Saturday, May 31, 2014

Tid Bits Part 2

Do you want food from the US chains?

Or food from Chinese or Middle Eastern food chains?

Or do you just want to play?  

We took some friends to the Mirdif City Center Food Court tonight...Andy had some Lebonese food...the rest had Subway and Hardee's.  

Have you ever gone through a mall parking lot to get to a ramp for a major interstate?  You do just that here at this Mall.  You can make a quick stop to pick up some groceries, have you hair cut, or shop for a new outfit on you way to work or on you way out of town.  How's that for a marketing strategy!

The other day I drove for the first time coming and going from this mall.  Kind of scary but I really do need to drive a bit more.  I'd rather take the Metro!

Have I mentioned gas is under a $1.00 a gallon here???  

The other day we had to stop by and pay a car repair bill.  The shop was in a huge (several blocks square) industrial park that was alllllll car repair shops.  How's that for head to head competition?  
Most were small establishments and you had to jockey your way into the small parking lots down a one lane alley.  A bit challenging but a very interesting little bit of culture here.

The other night I took a friend downtown to see the Dancing Fountains, the Dubai Mall and the  Burj Khalifa.  We went by taxi to the Metro Station and then took the train downtown.  There is a crossover bridge all the way from the train station into the Mall.  It was amazing to be able to be in an air conditioned, lighted, deluxe walkway for 4-5 blocks, arriving cool as a cucumber!  She loved the fountains and the aquarium.  We didn't have a lot of time because the Metro stops running around 11:00 on week nights, but it was her only opportunity and she was delighted I was willing to be her guide - after all, I had already been there once before!

I was at the grocery store by myself the other day....the figs, coffees, spices, nuts, fruits and vegetables all looked so pretty I decided to take some pictures...

....until the grocery store security guard approached me and politely but firmly told me I was not allowed to take pictures in the store.

On that happy note, I think I had better head for bed.  Could really use a good night of sleep.

Friday, May 30, 2014

The Indian Ocean

Thursday, May 29th, we went on a wonderful adventure....across the country through three of the Emirates to the Gulf of Oman on the Indian Ocean.  I never would have dreamed I would  walk along the shore of the Indian Ocean!

We left after breakfast and headed east out of Dubai on E102 towards Kalba on the coast.  We drove by many little shops on the way out of town.  The foundation of the economy is small business establishments called EST.  Fathers often buy a small business for their sons - the sons build the small business and buy another one.  And so they grow and prosper.  

We also saw some work houses out in the middle of nowhere in the desert.  They are living quarters for foreign workers who live 8 to 10 in a room.  The company transports them to work and back and provides meals.  They are pretty isolated and cannot get anyone on their own.  Sounds pretty grim to me.  Churches often reach out to the men by providing shoe boxes with basic necessities, friendship, and offering assistance.  It's encouraging to know that someone cares for these marginalized men - almost treated like slaves if what we hear is true.

Just out of the city we passed large date farms, goat and donkey farmland, and open range for camels.  How cool is that?  We saw many camels but went zipping by so fast, it was hard to take pictures.  In the pictures below you can see some of the many fences that keep them contained.  I am told many cars get in accidents with camels every year.  In some places there were red triangle warning signs with a camel picture in the middle - much like the deer signs we have in the States.

There were many Acacia trees growing in the desert.

Further east we climbed through the mountains.  This is the area where huge amounts of rock was taken to form the underwater base for The Palm and The World off shore from Dubai. 5.5 million cubic meters of rock were used for the bedrocks The Palm!  The mountains were dark and stark, but none the less striking as well.  

One of the many beautiful mosques we saw along the way...some in small villages but some seemingly in the middle of nowhere.  We also saw modern very nice schools in small villages or out in the middle of the desert.

One long stretch had trees planted along the road with soakers to keep them watered.  Amazing....

We went through two tunnels and then headed down the mountain to the ocean.  

Beautiful date trees, heavy with fruit in wonderful parks along the water.

