Yin Yang: balanced energy, the dark in the light, light in the dark. Favorite tattoo of surfers and yogis everywhere.
It took me a while to think about how to create this list because I’d wanted to use photographs but I haven’t been out walking around in the city much. I’ll blame my kids for my lack of initiative, instead of my own inertia. Seems my kids don’t think it sounds like much fun to walk around in the 112 degree heat with mommy while she tries to take pictures without offending anyone, so I’ve been staying inside and hanging out with them. Do you know that, in fact, it is possible to play lego universe for six straight hours? Please don’t anyone tell our pediatrician about their unfettered computer access. I swear it’s just until the end of Ramadan, I promise.
Anyway. Yin Yang: contradictory energy that (theoretically) balances itself. I think that’s precisely where Abu Dhabi finds itself: trying to balance between old and new, religious and secular, tradition and innovation. It’s a complicated positioning, to say the least, and while the UAE seems to be (sort of) managing the balance, many countries around us out here are feeling the consequences of having lived for generations with no balance whatsoever.
1. It’s a desert city filled with fountains:
2. It’s a city of curves, cul-de-sacs, and multiply named streets (we live on Sheikh Zayed the 1st street, also Electra Street, also “the street by the new medical center.”) It’s a also a city of grids and patterns:
3. Old technology (antennas) and new (satellite dishes):
4. Old towers:
5. And new:
At the moment I don’t have much to say about these yin yang contradictions. Every city has them, I guess (hello battles over landmark preservation in New York!), but somehow the contradictions here seem much more pronounced: the old is very, very old; and the new is in-your-face-right-now new. I mean, this is a country that owns 10% of the world’s oil reserve…and decisions about when Ramadan start are made by the moon-sighting committee. That’s the job I want: moon-sighter.
Abu Dhabi is only nominally in Asia but I’m thinking of myself as living in the land of Yin Yang.
All I have to is keep my own balance and everything will be fine.