Getting used to Dubai implies also embracing the weekly routine: no work on Fridays, beginning of the week on Sundays. My ‘resting’ Friday was in fact quite eventful. To begin with, I used the fact that the metro is closed until 1pm on Fridays to do my shopping in a different supermarket (possibly cheaper), where I proudly bought more local food: Arabic bread, Arabic cheese, a melon from Oman, and some dates. I then killed some time in the swimming pool, waiting for the temperatures to become tolerable. I decided that around 4pm was a good time to go out, so I ventured down to the very end of the metro line, to the shopping mall Ibn Battuta. The building is, once again, massive, made of six different areas, with the architecture inspired by different parts of the world, like China, India, Persia, Turkey. And this is not completely out of place, given the amount of walking one has to do inside!
After wandering around for quite a while, I decided to take the metro again and to head off to The Beach at Dubai Marina. The time of the day was just perfect, around 6.30pm, when the sun was setting on the Arabic Gulf and the temperature was being the most clement since I’ve arrived here. A splash in the sea, a quick shower in the ultra-modern facilities free of charge, a picture taken with a sort of open photo booth (yes, it’s the one you see at the top). After sunset I strolled along The Walk, a long pedestrian street near the sea which is almost too magic to describe: lights, food shops coming to life for the Iftar (the breaking of the Ramadan), art galleries, hotels, palms, kiosks, and much more. The last success of the day was to take a picture of the Infinity Tower (now the Cayan Tower in fact), a stunning building of 306 metres with a twist of 90 degrees.
After my Friday full of fun, on Sunday the time had come for me to start working in the gallery as a organiser/helper at the Farjam Foundation’s Art Camp. I mainly helped Yasmin with the activities we had prepared for the children. On the first day, among other things, we made the children look at a painting by Iranian artist Nasser Ovissi, pick and frame each a different detail, and reproduce it on a bigger sheet, bringing their own ideas to it. Some of the outcomes were truly outstanding, and each drawing was artistic in its own way. It was a pleasure to wander around, give this child a pencil and that child a rubber, admiring what they made. Soon the morning came to an end, and with it my first day of work. I asked Marjam, the director of the gallery, whether there was anything else I could do, and she asked me to do a research about any exhibitions about calligraphy that had been put on worldwide, as this is one of the potential future exhibitions of the Farjam Foundation. I must say it’s great to be able to do more than simply helping with the camp, as it’s all good experience I take home. Incidentally, on Saturday I posted my first tweet on the Farjam Foundation’s Twitter account (photo attached above): Social Media Manager, here I am!
The last thing worth mentioning of my totally weird weekend/beginning of the week was my trip to the Catholic Church of St Mary for the 6pm mass. Imagine the most crowded service you’ve ever been. Double the amount of people, but also the size of the building, and you get the 6pm mass at St Mary. The church is a large building, with a modern-ish though quite anonym architecture, and was absolutely packed with people of all nationalities, largely Filipinos, Indians, South Americans, Lebanese, and African. At 6pm sharp the mass started and I thank God I managed to find a place which was not taken. The mass itself was quite an experience: I kept thinking that Christianity was simply amazing, bringing all these people together, but also I couldn’t help smiling at the songs and prayers, and at the way everything was said in all sorts of wacky accents. Communion included, everything ran smoothly. At the end, I headed back to the metro station, surrounded by an orderly crowd of people going home from work, after what had been for them a standard first day of the working week.