After lunch we cleaned and organized about 1/3 of the cupboards out in the outside kitchen. Really needed a good cleaning...the dust gets into everything. We will finish it up another day.
Ramadan started today. We are headed to the Wafi Mall tonight...has an Egyptian theme. From the outside it looks like a pyramid. Will be interesting to observe what is happening as Emirates conclude their fast at evening prayer time....at 7:16 today.
I have been reading a little book called ASK ALI - from the Gulf's top cultural expert. He has a website that looks pretty good, too. www.ask-ali.com
What I am learning:
Streets often do not have names - or, they may have 3 names
Buildings are not numbered
Navigation is achieved using landmarks
Men often greet one another by rubbing noses
You can try saying "As salami alaykum" instead
Emirates prefer to build a relationship first - then build a business relationship
Saving face is important - even if you must compromise, don't embarrass your Arabic colleagues in public
Good connection starters include inquiring about health and family, or sports, especially soccer
Arabs love to host at home - when invited, try to accept
It is the best way to learn about the culture
Wear something comfortable and modest - the family often sits on the floor
Make sure you stay for dessert - Arab sweets are delicious and if you leave early your hosts may feel they have not completed their hospitality duties
Use your right hand to pick up things or accept things
Modesty and respect are the Arab world's greatest virtues
You get a license to purchase alcohol here. You are allowed to purchase 20% of your monthlly salary. Visitors cannot buy alcohol from the government run shops, but may buy duty free or at hotel bars.
You call 997 for fire, 998 for ambulance and 999 for police
Camel racing is not done this time of year...just too hot for the camels. I am told the camels race long distance with robot jockeys controlled remotely by their owners who drive alongside the camels in their SUVs! Fascinating!
Each April they have daredevil pilots who race their planes up to 370 kph out over the water above the Corniche in Abu Dhabi.
They also race powerboats in December, reaching 220 kph.
The end of March cross country drivers from around the world come to race ATVs, cars, and motorcycles across the desert.
We will have to come back in the winter some time to enjoy some of these fun activities!