DUBAI (Dec. 6)–This week I am off on another west-east journey to meet up with friends and family and to explore business opportunities.
My father often reminds me the center of gravity of wealth has shifted from the West to the East, and we in the West can no longer pretend to believe that Middle Easterners and Asians live in the backwaters.
It would do many Westerners a world of good to see how progressive much of life is in this part of the world, notwithstanding some of the deeply puzzling sociological contradictions. Alas, these contradictions also exist, in different forms, in the West, reminding us all of the condition of mankind across countries and continents.
Travel is indeed a beautiful thing. It teaches tolerance, shapes one’s world view, exposes one to new possibilities, new people, new ways of thinking and it sharpens the mind as well as refreshes perspectives.
This is my fourth visit to the region this year, and while my mind continues to be sharpened by the views of those I meet along the journey, the mind also continues to be boggled by the number of West Indians who live, work and travel around the world. On a recent trip from Asia to the Middle East, a Trinidadian working in the oil industry started talking up a storm with the flight attendant, blithely ignoring whether the cabin crew could understand the brother man’s thick Trini accent. He was seated right behind me and was returning home via Houston after spending a few weeks on an oil rig.
I then met up with my brother in Dubai (where he resides) for a connecting flight to New York, and in the lounge of the new Airbus A-380 aircraft we, per chance, meet another Trini, from San Fernando, who works in the fashion and jewelry businesses.
Well, you can only imagine the feeling of pride I experienced when on my return to the Middle East this week, the voice emanating from the A380’s intercom was that of a fellow Barbadian, with whom I had the privilege of sharing a few words before we landed in Dubai.
West Indians are truly doing “big tings” around the world. As Jamaicans say, “We likkle, but we tallawah.”
As I thank the Lord for the gift of travel, this week I am equally thankful for my new friends and the increasing number of Caribbean folks I meet along the way.