Saturday, August 6, 2011

...a conversation with a cabbie

This morning two new friends and I took a cab from the hotel to the largest mall in Abu Dhabi--about a 20 minute drive. The porter shook his finger at the driver and admonished him not to take us on a roundabout trip--to go straight there and not to add miles. The driver muttered, "Yes, yes, I am not from Pakistan." He was from Bangladesh, and an "honest driver."

It always interests me to learn how people have learned English, so I asked the driver my standard question--"How did you learn English?" He thought for a second, then waved his hand in the air and said, "Here and there." He went on to explain that when he was young, only the priviledged in his country learned to speak English, and that was at the university level. Now, however, his children are learning English at school, and they start at the primary level. He apologized, saying that his English was "not so elegant." I assured him that his English was just fine--we were communicating, and that is what is important.

One of my companions asked him what he likes most about this country. Without hesitation he said, "It is safe. There is no crime." He then said that he liked having a job, and none are available in his home country. He goes to see his family every six months or so. He goes so often because his mother is 80 and has "the sugar sickness--diabetes," but his wife takes good care of her.

Once at the mall he wanted to know how long we would be--should he wait? We told him that we weren't sure--maybe a couple of hours, so not to bother waiting for us. He said he would be there when we returned--and he was.

A passing glimpse of the second-largest mosque in the world. I hope to get to see it up close!

1 comment:

Leslie Morgan said...

I've visited the middle east. Not in the same way you will be immersed by living there, but I have a more-than-average working knowledge. You will learn many things about humanity and humane-ity and human-ness. It is thrilling to watch you post and stretch and grow. You're an inspiration, Doozy!

WV=schet. Uh-huh.