Since something like 88% of Dubai’s population comes from somewhere else, well, nearly everything at the grocery store comes from somewhere else, too.
I’ve started imagining that Pepper has many lives and many homes, that we are a silent community of caretakers, filling bowls with cat food and fresh water with an ice cube for good measure.
If you’re salivating, you’ve got it right.
There are holes where there should be people, holes where there should be plans and dreams manifested, and holes where there once was hope. Yet, that bodily clarity, coupled with gratitude at the forces of healing, is the nearest experience I can imagine to feeling–and loving–absence.
At a juncture when we’ve been asked, or forced, to give up so much, I take time this year’s end—out of obstinacy, or emotional fatigue, or perhaps yearning for some sense of control—to consider what I willingly choose to give up. So much has been taken already, but I’ll make the list a bit longer, out of (a very mature, measured variety of) spite. At the end of 2020, I hereby give up…
Just before dawn, we made our way into the Dubai desert to watch the sun rise and, along with it, an enormous and colorful hot air balloon. We arrived, along with a smattering of fellow flyers, to watch the magic happen. Eventually we were fired up, thanks to hard work and well wishes, and we scrambled into the basket that would carry us to the border of Oman. Our trusty pilot admitted that he had limited control; up among the clouds, the wind is the boss, and we can only guess at where she’ll take us. Traveling at the speed of the wind, our flight was remarkable for its silence. we floated without sound, only the clicks of cameras and the occasional blast of hot air to keep the view sweet. From sand to sky, flying into the sun, it was an unforgettable trip. Balloon Adventures, Emirates, with Captain Andrew Parker