That's intimacy. And it's everything. It's what I strive for. It makes me feel loved, listened to, and paid attention to. And let me just say, I need quite a bit of attention. But isn't this what we all want? At the most base, what else is there?
I can overlook a shitload of negatives and annoyances, if that's in place. We all have our values and priorities, and this is one of mine. When my significant other, lover and boyfriend, calls me out, it triggers something deep within, and I can feel myself melting into the truthful words, and I am light and comforted.
I like to think that I'm a great big mystery. I'd also like to think that I can get back my C-cup breast size. However, as evidenced by the following, I am as transparent as a sheet of transparency paper. And I love it.
My friend and I went to Abu Dhabi last week, which turned out to be the hottest day of the summer. It's also Ramadan, and the road was full of hot and hungry drivers. Not a good combination. We brought food with us, but not wanting to get pulled over and fined, we kept ducking beneath the dashboard, taking bites of our bananas and pint size pears. It kind of reminded me of dating in high school. Whole other story.
Our main objective was to take a tour of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. We got lost several times, as there aren't any signs reading Mosque This Way. This is odd, since it's probably the only tourist attraction in Abu Dhabi and it's one of the biggest and greatest architectural structures in all of the Emerites.
After driving around in circles for about an hour and a half, we made it to the Mosque, just in time for the last scheduled guided tour. We were told that we had to wear a black Abaya, which is a robe-like dress, worn by some women in parts of the Islamic world, as well as a head scarf.
There was an actual coat room, or Abaya room, as it were, where a woman handed me an Abaya in my size. My Abaya was a bit long and I kept tripping over it. Now if I had worn some heels, there wouldn't have been a problem. But I digress.
We tried not to think about how many armpits had sweated in our Abayas, and proceeded to a changing area. I brought my own scarf, (always thinking ahead) which I wrapped around my head like a pro. My friend had her own scarf as well, but when she wrapped it, she looked less like a Muslim woman, and more like a chemo patient. Sad but true.
There was something about wearing the Abaya and scarf that made me feel very 'local and authentic." We left our shoes with the hundred or so others outside the Mosque. It was a beautiful sight and we were both glad that we had made the trek.
The main prayer hall features the world’s largest chandelier under the main dome, weighing over nine tons. The Mosque’s seven gold-colored chandeliers, from Germany, feature thousands of Swarovski crystals from Austria and some glass work from Italy, and cost about US$8.2 million.
The 99 names (qualities) of Allah featured on the Qibla wall exemplify traditional Kufi calligraphy. It is also stated in the Quran that Allah has 100 names minus one, as the last one is too great and you will only find out what it is on your judgement day. There is one blank area above the center name for that “minus one” name.
There is a 17,000 square meter courtyard which is decorated with white marble from Greece. The Mosque has approximately 1,000 columns in its outer areas which are clad with more than 20,000 marble panels inlaid with semi-precious stones, including lapis lazuli, red agate, amethyst, abalone shell and mother of pearl.
Cleanliness which is ablution, or wudhu, has been made compulsory before each prayer and in certain cases even a full bath has been made obligatory before prayer. The bathroom was beautiful, and I had no problem eating my hard boiled eggs on the toilet.
We decided (okay, I decided) to take the Big Bus Tour of Abu Dhabi, just like the one that I took in Dubai. My friend wasn't as excited as I was, and even suggested that, since we had seen the Mosque, she'd be fine if we drove back to Dubai and had lunch. I have a thing about not wanting to miss out when I'm traveling. Besides, we were already there.
We sat inside the bus, as it was death outside, and waited to see something worthy of our time and money. Unfortunately, it never came to pass. It was the most boring tour I had ever been on. And I've been to Colonial Williamsburg.
It became painfully obvious that we were traveling the same roads, passing the same sights, as we did when we were getting lost hours earlier. There wasn't anything to see. Every potential stop, where we might have hopped off, involved being outside and eating. Perfect.
We passed what was called, the carpet souk, which was more like a few carpet stores in a mini mall. There was another souk (outside) that carried restaurant supplies, large plastic garbage pails, and ceramic planters, that I was sure was from China. Two women hopped off to 'shop'. Now they were stuck for 2 hours until the next bus arrived. There's just so much junk one can sift through.
Two long hours later, we headed back to the Mosque to pick up my car. Unfortunately, the Big Bus couldn't drop us off near my car, so we had to walk. We took a chance and went into one of the Mosque's underground parking lots and sweet talked a security guard to let us take a short cut, and an elevator, up to where my car was parked.
We were so happy to be back in front of the Mosque that I asked my friend to take one last picture of me. A split second later, a security guard was yelling at us. We weren't allowed to take pictures, in our civilian clothes, with our heads exposed, in front of the Mosque. I think he actually asked me to erase the picture. I thought he was going to confiscate my camera. We apologized and scurried to the car.
When I got home, I told my boyfriend about my day. He thought I looked cute in my Abaya and commented on the Mosque's beauty, after I sent him a picture. I was in the middle of telling him about the uneventful Big Bus Tour, when he asked me why we didn't drive around ourselves. Before I could answer he said, "Because you paid for your ticket when you bought the Dubai one, right. And you didn't want to waste the money."