Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Come, take a walk with me...

took an early morning walk from 6:00 to 7:15 this morning.  Was pretty nice until the sun came out in full force.  I noticed a big difference from when I walked last week during EID, which is a national holiday.  

Today was a regular work/school day so I saw a couple dozen yellow school buses.  Young children were waiting out on the sidewalk as early as 6:00 for the bus.  I didn't feel comfortable taking pictures of them...some were pretty cute.

There were also lots of worker buses dropping men off at their jobs as well.

I really enjoy the variety of architecture in the homes - some are quite traditional, some are sleek and modern, some even have a southwest feel to them.  Just like I was taken by wooden doors in Spain, I am taken with the beautiful designs in the metal gates and doors here.

The shapes, sizes, colors, detail is different in each one.  

There were several gardeners out watering plants and little patches of grass.  Some house helpers were out washing cars and gates.  Cars sit out all the time - most are under cover, but they still get very dusty every day.  We have heard you can get fined if your car is dirty, but that may be an urban legend.


This door was particularly pretty.  So much detail!

Because of the walls and gates, you only see pieces and parts of the actual houses and condos.


Early morning, grocery ads, take out food menus, and news papers get stuffed between the grillwork.
Makes them look a little junky when they start collecting over time.

Up past Uptown Mirdif I discovered this beautiful mosque, quiet and serene in the morning sun.


The minaret was impressive as well.


Someone was attempting a cactus garden along a busy street.

Just last week I attempted to take this very picture.  It was the early morning prayer time during EID and there were dozens and dozens of pairs of shoes on these steps.  I thought it would make an interesting picture.  It was really camera screen went black when I tried (three or four times) to take the picture.  Almost eerie....but the camera would not take the picture.  No problems this morning.


I baked a couple of loaves of banana bread and two batches of oatmeal raisin cookies today.  At one point I had to go to the mall to get butter and walnuts.  I chose to go to a different mall for a change.  It is a smaller mall that is frequented by mostly local Emerites.  The stores are upscale and cater to the Emerites with traditional dress for men, women, and children.  Again, I did not feel comfortable taking pictures.  The mall on Al Khawaneej Road is called Etihad Mall.

These were a couple of mall entrances...honoring some of the UAE leaders.  The mall is known for the many very fancy and elaborate sweets shops.  It was incredible - but since I wasn't buying any, I didn't take any pictures..

Monday, September 28, 2015

Random Thots

The Last night after supper I went to Mushrif Park with Julie.  She and three friends walk together every Monday  night to get caught up with one another.  It was a hoot.  One from England, Ireland, Kenya, and Australia.  They walk and talk...often with all four talking at the same time, with lots of laughter mixed in.  It was a hot and humid day so I was sweating profusely.  They do not have daylight savings time here, so it now gets dark by about 6:30.  The moon was full and golden...helping us see the path.  I had to take a shower when I got back to our room, but it was a fun experience.

It's just about the time of year when you turn the hot water heaters back on.  The water gets so hot in the tanks on the flat roof, you don't need to heat it in the summer.  Each bathroom has its own water heater - usually above the stool.


All of the air conditioning units are up on the roof, too.  Pretty much one for each room.  It's a lot to maintain.  The one in our room we set at 25C which is about 78F.  It never, I mean never, cycles off.

Yesterday I spent considerable time getting airline tickets and applying for visas to visit friends in Bahrain.  We leave on Sunday and come back on Tuesday.  It's a short 1 hour flight north of here.  Should be very interesting.  We are coming up on the end of our 30 day limit on our tourist visa so we must leave the country and come back in for another 30'days.  Hard to believe!

Today I had to call both our credit card company and our debit card company...nice that they both give you a number that accepts collect calls.  I charged the visas for Bahrain on one and the company sent us a fraud alert  - even tho I registered with them that we would be traveling in the Middle East, even listed the countries.  Seems to me they should have sent a courtesy note letting us know they noticed we had charged something - not a fraud alert! 

I charged the airline tickets on the debit card so it would show up as US dollars without a transaction fee.  It showed up on the account yesterday, but disappeared today.  Wondered if it had been rejected and we lost our tickets.  Looks like it was just a fishing expedition by the airlines to see if we were good for the money.  It went away and they will actually charge us in a day or two.  

