es salaam alaykum!

Greetings! I have returned from the depths of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi to be exact. What a wild experience. Where to even begin explaining it all... So the Middle East International Film Festival was, well... kind of weird. It was really meant for directors to pitch their next projects, which is not what New Year Baby is about. It was a complete honor to be there with the film, but all the screenings were empty, which is just unusual for festivals.
They put us up in the Emirates Palace, probably the nicest hotel in the world, at least the nicest I'll ever stay at by far. The service was just over the top! Rose petals placed in specific patterns all over the room, fresh dates and chocolates refreshed daily, amazing food, views of the sea, just spectacular. But it felt like such a show. We talked to many people staying in Abu Dhabi for a year or so, and they say once you get out of the glitz, it's got quite a dirty underbelly. For one thing, it's progressive, but still women are clearly second class citizens. I dressed pretty modestly, and still they either STARE or look straight through me. It was fascinating to experience the Muslim perspective firsthand also. We walked around downtown quite a bit, admired the sari and burqa fabrics, went on a desert safari (think desolate huge sand dunes), saw some great films... I loved much of it, but know that I couldn't spend much more than a week there.
Here's a few pics to give you a taste. Will update the post later once I post all of my pics with my dad's.

listening to: Monade - Becoming

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