Reel to Real

Tatooine, from Star Wars movie.


David has mentioned, more than once, that it appears we are living on Tatooine. You know, the double-sunned desert planet from Star Wars. His observation has created a Star Wars Renaissance in our household. We have rented, and re-watched two of the films.

We’ve also purchased two Star Wars’ Lego sets, which caught the eyes and hearts of the bellboys at the Royal Ramee hotel as we were leaving. They were spellbound. They asked if they could lift up the little Storm Troopers (not calling them by name, of course).

10671501_10152673725086223_4291862346565452185_n“This is war game, right?” One of them asked, smiling brightly.

He took out his phone and snapped many pictures. I may go get them tiny sets as a “thank you” gift for taking such good care of us at the Ramee.

Cut to yesterday morning, our first morning in Mangrove Place on Reem Island. I awoke to a view that almost had me believing we were on Tatooine. A bright sun (about the size of two) coming up over the desert and distant sea.

We are a bit further from David’s school now, so I rushed to get him out the door in search of a cab. Turns out, here on the Expat Isle portion of Tatooine, the cabs are mostly taken in the morning. We stood in front of the building across the street from ours in a state of despair. The only thing worse than riding in a brake-slamming cab is not having one to ride in.

View from master bedroom in Mangrove Place.
View from master bedroom in Mangrove Place.

David’s school is very strict about tardiness. And he’s hell-bent on getting a perfect attendance record which results in some sort of cool reward.

I notice a man with two children right next to us, and they seem to be in the same boat. The sans-cab boat. (We’re gonna need a bigger boat, I laugh to myself.) The man notices David’s uniform.

“You are going to the American International School?” he says in a French accent.


“My children are going to the Lycée next door,” he says, looking panicked.

“Do you want me to take them?” I ask.

“Would you?” he pleads. “My bus is here.”

He explains to his teary-eyed children what is happening, just as I flag an available cab. He puts 20 Durham in my hand. I ask for his business card, which he provides. Then he is off on the bus. I have his kids and a cab. David looks freaked out.

I call Allan and tell him to speak French to the children to put them at ease, but they looked freaked out too. Their father has just passed them off to a stranger.

I asked them for their names.

“Lucas and Leia.”

Am I dreaming? 

“Like in Star Wars?”

“Oui.” The boy smiles a great big grin.

This is really happening. I am on Tatooine with Luke and Leia.  THIS IS NOT luke-and-leiaA JOKE. THIS IS REAL LIFE.

Our cab finally arrives at the French School/American School. Luke and Leia make their bell. But David is late and gets a pink slip. He’s tearful. I escort him to his class and tell the teacher the whole story.  I had to take Luke and Leia to school. Their father just handed them and some cash to me, then caught his bus. Can’t we have a Good Samaritan hall pass? 

She knows I am a writer and probably thinks I am making the whole thing up. BUT I’M NOT.

The teacher is gracious and takes the pink slip. She’ll erase it from David’s record. I call the kids’ dad and leave a voice message that his children are safely at school. I also send him an email. He responds with extreme gratitude.

This morning? Allan took David to school and gave me a break from the Empire. I am sitting at my new coffeeshop, La Brioche, in the building where I got the cab with Luke and Leia.

The force is with me.







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