Thursday, January 04, 2007

The New Year
She tried with great effort to keep her headscarf in place while swimming the hotel pool. The silk covering hovered on the water's surface like a skim of cooking fat or perhaps a jellyfish. She kept her head below water, frantically knotting the cloth to her head in a desperate attempt to stay in good standing with the local culture. I looked away and returned to my quickread - a page turner of spies, container ships, and petrodollars

Could I stand another of the island's fruit juices? I'd love a beer but none are to be found - at least not publicly. I'm sure a whisper with a local Reza could produce results - I'm just not sure if they'd be favorable ones (best not to chance it - who knows what the basij would do). Perhaps then another coffee. They have Starbucks here. They have a lot of Starbucks here. And also a lot of Turkish coffees. Not sure why, given the rivalries. The swimming woman was out of the pool. I could sense here discomfort - had she made the right choice? The one-piece versus the wetsuit? Again, a question for the basij to decide. But then again would you want to chance having them make the decision? It was hard to determine how sovereign the hotel's grounds are.

Had I had enough with the shops of Kish? The Gucci, Armani, Dior, et. al. Somehow this is the new if you build it they will come - an international shopping mecca of the same international brands. I wonder if mecca was the right word to say. Certainly I had circled the mall atrium enough times as though it was the kaaba itself - circling around and around in veneration of duty free commerce.

Ah Kish, mysterious Kish. I'm not sure why the website wished me a Merry Christmas. Was this what convinced me to come? The friendly smiling Santa Claus beckoning me to come and dip my toes into the lovely Persian Gulf. An opportunity to welcome the New Year sharing a coffee at the coolest cafe in town with Persian starlets. The radiance of their skin tone and perfectly applied makeup and headscarf pushed back just far enough. Everyone at the cafe laughing and enjoying themselves - relaxing just like the brochure said. I couldn't imagine Dubai being this good. Sure they had that sailboat hotel and the rock festival out in the desert. The container ships lined up like pearls streaming out away from the coast and those rare mornings where the fog drifts in - making you believe you're anywhere other than the desert.

But that's Dubai. Everyone knows Dubai. I don't know if many know about Kish. Well, most except for Germans - they seem to make up the majority of the foreign set here. Enjoying the scuba diving, the beaches, the shops, and the hotel amenities. The day ends with an evening spent at the coffee bar - the pulse of Persian techno like the muezzin's call. My head spins like dervishly - exhausted yet focused like the tip of a pin. Again the coffee. I need hydration. Another fruit juice?

At the coffee bar I saw her, the headscarf perfectly placed. Pushed back just far enough to cause no mind and yet be dangerous at the same time.

A new year begins in Kish.


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