Notes on a very bizarre May journey..
Paris, hit and.. stand!!!
I wasn't wearing anything especially objectionable nor especially attractive ( a white semi-fitted t-shirt and a red knee-high skirt)
I wasn't looking angry, happy, I might even have had no specific expression on my face..
I wasn't doing anything any certain race/gender/religion/crazy person might find objectionable..
I was just walking in the very crowded paris pompidou center area, on a nice Parisian afternoon, when a very short thirty-something woman jumped towards me (yes, she didn't run, she jumped in a superman manner), kicked my left leg with all the power God gave her, then stood ominously, staring at me. Ready to strike again.
I, horrified yet having all my survival instincts kicking in..
Suppressed my famous high-pitch scream,
didn't move an inch,
then very very slowly looked at other people without even moving my head…
A few long, long, eternal minutes later an African-American family of four jumped in for my rescue (their sweet accent can't be mistaken for another).. oh those heroes!
they spread around me, circled me, one on every side. I bet people watching thought they were my own personal bodyguards :-)
For me, what they did means they must've been my family in a previous life.
I didn't even thank them. I just started crying the minute I was out of immediate danger and walked away… walked and didn't stop, didn't even look back, for blocks and blocks and blocks, till I reached my hotel on the other side of the city, went to my room, and slept in my clothes and shoes with my cellular phone/credit cards in my pocket till the next day.
Talk about being traumatized!
If you ever go to New York City you MUST stay (or brunch) at this hotel..
Jumeirah Hotel on central park south (which I keep on referring to as Park lane, because it reminds me of London's park lane)
First time I stumbled upon this place I met this guy in the weirdest way.. he held the door for me. And even though it didn't meet a single Arab in NYC I unexplainably didn't say "thanks" or "merci" but just said "shokran"!
to which he replied "3afwan"!!
We both looked shocked at first, then had the biggest smiles on our faces.. it turned out he's Emiratee.
Well, this ain't the only reason I fell in love with this hotel. But rather cause during an-all-business trip to NYC, It became my "me-time" place. It had all I needed to be transformed from "angry-over-worked-Eve" to "happy-Eve" (well, just at morning hours, to be more precise); rich cappuccinos, some Arabic newspapers, and very luxurious surroundings in a not-so-luxurious city.
Seattle, 2nd floor elevator
We had only met each other four days ago.. but I realized, when I unexpectedly gave him the warmest, longest hug good-bye while we both quietly stood waiting for the elevator after what I thought was our last dinner together on my last night in Seattle, that though we seem to be going in opposite directions; him two floors down to the lobby, I two floors up to my room, that we were both treading the same path; two un-Saudi Saudis in Seattle..
Coming to this conclusion gave me a much needed dose of feeling safe, as I knew I made a friend for life, and I knew God does listen to a worried mom's prayers to send her little girl helpful strangers when caring-close-ones are all on other continents.
We had only met each other four days ago.. a friend called him from Saudi with an-all-familiar-message to any Arabic-over-sees student: hey, a friend-of-a-friend is coming to Seattle, for the first time, and doesn't know a single soul out there, take care of her.
Beirut, "Saudi fuck-ups welcomed here"
One of the things I love about Libnen –and I'm sure many Saudi's agree- is that the minute I land in Beirut rafe2 el7arere airport 9/11, with all it's horrendous effects on me the normal-everyday-Saudi that had nothing to do with it, is no more.
Furthermore, as far as a Saudi is concerned, in libnen, it is as if time stopped decades ago.
which I didn't really notice before till I came to Beirut from JFK New York City (via Frankfurt), On a united airlines flight!.
A half Lebanese friend once told me " ..in Libnen, Every Saudi is literally treated as royalty. You guys all have diplomatic immunity here. It is kind of as if the oil boom has just happened yesterday. To us, no Saudi is an unemployed, deeply in debt, and here to waist what little dollars they sold their car for. It is still the seventies here" ..
Some might say that we -Saudi's- feel our best in Beirut because we love being treated like royalty, which does have some truth to it since we do perceive ourselves as being all royalty. and it serves our sick qabale background to be treated as royalty; thus better than other nations (especially madane nations). But I see it differently, to me yes, we Saudi's feel our best out of all the cities of the world in Beirut. even, sadly but very true more than we do in our own country. because Beirut gives hope to a hopeless Saudi. Beirut, like a loving mother of a spoiled out of job fifty-something son who wasted the last penny of his inheritance on zilch, it –beirut- still sees us as promising as we were in the seventies, and it still treats us as the average joe/3bdul when the rest of the world , justifiably, looks at us as either the not-so-average-usama or the delusional Casanova-wanna-be.
But why, why does libnen treat Saudi's with this undeserved respect? I think althou the surface reason might seem to be cause of our much needed dollars…. I do differ. I think it has more to it than that. In my opinion, it might have to do with the fact that libnen a country so promising yet ever failing all expectations of all other countries knows exactly how it feels to be a fuck-up. And that even a fuck-up needs to be cut some slack.
So, thank you libnen for being a place where a Saudi, who is entitled to respect from time to time, still gets it.
Posted by SaudiEve at 12:14 AM