8:18 PM

Al-Ain News: Marching Band

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

Well my family had a treat today!
All of a sudden when we were sitting in the garden (to get away from the noicse of my hubby's drill fixing stuff in the house) we heard a marching band practicing. I knew there was an empty lot next to the boys school a half block away where they might be practicing but i didn't know what for. I shrugged and put it out of my mind. Then my husband left for work and had to have his co-worker pick him up but he couldn't park outside our house becuase the street was suddenly closed off by a police SUV. That made me more curious so I took out the stroller and plopped the kids into it then ran into my house to change out of my "gardening" hijab into my "street" hijab. By then the muslic was out of earshot but I was determined to catch up. I raced the stroller as fast as I could walk down the street and around the corner where i saw the traffic backed up. I wanted to run but that would look bad: a hijabi, with kids, in a stroller, running...people might panic i'm in trouble. So Finally I caught up with the baked up cars then passed them to the end of the "parade". There were beautiful horses in three lines (about 12 horses total) and they were trotting slowly and some doing circles. I told my daughter to wave to them and she was in awe but waved. Next came some scouts (based on their uniforms not actaully my knowledge of who they are) and they were shouting slogans in Arabic. Next came a mixure of locals men and (for the first time i see) women and their children all dressed in local clothing but with UAE flags or the kids with UAE flag colored balloons and dresses. There was a large number of wheelchairs and I figured this might have something to do with the theme of the parade. Next came a group of about 7 men walking in the front --with security all around the sidelines (avoiding my fast walking stroller). Then came the best part for my kids, the marching band in red uniforms with black, red striped pants. They were marching in perfect unison (I know because I used to be in Orchestra and my friends were in band so I used to watch the bands too) They were playing alively tune to catch the neighborhood (and tv presses) attention. The funniest part for me was seeing the BAGPIPES!! I was like is this tradition to play them or they just like the sound and adopted it from the scottish? (I have scottish ancentry so i was very curious). The leader did look pompously proud of his group and i guess he had the right to be he was leading princes (or high local authority).
They marched (and I followed like the nosey American I am) to the front of Al-Ain Mall's main entrance. By then i could see the front banner and the part that was in English: Zayid (local rulers) House Welfare for the Handicapped [or something to this extent]. SO this was a good cause and so the rulers posed for the cameras in a line and then went into the mall. I was able to follow surprisingly close and was like only 4 people away from them on the escaltors up to the second floor. Then they took the next stair escalator up and i had to take an elevator so it was slower. I rode up with the handicapped chairs and got to the presentation stage. I missed the cutting of the ribbon but I watched the high locals tour the handmade crafts for people to buy. Then they all sat in a row next to this stage (2nd floor) on blue cushoins while the others sat behind the half fence in the dining area for the food court. They had a projection screen down and were loading a powerpoint presentaion on the handicapped children and adults making crafts and how much they need finances and such (all in arabic I'm just guessing from the pictures). The royalty were offeered first pick at a basket or chocolates and then it was passed to the others. Then the royals were offered first coffee in special cups then fruit drinks and then i think it was a tea. The others weren't offered anything to drink that I saw. I was in spitting distance of the royals since i was standing behind the fense but on the sidelines. (No offence about the spitting part it's jsut a phrase) SO I watched the going-ons until my daughter was being difficult and my babay boy was whinning. SO I took them to browse the crafts and felt bad i didnt' have money to help buy some when clearly I'm supporting their cause by following them upstairs. (I just didn't have any cash--I AM a poor writer). So finally after their hopeful looks had passed to the next in line i was free to leave and by then the kids were really acting up and so I rushed them home.
Which is good because I had accidently left the door unlocked and my cell phone in the garden in my haste to leave and catch the band. I love the lack of crime in Al-Ain.

3 intelligent thoughts:

Anonymous said...

The image of you chasing a parade with hijab flowing in the wind pushing a stroller is hilaious....and soo you!


Umm Ibrahim said...

Sounds really good - nothing like that here in Saudi though!

American Muslima Writer said...

It was hilarious! A lot of people were attracted also to the sound of the band, especially the near-by Pakistani, Afghanistani, Indian workers. ANd I had to practically run them down in my haste to get to the front of the parade. I kept getting caught behind the slow walkers and finally one would notice I'm inching on their heel and tell his friend to move out of my way (I HAVE learned it's rude to shout excuse me, coming through, watch out! to these people liek I normally would in USA). Then I'd speed past them and they'd look on wondering where is the fire. HEhEHE.

What a shame Saudi doesn't have parades though aren't you able to watch the masses of hajj people flow by. I think that would be increadible to watch first hand.

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