It is official.
Brad Pitt has ended his filming here in the UAE. I wrote this little note hoping to clear up a few things he may have found confusing. We love it when Hollywood visits the UAE. Ciao Brad! Come back again sometime soon and don’t forget to call 🙂
Dear Brad Pitt,
You may not know it but I know someone who knows someone who had an undercover snuggle with you at Mizzou (University of Missouri). Not that I heard any details or anything but these things tend to stick out in my mind. Just like the time when Oprah Winfrey and I were dancing nose to nose and while I had my eyes closed she walked off leaving me dancing by myself on national television. It was kind of embarrassing. Maybe I deserved it because I closed my eyes. Who does that when they are dancing with Oprah? So when I told someone that you and I are both from Missouri and that my ex-s.o. sprays your parent’s house for cockroaches (not that they HAVE them. I am sure it is preventative), I was promptly informed that you were from Oklahoma so I read your Wikipedia entry and it’s obvious that as soon as the doctor cut your cord your parents ran for the border into Missouri.
As Missourians, you and I have a few things in common. We are sensible people, nothing really fazes us, we lead with our common sense and our good humor. We are the people of Mark Twain. We love long winded stories and people with good character. We understand right from wrong, fact from bull smack and can be counted on when things get tough.
That’s why, Brad Pitt, when you visited the UAE you had to leave all that behind because this big mosh pit of cultures and confusion called the UAE — can drive you mad!
Brad, here are the top 4 things that you needed to know about Abu Dhabi.
1.) Hello MaamSir.
What is this Maamsir? It is a common greeting by Filipinos and at first a little confusing. Are we a ma’am or are we a sir? Are they calling us a ladyboy or boylady…whatever? Do I look like a woman or a man. Do I have an inappropriate mustache? Do my high heels and dress not give you an indication that I am a woman? All of these things swirl around in the head when you’re first approached with the Maamsir greeting. In fact, in the States this gender nuetral greeting would be very socially progressive and I would support it all the way, but when you land in Abu Dhabi you expect something different. Maamsir is very surprising, yet harmless. It is simply an overly exuberant greeting by a swarm of bored Filipinos who want nothing more than to make your dining, shopping, whatever experience more pleasant while they happily gossip amongst themselves about the upcoming karaoke or line dancing festival they will attend. They do not think you are a ladyboy. Although if we were in the USA — More Power!….as the Filipinos say.
2.) Where’s your big stinking I-am-so-very-important black vehicle?
In the UAE, all of the I-am-so-stinking-important cars are not black. They are white. So if you are waiting around for your black car you might be waiting for awhile. And if it is a must, a worker can slap on a quick coat of black paint to a white vehicle just so the local officials can provide the real “Hollywood” experience. Sorry if this throws you off. Don’t think you’ve been downgraded to the celebrity D list if the white Escalade shows up instead of the black. Seriously, no need to panic. You are still important and I am sure People Magazine will still pay big bucks for pics of you scooping dog poo in your backyard, stuffing your face full of pizza or looking your worst coming out of WholeFoods. You are still important.
3.) Abu Dhabi has more money than Dubai. And everyone here will love to tell you this info.
Yes, it is true. The recession of 2008 took a toll on a lot of people across the globe. The housing bubble left many people, mortgage brokers and countries in trouble. Dubai was hit harder than Abu Dhabi for a number of reasons but primarily because there were far fewer people interested in Dubai’s 10 bedroom villas in a sealed rainforest terrarium with diamond studded wallpaper, angora carpeting, marble Russian vodka coolers, a pneumatic car tube that will shoot your Bentley out of the rainforest and back to the desert. Also, included with the opulent villa package, a pair of endangered green-eyed koalatiger cubs (an adorable koala/tiger hybrid) bred especially for Dubai and hand-picked by a distant relative of someone very important. Unfortunately, there just wasn’t a market for these money-makers in 2008 and Dubai lost their kandoras. Abu Dhabi, on the other hand, with their keen vision and astute business sense, stuck primarily with their caviar farm operation which today is the largest in the world. And despite the fact that I have never heard anyone mutter, “Damn, that’s good caviar!” Fish eggs kept Abu Dhabi afloat through the recession of 2008. Oh, and I guess the oil had something to do with it too. Anyway, for whatever reason, and I am sure it is a complicated one, Abu Dhabi is the money bags and Godfather of Oil in the UAE and Dubai is the glitzy younger brother.
4.) The never-ending action soundtrack.
In the UAE, all video presentations have one action soundtrack that is used to signify a job well done. Regardless of whether it is a police chase and capture, an online tutorial for a head lice check, a public service announcement promoting recycling, the birth of a baby or a high school graduation; the soundtrack is suspenseful, powerful, and exhilerating with a monotonous thumping, kind of like you’re in a cheesy euro-disco circa 1990, or worse, a cast member from Starsky and Hutch. Whichever, you may feel the need to wear velvet or leather and to slick your hair with spit. And worse yet, you will be so pumped with adreneline that you will want to fight your neighbor’s pet panther, but don’t do it. When I was told by my moles who provided up-to-date celebrity gossip that you attended a local beach club complete with snipers on the roof. I was wondering if they played the soundtrack via PA system for you as you walked in? Because, as I heard the story being told by my friend the mole, I couldn’t help but hear the soundtrack in my head. There is no doubt that your visit deserved the soundtrack. And if it didn’t shame on the UAE. You would’ve loved it.
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