It's official: white people have advantages no matter where you go. I was told by my Nepali taxi driver today that he was glad to pick me up and that if there are a group of people waiting that he will always pull up in front of the white person. This is keeping in mind that I live in a wealthy Arab country. (disclaimer: The following opinions are from a non-white Nepali person and do not reflect the opinions of the white male writer.) The driver went on to point out that the Emiratis smoke despite being asked not to, put their feet up on the dashboard, and play around with the radio, putting the music up to full volume. Oh, and he doesn't like Indians and Bangladeshis either for unspecified reasons.
I guess that could be one man's opinion, but my wife said she had an interesting experience when she was out with the kids today. After waiting for about 20 minutes with two kids in 100 degree heat (38 degrees for non-Americans), she finally got a cab, only to have a 15-year-old Emirati kid get in the front seat and tell my wife and kids to get out. Good for my wife, she stood her ground (considering she'd been waiting longer and had kids) but the guy wouldn't leave until the driver told him to get out. After he left in a huff, the driver went off on one about the Emiratis. It seems that the locals aren't especially popular with taxi drivers.
We had a busy day today which involved the kids going to a birthday party. One of Tia's classmates invited her and I figured that Lucas would pitch a fit if Tia went to something without him so I asked if he could go to. It turned out to be no problem because there were plenty of older siblings there. I originally planned on having my wife take the kids, but because she was busy with her medical exam for her visa, I went. The boy's father seemed glad to have me there as it was all mothers apart from him and me. It was a really interesting atmosphere with everyone speaking fluent English only to have a mother break off to talk to her children in their native language. Of the nationalities represented I noticed French Canadian (the hosts), Romanian, Dutch, Finnish, Scottish, Swedish, Emirati, English, Jordanian, Japanese (my kids) and American (me). While there were a few native speakers there, for the most part, I felt it was a very international group. I really felt like my kids are going to a school with a diversity of cultures and will grow up feeling a bit of pride in their culture and native language.
As everyone was leaving, the birthdy boy's dad told me to sit down and relax and offered me a beer. It was nice to hang out with the parents and get to know them while their maid cleaned up around us. I got two things out of this: 1) they're really cool people that I want to get to know and 2) we really need to get a maid.