My Auntie Yaya is a cabbie. She frequently passes by my trapeze-form concrete highrise to pick me up for a ride. I get fastened in the car seat, either alone in the car with her or with a large number of other kids that are all related to me. I call her Yaya like my dad did when he was my age.
The music is a constant. She pianos on the radio dial, between the four main Dubai channels: no, she doesn't stay locked on more alternative 92FM. At a red light, she will turn to her passengers, in the back, and will beckon them to lipsynch with her.
The coffee cup is a constant too. Still hot or actually very cold and old, she nurses it. Apparently, it all tastes bitter anyway now that she has switched to black coffee with her dietary constraints.
She takes me to the zoo and on the way, she repeats the word Zoooooooo again and again: but I can say crocodile and flamingo. I point to every bird and say flamingo. Its her obsessive fault!
She has taken me on a ride just last week: first to pick my only female cousin from school. She gives me a golf ball to play with under her trees of predilection: the palms! No sooner is my cousin out that she "flies" her to ballet. She had barely put her tennis racket down!
My father says that Jumeirah one is a sleepy neighbourhood. Just step into the Ballet Center and you are in a vestige of Dubai (which has starred in the film City of Lights). My cousin is prepping for the Royal Board of Ballet examinations and she takes her dancing very seriously. No sooner was she dressed that we dashed out to go to the zoo.
On other days, Yaya will take me to her cousin's home where I can flirt with the all female triplets. I jump on the trampoline and play in the garden while she tutors them French. They are a year older than me. Age won't matter in a few years!
She has taken me to the beach on the windiest day! She knows I am Canadian so she just requests that I wear a hooded sweater and we spend a few good hours listening to the wind and watching the waves and the seaguls. I have had "manaesh" (thyme pizza) on that beach with her and her artist-friends.
I much enjoy the trips to the violin teacher because the neighbourhood is quiet enough where she will open the sunroof and beckon her little kids and my cousin, her nephew, who is frequently part of the gang, to jut their heads out and catch the breeze. I envy them so much that when the car is parked she will also carry me so I can see the world from the vantage point of the roof her SUV.
She has taken me to Carrefour. We have danced in the aisles, opened cookie boxes right there and then, weighed fruit and veggies, visited the fish monger, played ball with a potato, pretended to buy loads of Snickers! She stopped at her usual halting post: Barrista and despite the dietary restrictions, she had a cappucino.
Up and down SheikhZayedRoad her taxi commutes. And sometimes she takes me for a ride.
Did she write this blog in honour of my second birthday?
what a beautifully written entry! dubai can be a normal city for kids...this is as close it gets....ReplyDelete
This looks like a rerun of Dubai 76 when the boy's father was also two and his little sister Yaya whom he used to follow like a shadow was 6.Instead of the black SUV,there was a Brown Chevy station wagon,that used to transport everyone driven by a loyal and kind Indian driver named Karim.ReplyDelete
The Jumeirah beach was the only refuge for children looking for shells and other marine life.Living near the Dubai zoo,which is still the same 35 years later was another outing.The American school was open to the public,so the kids would come with their families and run on the greens of the football field.Fridays used to be awaited impatiently,when families would search for a green pasture in the desert with a tree or two as a refuge.Blocks of ice would be bought from Satwa to fill the Colemans,fresh manakeesh and lahmeh beajeen would be hot from AlMukhtar bakery in Sharjah;and music would be blaring out of the latest tapes,the size of a radio itself.The weekly picnic was the time friends would exchange news,no Blackberries or I Phones in sight.
Happy Birthday to our beautiful "Porcelaine Doll",and happy memories to his father and aunt.The difference from last year's birthday,is that the boy recognized the sudden arrival of a little bundle of joy: a brother,so sweet and tender.
While reading the entry, it did take me back to my own childhood as the previous commentator correctly pointed out. Dubai offers so many choices for entertainment today; it's reassuring that some favorite down to earth yet classic passtimes remain in this sea of malls and instant gratification. PTB has been more than an aunt to the narrator. She's really taken him in as a member of her tribe and he looks forward to their outings with such fondness and excitment. Happy Birthday my little angel! May you celebrate many more always surrounded with warmth and love!ReplyDelete
He loves you so much and enjoys your company so much that every time I take him down to the garage he yells "Yaya?". You definitely show him a different Dubai than I do while he accompanies you to all the different activities. I can tell he enjoys all these experiences. He is so lucky to have such a caring Auntie.. Thank you for sharing this very special day.ReplyDelete