were you today? Why didn’t you come?
Trio: We’re tired, we didn’t feel like coming
FC: Guess who I saw yesterday in the café? That girl you took a course with, walked with (note she will never come out and openly say “That girl you dated”, Hell no!)
Trio: Is she the girl I dated?
FC(irked): I don't know the girl you dated. How would I know the girl you dated?

FC proceeds to do a funny “Oooooooooooooops!” face with her unseen face

Trio: Who was she with? What was she doing? What was she wearing?
FC: She was with some guy
Trio (panicking): Who is he? What was he doing? What was he wearing?
Trio (gulping): Was he touching her?
FC: I don’t know
Trio: Are you sure it's my ex-girl?
FC: Yeah the girl you dated

FC does real “Oooooooooooooops!” face with her face

Trio: You just said you didn’t know we dated.
FC: Ummmmm. Did I say that? Well, technically, maybe if we consider the fact..
Trio: I have to go. Bye
FC: Wait!

They speed-dial Best Friend’s number and propose the plan they’ve been formulating meticulously over the past 3 weeks

The plan’s name is “Revenge of the Miserably Broken Hearted”

Just as they are about to inquire where they can get some good shovels from.

Trio: Hey man, did you know that my girl was going out with some guy?
Best Friend: Ummmmmmmmmm.Errrrrr…Well,,,,mmmmmm….no
Trio: What’s with all stalling? Swear on your mother’s honor that you did not now.
Best Friend: Ok I knew.
Trio: FUCK YOU @#$#@ *beep* *beep* KUSS UKHT SHIKLAK *further beep beeps*

Whatever progress marked in those 3 weeks, will go unmarked. The pain and anguish resurfaces as if you broke up 5 minutes ago.

Then they realize another sorry reality.

It wasn’t her, it was them all along.

Breaking up is tough. But they’ll be fine. Just like many people before them, and after them will be fine.

As long as they keep that plan tucked in the deepest, darkest depths of their minds, and conjure it every once in a while with an evil smirk on their faces. Or they’ll end up sharing a cell with a big, black dude named Bubba, who we will not say what he likes to do when it gets dark.


On Breaking-up and Such

Breaking-up is tough.

And even though every being is a “unique snowflake” (or so they claim), but the breaking up process is essentially and universally the same.

Gal: I need to talk to you.
Nice Guy: Sure! (Hoping Gal wants to profess her innermost feelings)
Nice Guy with Slightly Naughty Intentions: Sure! (Hoping Gal wants to profess her innermost feelings that will lead to a making out session)
Naughty Guy: Sure! (Hoping Gal wants to profess her innermost feelings, that will lead to wild, animalistic sex)
Gal: I’m breaking up with you.
Nice Guy, Nice Guy with Slightly Naughty intentions, Naughty Guy: WHAT???

Never mind the fact that the Gal hasn’t called them for the last 3 weeks, and all the calls that were initiated by them ended abruptly with the same lame excuse of sleepiness, and all messages sent were replied to after 3 days with “i just saw ur msg”, but all men’s typical reactions will be identical; utter shock and disbelief.

Gal: I have to go now. I have a [Insert according to age group: class/lecture/ meeting/ airplane to catch]
Nice Guy, Nice Guy with Slightly Naughty intentions, Naughty Guy: Wait!
Gal: Bye, I’ll call you..
Nice Guy, Nice Guy with Slightly Naughty intentions, Naughty Guy: ok
The Gal has already disappeared by now.
Nice Guy, Nice Guy with Slightly Naughty intentions, Naughty Guy: Please?

Unknowingly to the unfortunate trio, this will be the first of many “Please” s to come, that will be met with icy unpleasingness.

After going back home, the three stooges check their mobile phone every 5 minutes, make sure that it’s not turned off or put on silent. When it rings, they jump onto it, only to find it’s a wrong number or their best friends

Best Friend: Hey man, what’s up? Let’s hang out at the same place we hang out at everyday and do the same thing we do everyday?
Trio: I’m tired man, maybe some other day
Best Friend: We’ll have ice-cream
Trio(thinking to themselves): you know ice-cream would be helpful for my spirits!
Trio: Ok sure! Come pick me up.

Best Friend and The Three Blind Mice meet lots of old and new friends. The atmosphere is vivacious and filled with mirthful laughter and good times. The second that the About-To-Be- Officially-Broken-up-With guys begin to enjoy their time and forget about that nagging feeling in the back of their heads that their blissful existence as they know it is about to be eternally shattered..

