Spence Green

التكرار يعلم الحمار

I work at Lilt. In addition to computers and languages, my interests include travel, running, and scuba diving. more...

India v. Pakistan

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Last Wednesday I attended a cricket match for the first time. Previously I had rejected this game as an idle pastime. On television, I had seen nothing but celebration punctuated by tea breaks. Further, the games can last up to seven days, a taxing period for someone with Generational Attention Deficit Disorder (GADD). I had never swooned over the indomitable Brett Lee nor had I an appreciation of England’s all-rounder Freddie Flintoff and his coach Duncan Fletcher. What sort of name is “Duncan Fletcher” anyway? It sounds like either a Cabbage Patch Kid or the archetypal British moniker. Oh wait…

With my South African compatriot, I packed my GADD and drove to the Sheikh Zayed cricket ground to see India and Pakistan, two of the most popular teams in the world. In Abu Dhabi, nationalities occupy certain vocations. Philipinos, for example, find employment in the service industry, uneducated Indians do manual labor (roadwork, construction, infrastructure development), and Bangladeshis perform janitorial work. Arabs own stuff and count money. Westerners laugh all the way to the bank. And Pakistanis drive cabs.

As we entered the facility, we observed nearly every cab in the UAE (next day I read that the seven cabbies that did not attend the match charged double and triple fares). Having no ticket, we proceeded directly to the gate where the guard observed grimly, “No tickets sorry.” Then he noticed my blonde, female companion and evidenced the most remarkable bouleversement. “Tfaddal!” he offered jovially (“If you please” in Arabic). We slipped past the gate, proceeded through security, and climbed a hill flanking the cricket ground. The scene was euphoric. Men jumped and danced like children. Loud shouts accompanied each movement on the field. One side bemoaned the fortunes of the other and then, whack!, the roles reversed. Recall that India and Pakistan have spent 40 years fighting over Kashmir, arming themselves with nuclear weapons, and generally disliking each other and you can see how special this night was. Further, most of these men work 12-14 hours a day / 7 days a week with one vacation every two years. They will work their whole lives for unfamiliar wives and children. This was a pellucid evening in an otherwise hazy struggle.

The match lasted until about 11:30 and India won, thus managing a draw in this two day “test.” When I have a few more moments this weekend, I will summarize the rules of this game (as dictated by my learned friend), both for my education and yours.

These are my tentative travel plans over the next few months:

May: Cairo
June: Oxford, UK
July: Home
August: Kilimanjaro / Tanzania

Written by Spence

April 24th, 2006 at 1:23 pm

Posted in UAE

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