Flying from Stockholm to Lusaka the connection is rather rubbish so we thought, instead if hanging around in an airport, lets make it a holiday. We planned a four nights stay and to save money booked through Airbnb. We ended up in a sleek modern flat in The Cayan Tower in the Dubai Marina, with a breath taking view from the 32nd floor and a swimming pool on 6th (+30C in the water!). We must have all looked like little kids in a candy store as we were so amazed by everything from the skyscrapers, to the super cars in the streets and the efficiency and cleanliness of the city. Dubai is hot, very hot. This time of the year you should simply not be here. At 06 in the morning the temp was already on 30 and with a high humidity the air was thick and ‘heavy’. However, I doubt there is any other place this hot that is this prepared to deal with the heat. Wherever you go is well air conditioned, you can walk through little connected malls and only be outside between buildings. I had pre-booked tickets for the Dubai Aquarium and The Burj Khalifa which are both accessed from Dubai Mall. The mall itself was overwhelming enough, especially with four kids, but the aquarium was what the kids really enjoyed. On my daughters birthday she got to ride a camel which totally felt like a tourist trap as we were dragged around the dessert camp while the guide took about a trillion photos of us on my phone. In the end it was just fun for the kids and it was just a small part of our dune bashing package. We had started the day cruising over the dunes in a 4×4 land cruiser. Our guide was actually the first local emirate that we met as only about 15% of Dubai’s population are locals and the rest migrant workers and expats. He perfectly controlled the car at a high speed over the dunes with one hand on the steering wheel and one foot resting on the seat…! All in all we had three fantastic days, only problem was trying to control four kids in a small flat, kids that are used to unlimited space, but in the end they didn’t kill each other and we all returned home with memories to keep.
It was six years ago we all traveled to Gotland, Sweden (and back then my youngest wasn’t even born so you could say this was the first trip with the whole family), well for my husband anyway, as I’ve been lucky enough to travel a few more times. The reason there could be no excuse to leave anyone behind was my brothers wedding (will share that in another post) and as with all weddings it brings everyone together in the same place. Sweden was experiencing its worst drought in 70 years and while farmers were crying the sunbathers enjoyed. We had many sunny days at the beach and as it is an island we could, as we always do, pick a different spot every time. We visited at least about five different beaches and they are all very near my parents home. At any given time we were at least 10-12 people under their roof so it was quite intense and nobody took a long shower with the water shortage situation! As always the days flew by and in the last week we were happy to receive some rain and thunder. Our children got to practice a bit of Swedish, enjoy the long days (“why must we go to bed already, it’s still bright outside!?”), hang with grandparents, aunt and uncles, make new friends and eat lots and lots of ice cream. They did however get a bit tired of each other towards the end. Next time we travel they want to see snow…!
By now this hashtag has probably appeared more than once in your feed and (unfortunately) many more will share in the days to come. You’ve most likely heard more than you’d like to about the Weinstein saga and what appears to be an accepted culture in Hollywood, but as this hashtag spreads it should by now be very clear to all that this is by no means an exception. It is something that is so common that us women need a hashtag to even reflect over it. Yes #MeToo. All of us. In our day to day lives. My husband heard about it on BBC (as he’s not on social media) and asked if I’d used the hashtag, I had earlier that day and he looked at me a bit surprised. Then he recalled the dick pic I’d received some time back but I told him it’s not just that. Its every day, every time I walk down the street, fully covered like a nun never mind in heat reaching 30+ on a cool day. In my case it is not the one time that was really bad (thankfully!) but the hundreds of times there was a comment to intrusive, a comment that made me uncomfortable, from strangers that think they can say what they want about me, and to me. It’s all the times I’ve put trousers on when shorts should’ve been the obvious choice but you know the comments would be so much worse. It’s every woman following an unwritten dress code made up in some men’s heads. It’s all the women living in a culture where they are blamed for men’s behavior, when debates like these turn into debates about how women should and shouldn’t dress.
I’m actually surprised that the hashtag #NotAllMen hasn’t had a revival yet. As at times like these “good” men tend to feel they have to defend themselves. I hope this time around the good men realize that if they look the other way they are part of the problem. Quoting a (male) friend on facebook: “The #MeToo campain has been a great eyeopener for me. For many women it’s just day-to-day life. It has made me think a lot. About other men’s behavior, but also my own. That is always a start.” I hope the #MeToo can be an eyeopener for men as much as it has been everyday life for most women.
Let this be a new beginning.
This morning I received my first (and God may it be the last) dick pic. In other words some random guy taking and sending me a photo of his erected penis. In sheer shock and disgust I instantly deleted it and blocked the sender. I now regret that as I should’ve tried to look up the Instagram handle and outed the bastard. I don’t get it. Why do men do these sort of things? (Yes, it’s fairly common, I’ve just been spared, until this morning.) What kind of response would they be expecting? Is the purpose to get me to feel disgusted and awkward (successful) or do they really think a woman would get exited to see an amateur photo of a very average man’s stiffy?? Right now I’m just trying to shake it off but the question remains: why the fuck!?