A few weeks back I traveled through the varnished and coated wooden halls of the Central Market Souk. It is a beautiful combination of new design mixed with old arabian culture. Everything from the intricate latticework that separates the shops and boutiques to the dark stone floors invites you into this pleasant intertwining of fresh and historical. And if you had the privilege of traveling through the halls during the daytime you would get to see how all is accented through the reflective lights of the market’s stained glass windows.
I thoroughly enjoyed taking the time to peer through the windows of the Central Market. It was as if Abu Dhabi was no longer a city of concrete greys and sandy yellows, but a vibrant clash of blue edifices and orange crescents. It took me almost 15 minutes to finally dislodge myself and amble upwards to the roof where I found a terrace and in the daylight, saw a further view of the Central Market’s ‘Soon to be Open’ extension. And so, interestingly enough, in the downstairs lights of the Souk windows I saw beauty, but in the light of the midday sun I saw truth.
Light is a fascinating thing. We cannot really see light but we know it is there because by it we see the world around us. We see life more brightly and colorfully, and appreciate things more clearly, but we also see what some things truly are. We see what has been done and what is still left to do.
Once when I was in high school, slaving away as the basement manager – self-appointed title – I would work in the dark corners of said basement, sweeping and cleaning the remnants of each unpacked. In the dark underbelly of the store I would gather up the cardboard and plastic bags that the merchandise arrived in and dispose of it properly. I worked many a day down in the back corners with barely any light. Then one morning I found a switch, a light switch, and I turned it on. For weeks I had been slaving away in the shadows only to find, in a mere second, that what I thought had been clean was in reality dusty, gross, and full of hidden trash that had fallen behind the shelves.
You see, without the light I wouldn’t have realized how little “cleaning” I had actually accomplished, but I also would have never gotten the chance to give that basement a proper scrubbing. Likewise, the lights that illuminated the ins and outs of the Central Market Souk showed me many wondrous things that the market had to offer. But much like many things in Abu Dhabi, despite it’s apparent visual appeal, the light also showed that this Souk is still a ‘Work in Progress.’ Maybe that’s why I enjoy seeing such things being built and constructed and formed and shaped and created, because much like them, I too am still taking shape. Are you?