The phone rings..

Trio (jumping out of their seats): Heeyyyy. Thanks for calling I thought that you’d never…listen, I was thinking, maybe we can work this out, please?
Gal: I’m sorry Trio, this isn’t working out for me, I need my space, I’m at a phase in my life where I need to be focused on [insert according to age group: studies, career, boyfriend (note this offer is valid only for Naughty Guy], children (note this offer is valid only for VERY Naughty Guy with Demented Directions], it’s just that I’m not sure about what I want in life.. yadda yadda…please don’t get hurt…I’m not worth it…it’s not you, it’s me.. blah blah blah..you deserve better than me..etc. etc.]
Trio: ummm, please?
Gal Demoted to Heartless Bitch: I need to go now. I’m sleepy. Bye

2 to 9 ignored SMS’s later containing lots of ‘plz’s that eventually derail to ‘fuk u bitch!’s and ‘am srry, tht msg wznt meant 4 u plz it wz 4 my cuzn’ they realize the sad reality of the situation as it is;

It’s over.

They excuse themselves and go to the bathroom.

Nice guy weeps in the locked toilet.
Nice guy with slightly Naughty Intentions stares at the sink.
Naughty guy smashes the mirror.

Breaking up is tough, everyone will tell you that. But what no one will tell you is that we are all, essentially and universally, part of the same big snowflake.

To be continued.


On Dating, Alter-Egos, Rebirths and Such

I arrive at the café 15 minutes early as most dating coaches and clinically sane people would advise you. I go through the list of things I would say, the jokes I would make.


Shit, wasn’t there a list of topics on the agenda tonight to be discussed? Are cheat sheets allowed on dates?

I fidget. My hand needs to play with something. I take a bag of sugar and wrap it open for no particular or logical reason. The pebbles of sugar spill inevitably on the wooden table carved with initials and ‘woz ‘ere’ s and faded love hearts.

The Voice Inside My Head aka Sami: Great man..what are you trying to do? Show her what a freak show you really are on your first date?

Luckily, I manage to wipe away the sugar in time for the grand entrance of my date. She doesn’t look right nor left, I stand up, wave stupidly and shake her hand.

She looks exquisite.

I crack some joke of me knowing all the stories of the people sitting in the café by now.

Me: This guy thinks his girlfriend is too possessive, while she says that his ex has no right to call him, but he says that they’re only good friends, what do you think?

She smiles, suppressing a chuckle, I hope she doesn’t think I’m hinting that she's late.

Sami: Wow man, she is a looker. Want me to take over?
Me: No, I want to do it the right way..
Sami: Right way my ass. You know I’m much better with the LAY-DEE-Z, (doing an animalistic humping movement) ask your exes
Me: I know but I want her to like me for me.. not some silly alter ego I created..
Sami: HA HA HA HA! You’ve been watching too many Oprah Winfrey episodes my friend
Me: No I haven’t..you know that..
Sami: I think she’s staring at you..

It was the waiter and her staring at me evenly.

Waiter: What would you like to have, sir?
Being the gentleman I am, I gesture to my date to go ahead.

She orders some mocka-cuppo-fettucini thing. I order minted tea.

So much for sophistication.

We talk some little about work and troubles we’re facing in life. We find we have a lot in common; our fondness for foreign movies and desire for World Peace.

Speaking of which.

Halfway through the date, Sami pops out with a smoking, white suit and a matching hat in a foggy club, spotlights centered on him.

Sami (singing): Babyyyyyy, When I get that feeling I want seck-choo-wal healing..seck-choo-wal..When I get that feeling..
Me: I am aware of that, thank you very much for your kind contribution.. go back to alter-ego land where you meet other imaginary hot chicks and have sex all the time
Sami: I’m tired of them, they’re all so…fake! Listen, I can get her to put out in 20 minutes
Me: Shut up
Sami: Ok that’s an exaggeration, give me two weeks
Me: Go away
Sami: Okie

Sami picks a hot blonde in a night dress from the front seats, sweeps her off her feet in one quick motion, and plants a passionate kiss on her lips. Her fingers curl around his suit, and her manicured toes similarly in her sandals.

Back to boring reality world.

We called the waiter in a variety of names. Man, sir, gundoo, idiot, Sayyed, Hajj.

I pray he trips and falls and breaks his damn neck, and while we’re at it an apocalyptic, nuclear war is waged outside where human race perishes and we are forced to form a primitive community to guarantee the continuation and evolution of human species.

