Tuesday, September 30, 2008

DUBAI | Eid Mubarak and Finally, a Library

Finally, Eid has arrived, and the fasting month is over. The restaurants and cafes are finally open for business during daylight. This is such a relief.

Today is our day off, so three colleagues and myself, we went down to the Mall of Emirates. We followed some dubious directions within the mall when we were looking for the Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre -- which was supposed to have a small community library staffed by volunteers. The signages are very misleading, but we found it eventually.

Annual membership fee is 150 Dirhams, with allows you to check out 8 books, for 4 weeks. It was a modest place, but with some good titles. I went ape-shit happy when I saw the Freya Stark titles available. They also have a copy of Stark's East is West -- which has gone out of print and I have not been able to find a copy anywhere. It is the story of her war-time experiences in Egypt, Palestine and Syria, way back in the days when it was unthinkable for a woman to travel alone, much less in the Middle East. I grabbed the book immediately. There's also a few Graham Greene biographies that I have my eyes on. Next trip, I think.

Ah, yes, I am now a member of the little community library in Dubai. I'm so proud of myself. :)

Okay, maybe it was an impulsive decision to put down 150 dirhams just like this. I like the books available, but Mall of the Emirates is very far away from where I will be staying. Taxi fare will probably cost me around 80 dirhams to-and-fro. Is it worth it? I don't know.

Also borrowed: Bookless in Baghdad, by Shashi Tharoor, and The Selected Essays of Gore Vidal.

Until later.

14 comments:

Doc Martian said...

sounds like you're home.

Melanie said...

Freya Stark! Lucky you. And I am so glad you found a library, I hope it's a feasible trip to keep your mind fed frequently!

Chris said...

Yay for joining the library! :) I totally agree with doc martian...you have something familiar now!

Bybee said...

I'm a little jealous, but happy for you.

Dark Orpheus said...

Doc - Well, not totally home yet. I need reliable internet access before I'm home. :)

Melanie - Oh yes, I was so happy at the Freya Stark available. I knid of regretted having to leave some of my Freya Stark books at home because of luggage constraints.

But not sure how much it will cost me to go to the library. 80 dirhams is approximately USD40.00 of taxi fare. Going to the library will be expensive.

Chris - It's a nice place, the library. And my colleagues get to borrow a few books on my membership too, so we're happy.

Bybee - Haha. Thank you. But it will be very expensive though. Let us not take the library for granted.

stefanie said...

Woo! A community library with lots of good books. If you weight the cost of buying the books against the taxi faire, you will very likely come out ahead of the game.

Doc Martian said...

1 Moroccan dirham = 0.124736 U.S. dollars

which means that 80 dirhams is like $9.97 usd.

that ain't bad at all. bus fare in the u.s. to and fro would be 3 dollars or so. cab fare'd be like $15-20 in cab-heavy areas... $30-40 in areas where cabs are a luxury.

Doc Martian said...

DOH! MY BAD! the uae dirham comes to 21.78. still... that ain't bad for cab fare. how is it in biking miles?

Dark Orpheus said...

Stefanie - The only way to make it really count is to borrow 8 books every trip, and to make the trip count by stocking up on groceries at Carrefour supermarket etc.

But overdue fines at 1 dirham every day for each book.

Can't wait for the metro to be built soon.

Doc - With the heat in Dubai, biking is not an option. I will probably die of heatstroke on the way.

Doc Martian said...

depends on what time the library opens. even in hot weather it usually ain't bad before 10a... but if you miss that 10a 'curfew' then yer sol for most of the day.

also, biking will be WONDERFUL during the span between mid-october and early april. highs of 58-80 in that period. winters where you need a hoodie for at night... but that's all... maybe the coldest month of the year you'll need to layer a couple layers and wear a cap... you're going to love it.

if the places you visit seem safe, a bike will be a joy to have... but have alternate plans between early may and early october.

by the way. be sure and talk to the locals about dust. i'm sure it requires some specific responses if it gets bad where you are. here in the nw corner of the mojave in a valley... we have afternoon dust... but it isn't brutal and is far from health threatening in civic centers. it might be different there with a whole subcontinent of sand. follow their advice or example on that, cuz damn if a lot of particulate matter can't mess up your health.

Cheers!
Doc

lisaalber said...

Your Dubai posts are fascinating. I'm curious how you come to be visting Dubai...

Carl V. said...

Hey, finding a library cannot be anything BUT a GOOD THING. I'm thrilled for you!

Matt said...

Gore Vidal? Obviously they don't censorize books there. That's a good start.

jpderosnay said...

yay for the library!

thats like discovering water in the deser for us! :D