Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sex and the WRONG City

Ever since Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte decided to hop on a plane and spend a few days in Abu Dhabi, I’ve been overloaded with emails saying: “it was so good to see a little bit of your world”, or “wow, I did not imagine Abu Dhabi like that” or “I thought about you throughout the movie”.

Well, I am really flattered – at least you thought about me – but I need to let you in a little secret… What you saw was NOT Abu Dhabi.

That’s right folks. Not sure if the plane was diverted somewhere along the way, but apparently the girls ended up 6,000 kilometers away from here, more precisely in Morocco.

To tell you the truth, when I saw the movie trailer, I found it very hard to believe they had actually filmed here. Why? Well, although this is one very Occidentalized Arab country, it is still an Arab country. And although people here are used to hot summer months, I am not too sure they are quite ready to face the heat of our four friends from New York – especially Samantha’s.

The UAE is concerned in protecting the moral and religious values of the country. It does actively filter and censor a series of movies, TV programs and websites, especially the ones that contain pornography or that promote online dating and gambling. If I try, for example, to access Orkut, which they believe promotes online dating, this is the message I will see:

I am not here to discuss if this is right or wrong. I have my opinion and you probably have yours, but this is not the place or the time for this discussion. I just mentioned this because the local reality made me anticipate the obvious: that Carrie and her pals would be banned from the big screens in the UAE just like they were banned the first time around with Sex and the City: The Movie.

I was actually in Canada when the film was released so I obviously headed to the movies to check out the sequel. I must confess I was a bit disappointed by what I saw. I mean, I am not an Arab and even I was bothered by the stereotypical and partial way the culture was portrayed.

I am not trying to say that everything they showed was a lie. On the contrary, some things are actually very true. But, you know when they make movies and Brazil is always mentioned as the place where crooks and thieves run to or when all they show is samba and Carnaval and naked women? Brazil is not only about that is it? Well, Abu Dhabi is not only about what appears in the Arabian adventures of our friends from New York.

Look, don’t get me wrong, I love the characters, the fun, the fashion, the friendship, and I am all pro freedom of speech, but to choose a Middle Eastern city as the background to the all so famous topics addressed by Sex and the City? What were they thinking?

I just hope our girls step into their Manolo Blahnik’s and head straight back to New York – that’s where they belong and where we love them best.

Meanwhile, if you want to come for a visit, I’ll show you the real Abu Dhabi desert, souk and luxurious hotels – not the Moroccan ones!

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