Waking Up to the Sound of a Prayer
The plane ride from Portland, Oregon to Dubai felt like running a marathon.
The warm-up was a little jaunt from Portland to Atlanta. Then from Georgia, the 14 hour beast of a flight across the Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, and Arabian Peninsula.
On the flight over I watched Ivory Tower, a documentary on the state of higher education in the United States. (I took some notes that will turn into a future blog post.) The main point I took away is the awesome opportunity we have to look at college education and the power that technology is going to augment what we are already doing.
I also watched all the stand-up comedy available. It was like a science experiment of how much laughing I could do in a span of 12 hours. And it’s probably a known side-effect that watching that much comedy in a row leads to a warped, weird perspective on reality. What I did notice, however, is how much laugher is a medicine of the soul. And I felt so good getting off the plane.
When we landed in Dubai and I got into the airport, my first impression of the feeling was a mixture of LA and New York. There were just so many people from so many different cultures., yet the air felt hot and arid.
The cultural mixture of extremes is fascinating.
The best representation I could find is perhaps an old stretched car across the street from where I’m staying. The city has such extremes and is trying to find an identity for itself in the context of the Internet age, rampant materialism and quest for status, while on the backdrop of strong, century-old cultural currents.
My first morning here, after forced jet-laggy sleep, a sound outside woke m up at 5:45am. Being woken up for anything at 5:45am after jet-lagged sleep is a bad idea, but this was different. It was singing. And it was being played over old public announcement speakers.
The sound was really close are first. It was coming from just outside the window. It was beautiful.
It was the morning Islamic prayer.
Then I heard echoes of speakers around the whole city start similar songs.
It overall effect was haunting, even magical.
And I couldn’t help but smile in a day that was started with a prayer that covered the city.
Today, my second morning here, I caught a recording of it.