So as of tomorrow evening I’ll be on my way to Dubai for ten days including about a day of not-so-bad travel each way. We just got about a foot of snow yesterday. I like snow, a lot. However, the beginning of the end of surefootedness on the ground I walk on takes me by surprise every year. This way, I can come back to the icy wavy wobbly ground expecting it. I went to the post office yesterday while it was still snowing and had to walk in the middle of the road since the sidewalks weren’t plowed yet. There wasn’t much traffic but when there was I had to leap for the side of the road into a dune of snow and salt. It was worth it, the post office is always worth it. The weather in Dubai looks like it will be fun for a visit, not so great to live there.
I’m giving a keynote talk at a library conference, sitting in for a Q&A session and then leading a few workshops on blogs and wikis and how they work. Then I have about a week of screwing around. My pal Step is there and she’ll take me a few places and I’m sure there are places I’ll see on my own. I want to see a greater flamingo. I’d like to walk around on a sand dune that I don’t have to tread lightly on for fear of erosion. I want to sit on a new beach and talk to new people.
As I’ve told people where I’ve been going and why, the responses have been interesting. There’s the normal amount of “Go you!” and “I’m jealous.” [to which my reply is always “Just go then. Once the money is in line all the rest is sorting priorities.”] and then there’s the weird “OMG are you going to have to wear a VEIL” jokes. It’s true that many women there wear full body coverings as you can see when you look at the library website. However, Dubai is fairly Westernized and people visiting can wear pretty much whatever they want with the caveat, as my friend let me know, that more revealing clothing will attract unwanted attention of the “I’m going to treat you like a slut/prostitute” variety or just feelings that you’re not being respectful. I guess to people for whom this is an eternal abstraction — men, people who don’t travel when not in the company of men, people who don’t travel — this may seem amusing or strange or worthy of ridicule.
For me, it’s just a little scary to remember that while I feel totally okay generally doing whatever the hell I want here in the States, that may not fly elsewhere. And it won’t fly because I’m female. And, more to the point, I won’t know until I get there. Exciting, sort of.