While I am sitting in a hotel much like any I would find in any other cosmopolitan city, this trip already has been anything but ordinary.
Arrived last night [at 1am] to my own welcoming entourage at the airport.
Two lovely ladies with a sign saying SARA MARIE waved, smiled and answered all my questions – they were just generally were incredibly kind to my loopy, jetlagged self. They certainly didn’t look like I would have if I’d been schlepping guests through an airport for twelve hours. Not a hair out-of-place, not the tiniest hint of boredom at probably the thousandth person to ask all the same things.
They shuttled me on one of those giant golf buggies straight from the gate to a specially reserved queue at customs. Then they arranged porters to carry all of my things [which seemed wholly unnecessary seeing as I only had the one little bag, but it was very kind regardless]. Then we all met an escort from the Ministry of Culture, who drove me to the hotel.
I shared a ride with historical novelist Sara Sheridan, who is also attending the fair. She is lovely. We mostly talked about Lego and ballet [not together, though there is an idea...].
I peeked into Sara’s room on my way up to my own [she has a lovely view over the lagoon con palm trees. totally jealous.]
While we made chitchat and unwound from a rather long journey, my porter even took my bags up to my room and brought back my key [what a doll].
When he returned, he also brandished us each with flowers, a welcome gift from the Fair.
Terrible late-night-photo, but how delightful!
And lo! The white rose is even burnished with the festival logo.
[You other festivals take note, Sharjah have totally upped the guest gifting ante.]