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.