The Window Cleaner.
His job is to clean the acrylic panel at the Lost Chambers Aquarium--an underwater fantasy land of mazes and tunnels located at the Atlantis resort in Dubai. He cleans it with something close to devotion. The calculated precision of his strokes, such attention to detail, I think, have to be out of love. Love for those he left behind in India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan or Bangladesh. Love for that which the pennies he makes in Dubai will buy his family back at home: a door, a fan, a new pair of shoes, a quilt. He doesn't know that when the resort was being built, a complex series of ancient, buried passages was uncovered. He doesn't know that these discoveries fueled the belief that the remains of the Lost City of Atlantis were buried thousands of years ago by the waters of the Arabian Gulf. He doesn't have to know any of this. He gets paid for cleaning the window and that's all he does. He doesn't look at the guide regurgitating her freshly-learned information. He doesn't see the children leaving their finger prints on the panel he so feverishly wipes clean. He delivers stroke after stroke as if his life depended upon it, which it does.
The Muslim couple. I want to say that she is beautiful although her face is completely covered by a black niqab. I also want to say that she is young although what appears to be a taut body moves quietly under her abaya. She sits on a low pillow and stares hard at the aquarium as if recording the times a specific moray eel zooms by, quivering with life. I know the man next to her is her husband, otherwise she wouldn't be in public with him. I know he loves her. I see it in the way that he, out of respect, sits a good foot away from her, points at the aquarium excitedly every time he sees something beautiful, whispers the names of the submarine creatures he knows, like a young boy trying to impress a girl out of his league, and when he is ready to move on, he gently pats her hand. No. She shakes her head and lets him know in no uncertain terms that she is not ready to go. And so he pats her hand again and leaves her, face to face with millions of litres of water, with nothing in between her and 65,000 marine creatures than the large acrylic panel which the South Asian man, for a few minutes, keeps clear as if exclusively for her.