Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Bad ass dishdashas

it's fascinating to me that Emirati men still wear their traditional long, white robes. (They're called dishdashas—and wow is that a fun word to say.) Nearly all U.A.E. nationals—even the ruling heads of state—continue to resist trousers and other Western clothes. It's a little bit bad-ass, and it speaks to serious cultural pride. I suppose if your people survive in the harsh desert for millenniums, you don't let some pansy foreigner tell you what to wear.

Slate article on Dubai that's being linked all over. Quite a good read. My favorite part: the author, Seth Stevenson, goes to the Falcon Center and started asking the shopkeeper some questions

What were the specs on these falcons? What exactly were they capable of?

By way of response, he pulled out his cell phone, punched some buttons, and held the screen in front of my face. On the small display, I could make out a film of a falcon flying in the desert, its wings pumping up and down. A few seconds in, the bird swooped and totally blitzkrieged a helpless animal that appeared to be—I swear to God—some sort of small antelope.

At this point, I realized: I must have a falcon. I inquired as to the cost. The shopkeeper explained that this depends on the size of the falcon and its skill. But in general, they'll run you about five grand apiece.

Which is clearly worth it, when you think about it. I had my eye on the fierce-looking bird in the corner. I planned to name him Shrieky. I'd haul him out on my balcony in D.C., turn him loose, and wait for the freshly killed game to pile up. Perhaps a neighbor's Shih Tzu. Or infant.