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Re: Dubai Stories

Hi Guys,

I was also in the crowd for the closing ceremony and whole heartedly agree
with Steve's comments.  These people are very proud and the booing was in
gest.  There were three of us (Aussies) sitting in amongst a mass of Arabs
and when they announced our team 3rd in the teams we went beserk - the crowd
around us giggled and also broke into cheer with us.

Another quick comment is about fellow Australian Shannon Parker who came in
10th - this is this girls first international competition and at 16 years of
age, she has done a tremendous job.  5 out of our 6 Ausssies completed.  The
Aus contingent was an all girl team - YEAH GIRLS!!!!!!!!!

Regards for now
Di Kajar
Murrawonda Arab Stud
Mount Pleasant, South Australia
-----Original Message-----
From: Steve Shaw <>
To: <>
Date: Wednesday, December 16, 1998 1:50 AM
Subject: Dubai Stories

>I have a lot to say about the happenings in Dubai and it will probably
>take about a week and a half to get them all out. I hope dribbling them
>out will be easier on all of you instead of one long missive that puts
>me to sleep too in writing it.
>But here is something that relates to the AWARDS CEREMONY and the booing
>that occured.
>Michele and I thought it rather inconvienent to have to take a bus three
>hours early to go the one hour drive to the awards ceremony in another
>city. They wanted to show off the Sheik Zar.... Stadium and stated that
>there would be 30,000 in attendance (yeah, right we thought). So we
>drove ourselves and I figured, in typical virgo fashion, that we could
>get there 10 minutes early and still it wouldn't start for another two
>hours like everything else that had happened up to date over there. BIG
>As we neared the stadium they started shutting down the streets around
>the parking area. Little did we know that they had already filled up the
>stadium? and were not letting any more cars in because they were not
>letting anyone into the stadium any more. The young officier who told me
>that we would have to drive away wouldn't recognise our American flag on
>the car, nor our credentialing badges or USA shirts. He just motioned
>and said "move on." Well he made a mistake at looking at the car behind
>us and stepping that way one step. So I stepped on the gas and Michele
>kept her head down half expecting a barrage of bullets. I actually knew
>that he wouldn't come after us because to move his vehicle would mean to
>lose control of the intersection and the rest of the traffic that wanted
>to get in.
>Well we made it to the stadium and there was plenty of parking but many
>white robed young men milling around all of the 26 gates trying to get
>in? We couldn't figure it out. Each gate had four or more army personel
>manning them and two to four rows of locals standing there to get in.
>You can imagine the contrast of Michele and I, both 5'9" tall in our
>American flag short sleeved shirts amoung the white robed locals. We
>pushed our way to the front of the nearest gate and tried to talk our
>way in. They didn't speak Enlish put we all settled on Spanish, they
>wanted to speak French first. After much pointing of my cell phone,
>dropping Sheik this and that names, American team, "credentials",
>ceremony to start, etc., an officer far in the background motioned to
>the guards to let just us through. It was strange when the locals just
>parted to let us pass instead of mobbing us like Michele thought they
>were going to.
>Now to find the particpants sitting area. Not to be. There was another
>gate in the interior that we simply could not talk our way through. So
>we headed up into the stands. An army guard motioned us over and pointed
>to two seats, the ONLY two seats, left in a literal sea of white robes.
>I swear the entire crowd up there grew silent as long haired and long
>legged Michele and I tried to discretely find those two seats. Once
>settled Michele was looking around to find only two other women in the
>whole section and the men near me started up very freindly
>conversations. They wanted to know all about us! Four feet away was this
>eight foot fense with barbed wire around the top, separating us from the
>honoured guests on that other side. Low and behold, there was the
>American contingency just on the other side of it! There was Wendy
>Mattingly, Pete Fields and Grace Ramsey and others to save us if this
>group turned ugly!
>Now comes the whole point to my story. These stands were filled with
>nearly 44,000 locals. They were enticed here with the promise of a show
>with fireworks and displays of their heritage. As the lights went out
>they lit cigarrett lighters and threw paper airplanes down onto the
>field. It was really just a big political ralley. They take it as part
>of their custom to support the home team. Their booing was filled with
>laughter and smiles. Anytime a UAE was mentioned they cheered to honour
>their Sheiks. We were right in the middle of them and I can tell you
>they were feeling no disrespect. They were simply having FUN, like at a
>melodrama. It is how their culture is. We had a fun time with them up
>there and they were interested in us.
>The show was quite impressive and displayed their customs and heritage
>and had absolutely nothing to do with endurance riding other than
>handing out of awards to a bunch of non Emmirates. They simply wanted to
>get on with the show. When the ruler of the country finally showed up
>late and at the very end, they put on the whole show again just for him,
>sans the fireworkds and awards. It went on for another hour after we had
>all left but I imagine that most of the locals stayed to see it over
>agian and to see their ruler.
>We couldn't tell who won best conditioned with all of the noise and
>mistakes, but that whole fiasco is another story.
>Steve Shaw

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