Sunday, February 17, 2008

Wild and constrained life in Dubai

On the bus this morning, as we were going to work, and were stuck in traffic, we saw a wonderful little wildlife scene.

At the side of the road (no pavement) there was a circular area of baked white clay. I guess the base of a pond which had long dried up. To the side the ground rose slightly as gravel, and here were located 15 to 20 small, noisy brown birds, loitering and chattering to each other.

In the centre of the white, cracked area was an albino cat, quite motionless and in hunting mode, flat on the ground. It would creep forwards a metre or so, and the nearest birds would flutter to the other side of their group. Why do cats bother? Not a chance.

Coming back this evening, we took a long, long way round to avoid the traffic. This time we passed not wildlife, but a construction compound for labourers. Behind the adobe-looking walls were rows of huts, and over the gate the big sign said Chinese State Construction Engineering Company. It didn't look easy to get in or get out.

The times are uncertain. There was thick mist this morning and it has been quite humid all day. It turns out that Dubai has weather.