So, even after all the travel, I am still learning new things....

I think I have mentioned before the British influence in this area.  Turnabouts are one small feature.  The other day I had to go about 2 miles out of my way to get to turnabouts 3 times on three different streets in order to go back to the house.  

Made lasagna, garlic bread, salad, and Texas sheet cake this morning for dinner tonight...then took off for the mall to walk my four miles.  Looks like in all I walked 6 miles today...  Happy to report I have lost some weight since we came to Dubai.  I've eaten a lot of fruit for breakfast and lunch and have stayed away from most of the desserts and sweets around here!  

Today I discovered a second food court at the Mirdif City Centre...there's a north and a south food court!  Who knew?

I have seen a lot of young kids riding these in the malls I stopped in the toy store to see how much they go for...about $775.00!  They do look like fun...


This was in a very high end shop from New York. The window display theme was about being a foxy lady!  Very funny!

Most of the high end women's shops are in the large atrium square in the middle of the mall.  I haven't been in most of them...very trendy, fancy clothes with high price tags.  Just not my casual style!


Nice lobby by the elevators...lots to observe and enjoy as I walk without sweating! 

That's all folks!  Any questions YOU have about life in Dubai?  Message me!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Oh My, I'm losing my mind!

Had a great morning that started with a good breakfasting and meaningful conversations.  I successfully completed my grocery list and off I went to walk the mall and shop for the week.  All went well...I walked 4 miles, purchased a couple of gifts, and gathered 800 Dirhams of groceries in one cart.  A helpful young Pakistani gentleman loaded them up and we headed for the parking lot. Low and behold, I could of remember where I had parked.  We wandered around for a few minutes mind  racing to was about 95 degrees...  The kind young man took the key and went down one aisle after another trying to see the lights flash on the no avail.  

I had a flashback to West Point.  Barb Bell and I were at the mall in Newburgh and could not find the car.  We wandered about for some time before we realized we had come out a different entrance.  So embarrassing!  But, we had a good laugh and both clearly remember the event now, about 30 years later.

Today I was not laughing...I was hot, thirsty, and hungry.

Finally, I thanked him and gave him a tip.  I said I would wander around and find was there somewhere.  You have to understand the cart is full and the carts here don't ride straight....they ALWAYS pull to the right.  You fight with them every time.  It's crazy.  After about 10 minutes my new friend came back out to check on me.

He asked me for the license number - which of course I did not know.  I called Andy who got the number and called me back.  The young many showed me a kiosk near the exit.  You enter your license plate number, press enter, and the car comes up on the screen.  You confirm it is your car and the machine displays where your car is parked.  By now the security guard was on the scene.  The two men left me and my melting ice cream in the air conditioned lobby and went to find the no avail. 

They wanted me to enter the license number into the machine again.  Of course I had not written it down, I had entered it into the machine.  Called Andy again, they went hunting again, and this time they were successful.  The kind, patient, non-judgemental Pakistani man loaded my groceries into the car.  I gave him another tip for care above and beyond the call of duty.

I was told you can also check in at the information center right inside the entrance.  You can register your plate number with them and they will always know where your ur car is parked!  Service with a smile.  Good to know.

I got back to the house - Andy helped unload the car.  By now it is about 4:30.  When all was put away, I looked at him and said, "l need a burger, fries, and a large Coke...and I need it now!"  So off we went, back to the mall...

Note to self, write the section and number of the parking place on your hand before leaving the car.  

There were large tv types screens all over the food court.  One sequence was:

"City Centre Welcomes You"

"Please respect our courtesy policies."

It went on to list their policies in a kind and gentle way.

One was regarding dress, requesting modest dress below the elbow and below the knee.

No kissing or public displays of affection.

No smoking.

No alcohol.

No disturbances.

Another sequence was:

"Forget where you parked?"

"Go to our park assist kiosk."

"Punch in your license plate number."

"The exact location of your car will appear."

Too late for me!  I learned the hard way!

I got my fix for 16 Dirham...a quarter pounder, fries and Pepsi are 14, but you can supersize the fries and drink for 2 more!  $4.38

Andy got a nice beef dinner at this place.  I read Karam means "generous giving".


