Monday, December 15, 2014

The Tale of Two Trees

Plant Street Canadian imports
Coulda been a contender!
The "tree trek"- to fetch a Christmas tree- is a time honored tradition for me. Last year, my first Christmas season in Dubai, I took the metro to a trippy garden store and bought a leggy local plant to stand in for a pine. This year, I heard that there might be trees worth checking out on "Plant Street" in the Satwa neighborhood. I mentioned Satwa in a recent post, declaring it  my new favorite neighborhood for all of the fabric and trim shops but I hadn't yet seen this "Plant Street"- in quotation marks because while that's what people call it, that's not it's name on a map, it's Hubaida Street near the Iranian Hospital, which is, by the way, partially covered in beautiful tile work. So off I went. The one major drawback to Satwa is the lack of parking and the metro wasn't going to be an option here. I found a place on a side street and walked on over. There were trucks of cut pines all the way from Canada mostly. They were selling for roughly $100US and up and we're pretty uniform in size and shape ( about 5-6 ft tall and
loading up the tree, city skyline
very triangular). There were takers for sure but I didn't want to go that route. I considered a pomegranate sapling because I loved my pomegranate tree at my house in Vegas, but it was really a baby and I didn't think a pot on my 14th floor balcony was going to be an environment where it would thrive and fruit. I did ask if they had any other pomegranates, just out of curiosity, and learned that if I wanted say, a dozen, anything would be possible. Bulk buying can be customized. For one, nope, they had what they had. Might have something different in a few weeks. The bushier fig plant was a contender but for similar reasons, rejected. An interestingly woven lucky bamboo plant challenged me to think about where I might hang ornaments but in the end, I couldn't resist the little table top pine in a pot. Also, I had no clue how I would have lugged the heavier potted fig back to my back street parking spot. As it was, it was pretty funny to stroll down the block, past the Indian cafe, hugging a tiny pine. As the sun set over the city, I packed up my tree. I needed to stop for gas on the way home and I had a nice exchange with the man working at the pump. He shyly asked,
Riding with a fir

Madam, is that a tree for Christmas, I ask because I have just yesterday also found one tree for Christmas...

Me: Yes, yes it is. So you celebrate Christmas? (many people here are Hindu, Buddhist or Muslim and don't)

Him (earnestly, with hand on heart): Madam, I am Roman Catholic

Me: Well let me wish you a very Merry Christmas then

Him (extending his hand to shake): And to you as well, and in advance, may I also wish you a happy new year!

With that happy wish, I brought my little tree home, set it up near my faux fireplace, made of cardboard wine and small furniture boxes. I created it in a fit of maniacal craftiness.

both trees
The very next morning in the elevator I ran into a fellow ZU faculty member with an apartment a few floors up but only until February when he's moving on to new things. 

Martin: Right then, have you got the holidays sorted, tree and all?

Me: Just picked up a tiny table top pine last night!

Martin: Rubbish, you must have the posh 6 foot tree I've got. I'm getting rid of everything. Fancy a set of golf clubs too?

So I am now the proud owner of a used faux evergreen that came with a set of fancy lights that cycle through all kinds of twinkling patterns and a truly ridiculous amount of tinsel garland. And a table top live pine (quite a relief that now the pressure if off to keep the little table top pine alive until next December). It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, the halls are decked, fa la la la.

the cardboard fireplace