Tomorrow I fly to Heathrow for a month’s vacation. I’ll be back in Abu Dhabi on the 1st July. Between now and then:
- My sister is flying in from Vancouver, where she now lives, to spend a week with me at my place in Highgate
- I have tickets booked to see:
- (With my sister) RainForest by Rambert Dance Company at the Barbican
- (By myself) Othello at the National Theatre
- (By myself) A Mad World My Masters at the RSC in Stratford
- I shall be going to North Wales to visit friends I first met here in The Gulf
I’m really looking forward to it. And yet, I know I’ll miss The Gulf. There’s a politeness here that you don’t get any longer in Britain. Perhaps, if I went all the way home to Ontario, I might find it there—but Canada seems a long time ago and a long way away to me now.
When I talk about Akhlaq, people in the West are surprised, because what the West knows of Islam is distorted by biased reporting and film of faces distorted by rage and grief when someone close to them is killed. If I say that the commonest face of Islam is one of courtesy, people look at me in disbelief. And yet, so it is.
Muhammed said that religion is Akhlaq, and that Akhlaq is good conduct and morality. That not to be angry is Akhlaq. And, for people who live here, courtesy, good conduct and morality are what one encounters. I shall miss it when I’m not here. I shall be glad when I return.
Safe journey, Suzie
Thanks, Bernie. The weather when I landed was better than I expected; the sun shone all day. It felt good to be here. This will never be home, though. Sometimes I wonder how much you give up–what the overall cost is in psychic terms–when you choose the roving life, as I have done. There’s a post there–about commitment, love, place–and I’m going to think about it over the next few days. My sister doesn’t fly in till Tuesday, so I’ve got another two precious days alone. But I’m in England and my body is still on Abu Dhabi time–I woke up, thinking about breakfast*, when all of Highgate except the street sweepers is fast asleep.
(*Breakfast. Yesterday I bought bacon. This morning I’ll have my first bacon for months. There are places–hotels–in Abu Dhabi where you can get bacon, but I don’t like the idea. When you’re in someone else’s country you should honour their culture and their beliefs).