Friday, February 22, 2013

Reading! Always! Wherever I Am--

I been around a bit since the last time I hit these pages. Half way around the world, if fact, right at 8,000 miles—straight from Bush Intercontinental in Houston to Dubai, ‘way over in the United Arab Emirates about 60 miles from Iran.
                Let me answer the question everyone asks before you can get it out. Why was I headed for Dubai?  As I came to find out, it is a tourist destination—but not usually for Americans. And no, it’s not on my list of “places I must go.” But there is a family there that is on my list to visit any time, every time that I can. My son and his wonderful family—‘especially seven-year-old Dasha. This was my first trip since they’d moved from London, and yes I was as, well almost as, excited about visiting this faraway place as I was about seeing my extended gang.
The screen was as fascinating as the Kindle.
                A bit wary of the 15 hour flight , I told myself, Be prepared. So I prepared and over-prepared. That Kindle was so loaded you’d have thought I was going to Dubai aboard the Nina or the Pinta, not a fancy airliner.   Then the flight: Yes, I did read some, but I was mesmerized by the screen that unfolded those 8,000 miles one mile at a time. The overhead camera let me look down on London and Istanbul. Very heady, and I did catch a Katherine Hepburn flick. Yes, I read, but don’t worry. I won’t run out of e-reading material for several months.
                Now, let me answer the second question everyone asks. What is Dubai like? Like nothing I’ve ever seen—or expect to. It’s a Muslim/Arab country, but more—a nation and a city of contrasts. From the tallest building in the world and the world’s largest shopping center (you’ll get lost, I promise) to camels wandering in the desert just a few miles away.  My head went into permanent wagging from trying to take it all in.
On the Arabian Desert not far from the bustle of Dubai.
Burj Khalifa--the world's tallest building
                Final question: the best part? That’s easy spending time around the house with the guys. And of course that always means reading. My son wisely married as big or (if that’s possible) bigger reader than he is. I don’t have to tell you about their daughter. This is the family that between travel and a major move have disposed of their ‘real’ books and gone largely electronic. I told part of their story in my October 25, 2012 entry on this blog.  There's no lack of chances to read with a couple of computers, two Kindles and three I-pads in the house. Even the little one does most of her reading electronically.
Great way to spend the afternoon.
                This isn’t an absolutely no-book household. No, not by any means. Each of the three brought quite a few that couldn’t, just couldn’t, be left behind or given away.  My daughter-in-law is a lot like me. She loves to cook. So, it’s no surprise that a good many of the books she brought are cook books. Pretty wonderful ones, as I discovered.
                After a few days, I got ‘real book’ browsing fever and hit the bookcase just before bedtime. I promptly felt in love with on a book full of whole grain recipes aptly named “The Book of Whole Grains” by Marlene Anne Bumgarner. No I didn’t quick-like order it for my Kindle. I couldn’t. It has a 1976 publication date. But I had to have it! Had to.  And so, the next morning at breakfast in Dubai, UAE, I went online on my Kindle and ordered a copy of the book from a dealer in New York to be delivered to my home in Texas. It arrived about the same time I did, and I’m still in love. It’s got a great recipe for gingerbread from Muleshoe, Texas, up in the Panhandle near where I was born.
                This old world gets smaller and smaller.
                Now one final question for you about cookbooks and e-readers. Even if my wonderful new-to-me book had been e-available, I don’t think I’d have ordered. I can’t yet see myself cooking from a Kindle. Where would I write my doubling numbers, or my yeas or nays? And what about those messy smudges that become dear memories. Can’t see it. I have one buddy who says she slips hers in to a plastic bag and cooks away, but I can’t see it. At least not yet. How about you? Oh, and awful thought! What about reading in the bathtub?
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