Nothing of that sort happens.

Sami: Tell her she’s fat..
Me: WHAT? She’s not fat..
Sami: You are gonna blow it anyway, might as well have fun with it.
Me: Go away man.
Sami: I give it 2 weeks.
Me: No, I feel this is it. Really, she’s the one.
Sami: Blech! (Does some silly The Matrix movements)

He was right. All it took was 2 weeks.

That’s when the old me died, and I became Sami, the silly alter-ego I created.


On Random Misadventure No. 2: The One Where I Get Beat Up by the Police in a Demonstration Part III

After my brief encounter with the Grim Reaper, who in my version turns out to be none other than the pedophile, effeminate Michael Jackson I woke up, to an unchanged scene where people were still running, screaming and flailing their arms wildly, like Smurfs attacked by Gargamel (Sharshabeel in the Arabic version). Sharp pangs of pain shot everywhere from my lower body, where most shoes and clubs landed-thankfully. An undressing session later (no I won't describe that, naughty you!) revealed patches of blue, green and red. I gave my bruises names; Masoud, Khaled and Imam.

A new pissed policeman was now standing right in front of me.

I don’t know what it is about me that sends policemen over the edge.

Picture this, me limping with one shoe off (remember it just dissipated away) half-blinded after my specs were smashed irredeemably to the ground, and my hair disheveled like a lion’s mane from the whole lying on the ground, getting beat up thing. I ran to a patch of ground, where green, lush grass would grow in better, sunny seasons where birds chirp and butterflies float.

It was winter.

I ran for a good 10 minutes in the mud all the time looking behind me trying to shake the policeman off. He was a persistent motherfucker, and he refuesd be shaken off. Then, suddenly, I heard deafening boom boom sounds. The policeman disappeared to thin air, just like he appeared. This was it. They’re shooting at us now.

I started to cry.

Me: Weird, I don’t feel sad or anything, why am I crying? Could there be a touchy-feely, sensitive guy inside me who actually cares for World Peace and all that shit?

Turns out the police were firing tear gas bombs into the university now.

Things quieted down. All you can hear was the whimpering of injured students or students in shock, all you can see was the tear-gas fog masking the unseen sniffling. I sat on a bench, still bawling, wiping off my tears, gasping for air and producing all sorts of unknown-before-to-me fluids from unknown-before-to-me orifices in my face.

Ahmad, what happened to Ahmad?

Close to the main gate, where the police and all their goons were stationed, a figure appeared, shuffling around, back heavily hunched, his denim bag slanted behind his back, in an Eeyore-like demeanor.


The tear gas, what about the tear gas, he can’t be too lazy to be immune to tear gas?

The gas was actually being blown away from him and the area he wandered safely and untouched was a hollow vacuum devoid from gases and shit.

The image caused me to experience an emotion only an elite, blessed few will experience in their entire lifetimes; crying and laughing at the same time.

Me: Hehehe, mmmmm, waaaa, sniff sniff, HA HA HA, mmmmm, ehe2 ehe2!

After the fiasco was over with, a few students hurt, a couple imprisoned, glasses smashed, clothing ripped(no big deal) I caught up with him and asked him what the hell was he doing close to the main gate and the frenzied police?

Ahmad: I was looking for my cap, man.

The soundtrack for The Trilogy of the One Where I Get Beat Up by the Police featuring the smash hit single ‘Pissed Policeman’ and ‘H.T.M.L.’ is now available in a store near you. Buy your copy now and receive a new special, bonus track ‘Fuck Da Poliz’ by the back-from-the-dead-to-release-a-new-record Tupac Shakur.


On Random Misadventure No. 2: The One Where I Get Beat Up by the Police in a Demonstration Part II

Due to the incessant pleading of my legions of die-hard, over-zealous fans who are now performing unprecedented, pagan rituals of mounting hamster heads on pikes in attempt to entice me to post the rest of the story a day earlier, I have decided to post the rest of the story a day earlier.

Ah, who am I kidding I’m bored out of my skull at work. And stapling my hand isn’t fun after the second time anymore and just sheer craziness, if you ask me.

Back to the story at hand. If you’re too lazy (like Ahmad) and haven’t read Part 1 of the story please do, so you are familiar with the course of events taking place. Don’t be like most people I know:

Most People I Know: I’ll just skip to episode 21 of (Lost/ Prison Break/ Desperate Housewives) and I’ll figure what happened before.

It doesn’t work that way.

