riotous honking and booming fireworks outside. perhaps the emir (the king) has made his way down this road now. today is national qatar day. each tribe sets up tents by the side of the road and rugs and upholstered furniture and they burn fires and they dance with swords and there are camels and horses about. the emir starts at the end of a miles long stretch and walks his way down to visit each and every one. no wonder they love him. if this were america it would be like the biggest tailgate party. but it isn't. there is no alcohol, and there are no women (well, not so many women at tailgate parties...) we drive by in the twilight, staring in wonder at what we see for miles end to end.
observations happen throughout the day and i make mental notes and then my chalkboard gets erased. too full of other things. work things. and i come back to the hotel so beyond exhausted. blame it on jet-lag. i haven't slept over three hours a night. i'm rooting for tonight. and while i'm whining, may i take a moment to wonder how the company i've never worked for promoted me to one of the two lead captain positions out of 30? this affords me no more money. i still can't afford a massage or a souvenir. but at least they are gracious and complimentary.
on a positive note, every time i walk into the party space i get chills. i mean goosebumps on my arms. it is truly royal. and tonight i saw the sheik. and then of course i was was asked to leave.
my brainwashing is officially complete. in contrast to yesterday morning (was it really only a day ago?!) when robert had to extend a firm handshake to remind me not to hug him--did i mention that an act such as that--a public display of affection between unmarried people, could get me arrested?! anyway, in contrast to forgetting that, i left my hotel room to go to the spa. out of laziness, i threw one of my 'long dresses' over my swim suit. walking down the hall, i waddled as i noticed in horror that when i walked, my knees were half revealed. women must never show their knees or shoulders! i was achingly uncomfortable and took a back hallway.
today the mud started to harden in our part of the palace grounds. i've started thinking of our area--the back bowels of the wedding tent--as deadwood (the lawless western town). yes, our main street is a sludge of quicksand mud spanned by sinking wooden planks that when stepped on wrong will spit mud juice at innocent bystanders. our shoes are caked with mud. and trenches of raw sewage flow just below the backstage plywood and it's no secret it's there. we walk in fear of snipers for perceived wrongdoing. it's so deadwood.