Then suddenly rows and rows of oil tanks lined the shore.


We went through the fairly large city of Fujariah with nice parks, beautiful Mosques, and school children riding very shiny new air conditioned yellow buses.  Judy, I was told that RCI has a resort in this area!  

We spent the afternoon at Fujairah Rotana Resort.  The grounds were lush and colorful and the pool was warm but refreshing in the hot sun.

The dry sand was so hot it just about burned my feet through my crocs...unreal.  The wet sand was nice.  The water was very warm.  It was fun to people watch as we walked...swimmers, fishermen, parasailors...the resort offers about 20 different water adventures, but not many people were out on the water.  It's not exactly high season in this heat!

These men were fishermen.  It looked like they were repairing this net, not fishing.  They used trucks and jeeps to pull the nets in to the shore.  Was interesting to watch.

Interesting little trash pot dug into the sand..

A great day away from the hustle and bustle of the city....

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tid Bits

This morning we had a get together at the house and afterwards the women went out for lunch.  A new gal who hopes to move to the area joined us.  Was a delightful lunch at Shakespeare and Co...nice salads, soups, and sandwiches with beautiful, tasty over the top desserts once again.  

Right next store was an incredible store filled with frilly fancy, party favors...a little much for my taste, but another evidence of the excess and extravaganc in Dubai!

And outside they had a sign already announcing the Expo 2020 coming to Dubai.

Tonight Andy and I walked down to a little grocery store for a few things for breakfast.  We walked by a sheiks home.  Do you know that we generally pronounce that word incorrectly in the States?  
It is not "sheeks" is actually "shakes"). Good to be in the know.

Then you pass this pretty little neighborhood mosque before getting to the local grocery store...which is very handy.  

In this little area there is also an air conditioned bus stop and another little store with a "honking lane" out front.  Cars can pull up, honk their horn, and someone will come out and bring their groceries to them in the car.  Gives all new meaning to curb service!

Well, it's 11:30 pm here and 93 degrees.
Back in Delafield it's 2:30 pm and 67 degrees.
I had better get to bed...another busy day tomorrow. 

Days are Full and Fun

Today is Memorial Day in the States.  I enjoyed many of the posts on Facebook honoring those who have served and sacrificed for our country.  Missed the parades, the flags in the cemetery near our home, and the celebrations around Milwaukee this year...

I was honored by a friend today. She treated me to a foot message and pedicure.   Three of us went to have pedicures, manicures, and foot messages at a local shop.  It was my first experience...and I must say I liked it!

These are the two sweet Filipino gals who served me...the gal on the left took six months training back home to learn how to do the pedicures and the gal on the right took a year of training to learn how to do foot message (and it actually ended up being a full leg message).  Both were very polite, gentle, and kind.

When we went to pay and give the girls tips there was no one else in the shop, so we stopped and talked with them.  One of my friends prayed for them.  They were so grateful, joined in the amen and thanked us all.  Was a sweet moment.  

I certainly hope they get paid well.  I am told that part of their pay and benefits is a free trip home to the Phillippines every two years.

There are two shops - the one on the left was for the gentlemen and the one on the right was for the ladies.

We stopped at the food court at Uptown Mall for a cone on the way to the car.  You have to lick pretty quickly in heat over 100!  From there we went to the Gold Souq downtown for one of the gals to pick up some jewelry she had ordered.  The place was beautiful...all pretty jewelry stores.  We ended up visiting the factory right around the corner where a couple dozen Indian Men were designing and creating original pieces.


We had dinner later that night with friends at the Mirdif City Center Mall at a very nice upscale Mexican restaurant. (it was a "slow down day" at the house.). A nice young man made a big bowl of guacamole for us right at the table...he added some wonderful veggies and I think we ate three baskets of chips with it.  Dinner was great...sweet potato fries with my burrito.

This mall is about a mile from the house...if it was winter here, I could walk no problem!

As if dinner wasn't enough, we had dessert at The Chocolate Bar!  It was over the top wonderful...and healthy, too.