Nice decor in the food court...light, bright and clean!
And, you don't have to clean up after yourself.  Someone is right there to whisk your trash away.


There is a huge entertainment center for children connected to the food court.  It's a school night, so not many kids there tonight,

The ultimate comfort ice cream cone costs 1 Dirham here...about 27 cents...

Who knew Swede's loved burgers so much!?!

If you want fast food at home, you can have it delivered!  This was just outside the food court!

The grocery store prints the item in Arabic and English on one page.

Other stores print two separate that's service!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

It's the weekend

TWorship at Redeemer Church of Dubai on Friday was wonderful once again!  Dave did a masterful job in unpacking Genesis 39 and making it relevant for me today.

How do we trust God when our circumstances don't make any sense?

Joseph is a slave.  He's good at his job.  He works hard.  God is with Joseph.  Joseph stands out.
He is trusted.  He is put in charge.  The Lord is with the light and in the dark.

God was with him...he was not alone.  In despair, in allure, in deception, in anxiety.  God is with me, too.

Look to Him.  He is more wonderful than anything this world offers.  Look outside yourself.  Look to Him.  You, like Joseph, may loose it all. itself...
But HE will be enough for you.  HE is your only hope.  HE is more precious than anything.

We sang some of my favorite hymns - old and new.
     Holy Holy Holy
          And Can It Be
               O Great God
                     The Power of the Cross

A great morning indeed!

Later in the afternoon Andy and I walked 4 miles at the mall and then enjoyed great take out at the house with friends...a Friday night tradition...roasted chicken, green salad, Arabic rice, flatbread and hummus.  I made a bundt cake for dessert.  Very tasty meal...

Walked the mall again today...5 miles.  I'm getting to know all the stores in order.  But, I have more energy and enjoy the exercise. 

Today I also spent considerable time at the computer looking for flights to Bahrain....about an hour flight northwest of Dubai.  We are going next Week on a visa run.  We must leave the country and then re-enter to get a new tourist visa for 30 more days. We will be there Sunday-Tuesday enjoying time with friends.  

It was interesting visiting sites I've never seen,,
They look and feel a bit different but I found a good deal and got the tickets.  Just need to double check with the consulate and make sure we can get visas when we arrive in Bahrain...we understand the rules change quite often in this part of the world.

A local grocery store with a mosque right next stop does it all!  I actually quite impressed with all the products thay have in this little store...fresh fruits, veggies, and bread to shirts, socks, and kids toys...with all kinds of food stuffs, cleaning products and cosmetics!  Everything you might need - open 24 hours a day.  And oh yes, there is a pharmacy attached with a bus stop out front. 

Okay, time for bed.  Andy is already purring softly in the background.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

A Trip to the Creek

This morning after breakfast we ventured out with some new friends...they had not been to The Creek, so we took the metro down to the Al Ghubaiba Station on the green line.  You are on your own to figure out how to pronounce that word!  Since it is a national holiday today, the place was bustling...not so many vacationers as workers on a day off.

Water taxi dirham (about 27 cents) for a ride across the creek to get to the spice and gold souqs...

Scenes along the creek...

We spent about half an hour in this spice souq getting some fun things to take home with us...

The young man who was so helpful...they all say, "Don't worry...we give you a good price."
That's saffron he is holding.  It's one of the more expensive spices.

Our new friends from South Africa.  Their daughter found her favorite treat and just had to have some.

On the water taxi waiting to return to the other side of the creek to find some lunch!

The river was full of real water safety rules seem to come into play...

As you walk down the street past the little shops, the store owners are hawking their wares.  They just start putting a head dress or a scarf on you to show you how good it looks on you.  Pretty aggressive at times.


We ate at this restaurant right on the water.  Enjoyed watching the water traffic passing by.  Very pleasant atmosphere and great food.

No real rules of the road were apparent!  Very entertaining!

After lunch Andy and our friends left for home while I stayed to shop a bit more and enjoy the day,

On another note...take a look and see how CLEAN the metro trains and the stations are.  This is the end of the line at 5:00 pm - in the middle of a busy day!  Note that I waited a minute until the crowds had left.  It's like this every day!