I was going through some old pictures and when I came across this one (below) it reminded me of my aimless wanderings that resulted in the writing of my wonderful masterpiece ‘The Cat’s Travelogue’ (if you are one of the few people on the planet not to have a copy you can get it discreetly here www.amazon.com and no one will ever know that you didn’t have one of the latest trendiest ‘must have consumer products’ because you can pretend that you had it all the time).
The picture comes from the ultra modern high rising cement constructed emirate of UAE and brought back all sorts of dreadful memories of a place where the contradictions of life are many, various and confusing to say nothing of their translations into English!
Imagine spending $20 billion on an hotel – imagine the Burj Khalifa – and then try to imagine why you wouldn’t spend $20 on correctly translating a sign from Gulf Arabic to English, if you can do that then you can imagine just what life is like in Dubai or the UAE!
The UAE is a place where ‘foreigners’ are loathed, but welcomed so that they can fill the seven star hotels and try their hardest to buy at least a tenth of all of the dreadful modern and over priced real estate that has been thrown up for them on newly created ‘islands’ in the middle of enormous lagoons which are now sadly sinking back into the depths of the lagoons from where they were dredged up.
The UAE is a place that likes to pretend that it is modern, go ahead and forward thinking but can’t do more than pretend, take a recent innocent example of a multinational shoe manufacturer (Puma) who thought that the very rich inhabitants of the UAE and the tourists, who troll around the place gaping at the enormous buildings, pleasure parks and the greater number of building sites where construction has ground to a halt, would like a pair of trainers with the UAE flag plastered all over them.
These ‘special edition shoes’ (whatever that can possibly mean) were intended to mark the 40th UAE National Day. All that Puma had to do was to make them and put a stupidly high price on them ($190 because they are special I suppose), stick them in their own stores and ‘bam’ they would be a few million dollars richer even if half of the products sold would have to be returned because they were so badly made in China.
Well it was a brilliant marketing plan what could go wrong?
What went wrong was simple the very conservative inhabitants of the UAE didn’t like the the fact that the nations flag colours were being used on shoes!
At this moment it might be a good idea to cast your mind back to the Iraq war, just at the end when America was being thanked and celebrated before the Iraqis changed their minds, when the enormous statue of old walrus face was toppled and locals started hitting it with their shoes.
Then a short while later after the Iraqis had forgotten all about the repression of the old ways under the tough guy with the big soup strainer and more importantly who had rescued them from torture and terrible moustaches some idiot threw a shoe at Pres. Georgie B, can you see a pattern emerging here?
For some reason in the Arab world, best known only to Arabs, feet and footwear are considered dirty, the Cat who writes blogs thinks that it is such a shame that there isn’t more widespread use shoe polish and foot baths in the Arab world as that surely would sort of solve little problems like this and then the UAE could make a better pretence of being what it pretends to be – a modern country that is a great place for tourists and second home owners. Because as incidents like this demonstrate currently the mind set of the people is still firmly entrenched in prehistoric Wadi mud, remember the Cat who writes blogs is just a Cat and Cats aren’t as clever as humans! Are they? But I have to say this I am glad that Cats have Paws and not feet and never wear shoes, unless they are dressed up by idiot humans – but that is the subject of another blog and nothing to do with this one!
Just imagine for a moment if we were so precious about the British Union Jack or the American Stars and Stripes, we would have tacky mugs, tea towels and souvenir shop rubbish in general, Jimi Hendrix’s masterpiece of guitar playing the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ would be lost forever and we would never have had anything to roll our ‘herbal’ cigarettes in at college would we?
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