In Dubai, I live in a densely populated area called Al Karama
. I've been living here since I got here, never ever moved.
Karama, as it is commonly called, is haven to luxury imitations, souk garments, small time businesses, and a place for different nationalities to flock around during days off and have cheap finds and fixes. Karama, is a busy place. Almost a central district, or I think it is.
This is also the place where you can find a number of Filipinos. In Karama there is a center called Al-Attar
where Filipinos would gather mostly every Fridays on their days off and spend their time there either to buy ukay-ukay
, eat taho
and other filipino foods available or hang out and outside men with cars are standing by to earn extra income to take you wherever you want(llike taxis, not like any other. It sounded like whoring there for a second!).
I like Karama. There is another area here in Dubai called Al Satwa
where most average Filipinos are said to live. Al Satwa they say is like little Manila before because there was just too many Filipinos there. Indeed. But I never liked it there. It is just too crowded for me. Like a real ghetto. Karama on the other hand, is more orderly. Its also a ghetto like place where you find a lot of Filipinos, Indians too, like Satwa. But here everything is in order. Its busy but orderly. It also is very accessible. Theres a grocery, a mall, a wet market, a park, a hospital near you. You can find almost everything you need here in Karama.
This evening, I realized something as I walked my way to my apartment. Karama is a contradiction.
This place is rubbish but nice. Residential apartment buildings are old (they usually call them flats)and are crowded. You live in sharing. My colleagues and some friends asked me why can't I let go of Karama and live somewhere nice but affordale. Karama is just not like that. The area looks cheap but rents are expensive and you dont get your money's worth in this living conditions. You pay rich to live cheap. Some areas here in Dubai like Al Barsha
, Al Qusais, Al Nahda have very nice studios, 1 or 2 bedroom apartments for a reasonable price. I was once tempted to move to these places to get the privacy that I need, the comfort of the bachelor living. But then I realized, I am not into city living. These places, first of all, are not easily accesible unless otherwise you have a car. Also,it's like buildings here and there. Although you live like a real yuppie, to me, this is depressing.
Karama is a central distsict but I feel the rurality of the area. Unlike the other areas I've mentioned which seemed rural but actually urban is too quiet. I like quiet but not too quiet! If i live in those places, I think my life would not be balanced. It's too quiet. I will only be stucked in the four corners of my apartment!
I am a homeboy and I dont really care whats going on outside. Perfect for suburban living. I am too sheltered for outside! But theres a time when all I want is just sit and watch busy people go. I see and get to do that here in Karama. The contradiction.
That's what I realized this evening. I cannot easily let go of Karama because I find my little comforts here.
Dubai, like any other big city in the world, you go by unnoticed. What they don't know there is this one guy in Karama who observes almost everyone individually. With the fake presence like I dont care but the truth is I am looking in. I have this eerie feeling of liking it. Karama enables me to stir this kind of adventure in me.
But eventually, however, due to financial constraint, I might move to an affordable nice location. All my little weird comforts will be over.
But for now, Karama, We match. A man of contradiction. And you are a contradiction yourself. You make me,Me.
Well, I am not a yuppie. I dont see myself living in places like Al Barsha where seemingly superficial expats are. I am rich but I am poor, I am not ashamed living like cockroach. Im fine being a villager who drinks water, not wine. Thats what i am.
My name is Olie and I live in Karama - from the outside looking in @ everyone.
Labels: city life, introspection