I recently met some close friends in Dubai. From what I’ve been told although Dubai is in the Middle East it has strong western influences which were evident by the peppering of chain restaurants and expats with foreign clothes. There are some things that stood out as time in some cases does not always trump tradition. There is still sightings of separation in the sexes apparent by the female only or male only labels. There were a few times when none acknowledgement or response from a man was evident but I wasn’t sure if that was due to my gender or foreign status. Yet I was very aware of the slight difference. Not in all places but enough to have stood out in my psyche.
Overall it was a very eye opening trip. On our ride to the safari we became aware that married men are not allowed to sit next to other women. The driver asked him to move to the front passenger seat while his wife silently sobbed beside us. When we journeyed to Abu Dhabi an hour away we were required to wear traditional head wrap and coverings to be permitted into the mosque. It was quiet evident again that things were different. We weren’t allowed to step into certain sections of the mosque. But I respect honor and tradition so a part of me instinctly understood the nature of sacredness being conveyed. We spent all of our days on day long tours or treks into the city. So much so that when I returned I slept for probably 16 hours in one day. Sleep for me is symbolic of an internal integration or a spiritual shift that occurs as a result of a long journey. In their streets I was a damn near bald headed liberated black woman walking the streets of unspoken limitations for my gender. I call it a balancing of the scales, being able to see both sides of the coin in one swoop. Self realization of where you are at and how far you have come. Another piece of my puzzle revealed.