Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Our Hero, S.P.

I may have written about S.P. in previous posts; I am too lazy to look. However, S.P. does warrant his very own post. He is just that great.

I first met S.P. early on in the villa stay during the day of the many brown men (remember the 5 plumbers to fix the leaky tap). The door phone/camera thingy rang for the fifth time, Jason was out, so I opened the door to find a young man standing there saying, "I am with cleaning service". We still hadn't reached our villa quota of 20 brown guys - the pool guys were on their way out, and all the plumbers were in Deidre and Dave's room, so threw caution to the wind and invited him in. He took of his shoes and socks, placed them with all the others on the doorstep (it looked like a mosque) and he quietly did his thing.

When I say quietly, I mean like a feather in the wind. I thought Jason was discreet. At this point I really had no idea what S.P. was here for. Jason seemed to have a handle on maintaining the household. My first clue that we were in the luxury cleaning stratosphere was when I went up stairs and all the carpets were rolled up and S.P. was mopping the floors. I don't know about the rest of you, but rugs serve an alternative purpose in my house - what is swept under, cannot be seen - but not S.P. Then I caught him polishing all the light switches. Geeze, S.P.

Then as quickly as he came he was gone. When I went into my room I noticed that it had been straighted up military style. My mishmash of books, papers, etc. were all placed in neat little piles - everything in its place. Then there was the bathroom. You will recall from previous posts that my bathroom is rather large. There is a good two metres of counter space with two sinks (stranglely I find myself on occassion running both sinks at once). Fortunately I brought enough toileteries, gels, hairspray, lotions, sunscreen, shaving products, medications, etc. to cover the entire two metres. Putting this all in fine order was not too big a task - not for S.P. Everything was neatly arranged. Sunscreens in one spot, hair care in another, and on and on. That evening it took me 10 minutes to find my electric tootbrush. Of course, it was there. S.P. had stood it up neatly next two my tooth paste collection. I just wasn't accustomed to seeing it standing up. He zipped up my toiletry case and stood it preciseely at the the end of the counter.

S.P. seems to appear every two days. Fine by me. One of last week's couples had one of those trademark S.P. moments. When they arrived they dumped the contents of their backpacks on the floor, intending to deal with it later that day. They went out. When they returned they were partly devastated, partly thrilled that S.P. had folded and put away the entire contents of their backpacks! This has continued to occur. A stray shirt, a pair of socks...S.P. folds neatly and put away.

S.P. is Nepalese. I can't imagine what a contrast Dubai is to the rural, mountainous zen of Nepal. Yesterday I wrote a card, inserted a postcard with a big Canadian flag, and 100 dhm. It is so little to us in the West ($30), but would be about the equivalent of two week's pay from what I can figure (at dinner with Daryl, he said that servers at the 7 star Burj make about 900 dhm a month, plus tips), so figure the cleaners make considerably less.

The sort of sad thing that I have noticed is that every two days the 'cleaner bus' arrives on the fronds, dropping off its brown human cargo at each villa, going up and down the fronds. Five hours later, it returns, picking up the workers at each frond. I guess this is how the world works in these parts and I suppose we shouldn't judge. I try not to think where S.P. and the others go at night. If I knew, I'd go and fold his laundry.

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