Well it appears that my sandpit has a different destiny. On Sunday at exactly 5 pm I was drawn outside by the sound of tantric drums, and the low hum of 30 men singing at a distance. I cast my eyes outside, and I saw this:
Much better than 300 labourers laying foundations, don’t you think!
So I turned on my camera and set it at the biggest zoom I could find, and started snapping. Then Goldilocks started threatening to roll himself over the edge of the
balcony while chortling and pointing at the “danting, danting! See danting! NOW!”, so we ventured downstairs.
I took some more photos on the edge, and then I was approached by the tallest man in the group. Thinking I was about to see my camera get molested, I adopted my most deferential pose and started bowing and whispering my apologies before he was even within ears reach. But when this incredibly attractive and huge man reached me, he did not demand that I delete all photos, leave, and never come back. No! He invited me in!
So I went in, and sat myself down on the gilded chairs which were probably reserved for someone far more special or at least more Arabian than me, and considering me and my son were the only audience, enjoyed my private show – occasionally giving a royal wave to my other son and ‘Mother Mary’ (not my mum – but out saintly maid) who were stranded on the other side of the road, too shy to come over, and probably thoroughly embarrassed at my behaviour.
I took heaps of photos, particularly of the construction team, who were on hand to make sure the sand didn’t get up and start duning again I suppose… However I soon realised however that I was the only one in the arena not doing any dancing or singing, and skulked off quietly.
I had a big chat to a local man and his daughter who were also on the sidelines watching, and he gave me quite a bit of information. This was the male half of the wedding – the bride and all her entourage would be at a five-star hotel, probably dressed in things we would never expect to see under an abaya. They would be sipping the best non-alcoholic champagne, eating lobster,
and setting up marriages for all the bride’s sisters and pretty friends.
The party would go for three days, and at 9pm each night they would serve a feast. As was their nature, they would open the party to all nearby, and everyone would sit down together and eat at the expense of the groom. And at 9pm, we saw this happen. I think they must have fed over 100 strangers – housemaids, local residents, passers-by. Amazing. And to think we had to cross friends off our own wedding lists because we wanted to keep our numbers down.