By Jo Tatchell
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Extra info for A Diamond in the Desert: Behind the Scenes in Abu Dhabi, the World’s Richest City
Within a minute, the air is alive with prayer calls from mosques across the city. Tannoys mounted at the top of the minarets throw their cries over the rooftops. Driven to the edge of distortion, they have a near-celestial air, catching the spirit of the city like a distant echo through time. I sweep back the curtain. Twenty floors up, a rush of vertigo turns my stomach. Below, the lights of looming cranes are losing their shimmer as the sky brightens on the horizon and the city begins to wake.
When she appeared, wrapped in an abaya, the thick black robe women routinely wore, and a stiff, inky burka that covered all of her face but the eyes, she settled herself on a rug behind a gently clicking screen of beads. ‘Salaam alaikum, bin Hender. Come. ’ As they shared news of family and developments in Abu Dhabi, the sheikha intermittently extended a hand with fruit or dates through the beads. Edward took what he was offered, and, after a while, placed the tin of toffees on the floor between them.
Come. ’ As they shared news of family and developments in Abu Dhabi, the sheikha intermittently extended a hand with fruit or dates through the beads. Edward took what he was offered, and, after a while, placed the tin of toffees on the floor between them. Her hand reached for the tin and pulled it towards her. The sheikha deserved whatever he gave her, for she was not only generous, but helpful. However whimsical her instructions might seem, Edward knew he would come upon the tents and flags on the horizon just where she had said they would be.
A Diamond in the Desert: Behind the Scenes in Abu Dhabi, the World’s Richest City by Jo Tatchell