I am one of those who suffered a disorder, common to a lot of people, aquaphobia, the fear of water. Sad to say that growing up in an archipelago surrounded by water did not help at all. You can imagine how bitter I felt every time I came near to a pool or visited the beach full of men, women and kids who could swim like mermaids and mermen. I never believed that four decades later, this aquaphobe would see the light of day and make peace with the H2O. It happened one weekend when a friend invited me to visit the Jumeirah Beach in Dubai.
One of the perks of living in Dubai is the long stretch of white sandy beach smack dab in the middle of Jumeirah. Once a fishing village, it is now considered as the poshest area in Dubai. Gone were the shanties inhabited by the local fishermen who once upon a time were hauling boats filled with the“catch of the day”. The area is now a long avenue, lined with grand villas of white marble, local and chain restaurants which I can only afford to visit on every third birthday. The road is filled with Porches, Ferraris, Maseratis, Corvettes making my Toyota Corolla stick out like a sore thumb. But, I am not there to assess my economic condition. I am driving to one of the jewels of Dubai, Jumeirah Beach.
After choosing a spot where we can set up the picnic mat, I looked around and saw that there were pods where one can quickly change into bathing suits. No bathrooms were in sight and there were no nearby restaurants either, so make sure there are no number twos looming. Number one is not a problem cause….well, you have the water right in front of you. To ensure your safety, there is a police station on one end with a couple of patrol cars scouring the shore making sure the place is kept in a “wholesome” state.
The Jumeirah Beach possessed the best vantage point for viewing the Burj Khalifa (the World’s tallest building) and the Burj Al Arab (the one and only seven star hotel). I don’t mean to brag but, seeing these iconic buildings makes me feel rather special. They were like talking to me saying, “Suz, today is the day when you shall conquer your fear.”
I guess they were right because, after ten minutes of a pep talk, the hands holding my head and back were let go, and I floated for 2 seconds at first, followed by 5 seconds, and then I did it on own! Then….I even did the breaststroke and swam 20 miles…..well maybe fifteen feet…I like to lie a little 🙂
I was born again! I let go of my fears and allowed nature to take over. Wow…..it is never too late to learn and experience what life has to offer. To me, it was a spiritual moment juxtaposed against the structures made by man. Ironic, yes but isn’t that what life is all about?
Now….did I ever tell you about the time I entered the Iron Woman competition..No?
Wow..guess that will have to be another story..I need to go to the Post Office and mail this story to my publisher!