Tidbits: Stalemate Ashes, and my visit to the public library

This weekend begins a bit early (thanks to the UAE national Day on December 2) and here I am blogging while I should really be looking at dinner options (or lack of them, anyway). Thanks to an inherent laziness as far as kitchen chores are concerned, I gladly continue to type.

The second Ashes test match in Adelaide begins tomorrow, to be exact, around Fajr time in the UAE. I am NOT going to stay awake and watch it, like I did the Brisbane test, hoping for some nail-biting, truly exciting cricket, while the rest of the family dozed peacefully. Let’s just put it this way — the Gabba test was not a great advertisement for test cricket, with the pitch grabbing at any excitement there might have been, tossing it in the air and happily devouring it. As usual, the cricinfo guys wrote about it and what I want to say on that has already been said.

Which brings me to my second topic: the Al Twar Public Library. Like anyone who might have been brought up on a healthy appetite of books, I too, love books and libraries. Just being inside one brings back pleasant memories from the good old Karachi days when you could bury your nose in a book all day at Gymkhana or Sind Club and not have to worry about (umm.. dinner!?) or what the kids were up to, or a million other things!

Objectively speaking, the Al Twar library needs more books in English! They do have a (somewhat modest) collection, and the Emarati staff are happy to help you find what you’re looking for. As for me, they considered it sacrilegious that I had turned up with the little one who will soon be two. In my defense I argued that I hadn’t come to read books, only to sin up as a member, and hey, I had a nutty bar for her which would keep her quiet. By the way, the granola bar finished far too quickly and I had quite a few strange cum angry looks coming my way when the little one said at the top of her lungs: MAMMMAAA. Gotta appreciate those vocals, man!

So anyway I thought the library membership was economical and great value for money, and they have a well-stacked Kid’s section as well. Moreover, it’s beautifully designed and well-organized, and had my knowledge of Arabic been more than my (ahem: catchphrase vocab) I might have enjoyed the innumerable lovely volumes lined neatly up the shelves.

The thing I loved most was the free internet and computers at hand! You can search the library books on these computers (well the search function is in Arabic, but lets you type in English if you get the settings right). Sadly, I wasn’t able to find Maha Gargash’s ‘The Sand Fish’. The writer is a local (Emarati) published by Harper Collins. Wanna read the book though, let’s see if I can find it any of the public libraries. Membership entitles me to visit any branch, seven in all, spread over the city.

I finally left the place less enthusiastic than I had been when I first reached… mostly because the English section needed a far better (more informed) collection. Guys, you interested in hiring? Lol, like seriously, I can tell you just WHAT books the place needs!

And yeah, one more thing I liked: parking outside is free. I know, cribbing about Dh. 2 isn’t exactly classy, but finding the parking meter and getting the ticket and putting it on the dashboard, while managing two young ladies (who are exceptionally well-endowed when it comes to screaming) it’s kinda tiresome. Just a couple of days back I got a parking ticket — not a brilliant feeling! I reasoned with the Shurta (cop) who then told me off in no uncertain terms and handed me the ticket. Ouch. I told him I hadn’t seen the paid parking board — the fact that the paid parking sign was right above my car didn’t help matters.

Ima sign off now — and no this isn’t about dinner. Maghrib time. Later…