Yesterday I left the house to do some errands and ran smack into the entourage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed al Qassimi. He's the one in the yellow/golden robe.
He was attending the opening of an art exhibit at AUS. The truth is, I actually see HH the Sheikh quite a bit. I don't know what's average for a person who lives in Sharjah, but I feel like I see him maybe once a month, sometimes more often. This is partially because he's at AUS a lot, and partially because my office happens to have this view:
That rotunda area is where most of the fancy receptions are. I always know we're in for a visit from HH the Sheikh when I have to pass through security on my way into work. He has separate male and female security detail personnel so I don't have to suffer the indignity of being searched by a man. As soon as I get to my office, I can sit back and watch the dignitaries file in from five stories up.
I'll get to shake the Sheikh's hand when I graduate, so I'm looking forward to that. It's nice to have the leader of our emirate be a very visible personality, at least on campus. When we lived in Moscow, to get to work at the embassy we'd have to pass by the Russian White House (the seat of parliament). In Russia, anyone who's anyone in the government (or who has enough money) can put a blue light on top of their car and basically halt traffic to get to where they need to go. These people and their considerable vehicular entourages caused traffic jams near the White House, and therefore the embassy, all. the. time. It was such a pain.
Maybe that happens with dignitaries here, too, but I've never encountered it. Our traffic jams usually have much more boring causes. What a pleasure it is to be able to enjoy the presence of the Sheikh from time to time, and know that he doesn't feel the need to shut down half the city to make an appearance anywhere.