I woke upon hearing the call to prayer at 4 a.m. and couldn’t get back to sleep. Now that it’s finally 6:30 a.m., I’ve given up trying in favor of sipping Nescafe.
I can’t quite figure out what Nescafe is exactly. I’ve had it in other parts of the world at other times in my life, but I’ve never really questioned the existence of this hot brown liquid. Heck, one advertisement says the beverage contains “all the goodness of coffee,” without actually stating that Nescafe is coffee.
I could easily search the great interwebs for answers, but I don’t want to know.
I want Nescafe to remain a mystery.
This drink is making me think about all the goodness of travel. The best part of going places is NOT deciphering all that happens around you.
Yesterday, David and I went to one of the exquisite malls here in Abu Dhabi. Our goal was to find sneakers and file folders for his first day of school. But we left, some four hours later, with a rich Nescafe-like experience. The malls swirl with activity, much of which is impossible to reconcile.
Why are Emerati women (all of whom are dressed in abaya, some with their entire faces veiled) shopping at Banana Republic?
Moreover, why am I at a shopping mall in Abu Dhabi? I’m the one who’s out of their element. None of this is exactly my cup of tea. The simple fact of the matter is this: I’ve come from the United States to drink it all in.
Expats and Emerati live parallel, yet separate lives. We move in the same spaces albeit completely different worlds. I don’t need to have every detail of their experience explained to me. I am happy to be in Al Wahda Mall on a Thursday in late August with people UNLIKE me.
If Nescafe has taught me anything, it is this: Understanding is overrated. Just sip, and be.
P.S. Nescafe does work like coffee, however, and I am not a big fan of the Abu Dhabi potty. Why is it square? Why is there a spray nozzle on the wall, and a drain on the floor? These are the questions I really don’t want answered.