I promise if you don’t chuckle at least once you can apply for my “No Chuckles Refund Policy” of a free click of the red “X” button in the right corner and never visit this blog again.

And so the story goes...

What was presumably a 5-minute walk from our faculty to the main gate took a good 15 minutes with 3 stops where I had to look back and urge Ahmad on.

Ahmad: Why are you in such a hurry, man? The demonstration isn’t going anywhere..(Chuckles)
Me: Oh dear God!

Nothing could’ve prepared us for the scene that was about to meet us. Emotions were running high, simmering gradually on a slow, warm pot of anger. People packed in groups of threes, fours and fives like those documentaries of wild life in Africa trying to earn a false sense of security. Rows of fully-clad policemen lined against the main gate, tugging their batons, like cowboys in an old Western movie.

Me (a little anxious): We could turn back if you want!
Ahmad: But we’re already here, man..
Me: Ok we’ll just say a couple of chants, “Falasteen 3arabieh” “*Beep* ukht Sharon” and whatever and go home (Literally translated to Palestine is Arab, Fuck Sharon (I’m not going into the literal, literal translation for now)

Ahmad didn’t say anything, it was like him to respond to a third of my correspondences.

As soon as I stood to chant, 3 rows of demonstrators closed in behind me, sandwiching me, and squishing me to the point where I could see the lice growing in the hair of the demonstrator in front of me.

Someone said something about going out of the university, and it seemed like everyone else liked the idea. Even the lice..

Someone: Let’s penetrate the hordes of pissed policemen and move this demonstration to the streets
Other Imbecilic Demonstrators with No Mind of their Own: Yeah, yeah, we could do that, yeah yeah, why not! Good idea! Yeah. Yeah, cool!
Lice: Yeah, yeah! (Doing Usher's "Yeah" dance)
Me: Hehe, Ok guys let’s not get too excited here, we proved our point, maybe we should all calm down and have a cup of coffee and discuss this like grown-up adults…

All hell broke loose. The policemen flocked like rabid dogs into the university. They were clearly pissed that their day of lying in their police cars, harassing beggars and squeezing free falafel sandwiches off passerbys was ruined.

The thing about stampedes is that they are real and people do die because of them in Hajj and chasing of the bulls in Spain. I’ll tell you why. The rows in the front push the rows in the back till they tumble like dominoes. And like a domino chip, you can’t get up, because another domino chip is trapping your squirming legs as other dominoes happy that they still retain control over their feet come and squash you to your breathless death.

It’s not a pretty way to go, believe me.

I experienced one of the most painful physical agonies known to mankind.

Being trampled on.

People stepped on me like I was no more than a Door Welcome mat. I saw my left sneaker fly off my foot lost into a sea of unassorted, unclaimed objects like notebooks, shoes, glasses. Speaking of which, my specs flews off too, I eyed them carefully to take a mental note of where they landed to come back and pick them up. At that specific second, some unnamed demonstrator’s heel smashed my specs to the ground.

I make a mental note not to make mental notes.

As I lay on the ground, staring up at the beautiful, azure skies above, dotted with cushiony, white clouds, I saw maniacal policemen whizzing by, throwing their clubs like ogres from Lord of the Rings and screaming, hysterical students running away, stamping me along the way with the patchwork on the soles of their shoes. Every time a blue passed over me, I thanked God silently that he didn’t beat the shit out of me.


One policeman decided to ruin my vacation, just as much as I ruined his.

Pissed Policeman: GOOM WALAH!! GET UP YOU ..
Me: Please don’t hit me, wait, I can explain this…

I covered my head.


Insert scene of gangster-suit wearing pack of dancers. Dancers proceed to perform a series of perfectly-choreographed dances and moonwalks

Me (screaming in pain): Aaow!!
Dancers (in tune with Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal): Sami are you ok? Won’t you tell us that you’re ok, Sami?
Me (in the highest Michael Jackson pitch I can muster): I don’t know..
Dancers: There’s a mark on your body, that he struck you with a baton, Sami
Me: I don’t know..
Dancers: He came into your university, left bodies on the groundwork,
Me: Wallah, I don’t know..
Dancers: Then you ran to the inside, you were struck down it was your doom, Sami
Dancers: You’ve been hit by, you’ve been struck by, a pissed policeman.

So this is what death must be like? Multi – Michael Jacksons performing 80’s smash hit singles, over and over. I’m not minding this.

To be continued, in its final episode On Random Misadventure Number Two: The One Where I Get Beat Up by the Police in a Demonstration Part III