Tuesday, August 31, 2010

...ON EVERY STREET CORNER...

That's right.  There's a mosque on every street corner in the United Arab Emirates!  Maybe not EVERY corner but lots and lots and lots of them!  I remember standing on one street in Dubai and being able to see four mosques in one glance! 

The mosques are beautiful by day:





The mosques are spectacular by night:






It's the sound coming from the mosques by day and by night that is utterly fascinating!  Five times a day the "call to prayer" echoes throughout the streets of the UAE:


video

Oooops, sorry about that!  I posted this for the "call to prayer"  not for the sideways glimpse of the mosque!!  And here's another one:


video


To us Americans, the mosques...on every street corner...by day or by night...are absolutely intriguing!

Monday, August 30, 2010

YOU AREN'T GONNA BELIEVE THIS ONE!!!

You simply are not going to believe this!  Yesterday I called Emaar, a huge developer here in Dubai and the one that built the building where we are living.  We've been here over a month and have been putting things on a "hit list" that need to be fixed.  It's a new building so all the maintenance is under warranty. I called Emaar yesterday.....and you're not gonna believe this!!!

ME:  Hi, I was just calling too see if I could get someone out to fix several little things around our flat.
ER (Emaar Rep): Sure, and what is your complaint?
ME: Well, it's really not a complaint.  I have a list of some minor things that need to be fixed around our flat.
ER: No problem.  And what is your complaint?
ME: Again, it's really not a complaint.  Just a few things that need to be fixed.
ER: What are those things?
ME: Well, first, the intercom system is not hooked up yet.
ER: Okay. Is there any other complaint?
ME: Well, I'm really not complaining.  But yes, there is something else....as a matter of fact there is a list of some things.
ER: Go on
ME: What? Do you want me to go through the entire list item by item?
ER: Yes.
ME: WOW, there are twelve things on my list.
ER: And what are the complaints?
ME: (To myself: AHHHHHH!)  Okay.....here goes.....and I proceeded to go through our list of twelve things.....things like needing a longer screw for one of the handles on the kitchen drawer that keeps coming loose from the too short of screw that is in it now.  You get the message -- twelve little no-big-deal things that just need to be fixed!
ER: Hold the line please while I file your complaint.
ME: (To myself: I'M NOT COMPLAINING!  I'M MERELY CALLING TO GET A HANDY MAN OVER HERE TO FIX SOME THINGS!!)

Fifteen to Twenty Minutes Elapse.....

ER: Thank you for waiting.  I filed your complaint and have a work order number for you.
ME: (To myself: AHHHHHH!)  Okay, thank you.  What is the work order number?
ER: The work order number for the intercom system is 1356717.  The work order number for the kitchen granite is 1356719.  The work order number for the kitchen drawer screw is 1356720.....and so forth and so on.  She gave me twelve work order numbers for the twelve things on my list. 

Still not quite getting it, I said:

ME: So will someone call me to schedule an appointment to come and fix the items on my list?
ER: Yes.
ME: Will someone be calling me today or tomorrow?
ER: Well, for the intercom system someone will call within 48 hours.  For the kitchen granite someone will call within three weeks. For the kitchen drawer screw someone will call within four weeks........and so on and so forth. 
ME: Are you saying that I will get twelve different people calling me at twelve different times to make twelve different appointments to fix the twelve minor, did I say MINOR, things on my list?
ER: Yes, that is correct.  Do you have any other complaints?
ME: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

I'm totally NOT KIDDING!  Here, see for yourself:


Pat Pattern, where were you when I needed you?  LIG SMILE!

I told you, you weren't going to believe this!  And I still don't quite believe it....but I'm sure I will when those twelve repairmen start a calling!!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

STARVING TO YET ANOTHER EMIRATE!!!

John and I woke up,  made a great breakfast chock full of protein, with plans on travelling to yet another emirate: Fujairah!!  But, first things first....here's what we woke up to:

video

What a sight to behold!!  Next, I want to show you our breakfast......I'm not sure if I've ever told you, but the eggs in Dubai are absolutely amazing!!  The yolks are almost orange and the taste is just fantastic!  We ate a lot of protein......as you can see by the picture!


We did this as part of our "Master Plan" to drive to another emirate, Fujairah, without starving.  As you know, Ramadan continues!  Oh, and did I mention that we got John's company car?  Last week we were told that it would come this week....so I only imagined that we would see it sometime in September! But it actually came!  Wonders never cease!

It was great getting the car.....especially because of this:


I think these "cool boxes" are standard in the UAE!  It is actually inside the front console between the two seats!  We put a couple of waters inside along with our lunch (protein bars)!  We were all prepared to make it through the day without starving!!!

Oh, and guess what I found between my two feet in this car?  No, not a fire extinguisher......


Just the Tedmeister!!

Here's a map of the emirates we've been to so far.....Dubai, of course, Sharjah, Ajman, Abu Dhabi, and as of today, Fujairah!

Our trip took about two hours and the scenery was much the same -- rocky and mountainous!  But the villages/towns were quite interesting with their shops, cafes (closed, of course!), "super"markets, mosques....




Along one of the roads we were travelling we saw stands after stands with men selling carpets, pottery, fruits, and vegetables!  Of course we stopped and bought some of the fruits and vegetables (which turned out to be absolutely mouth watering good!). 




We finally made it to Fujairah, which is on the coast of the Gulf of Oman (also called the Indian Ocean).  When we were here two years ago we went snorkeling in the Gulf of Oman and was surprised to find the water actually cool as compared to the Arabian Sea (also known as the Persian Gulf) which was as warm as bathtub water!  Fujairah was beautiful!  Some high rises, some constructions, and lots and lots of water!



We looked for the place we went snorkeling two years ago.....to no avail!  So we drove up the coastline
in search of the spot-- a beautiful beach with a huge rock out in the water several 100 yards out.  A boat dropped us off to snorkel where we saw many sea turtles, shark, stingrays and other amazing sea creatures!  It was fabulous snorkeling and we wanted to see the place again!!  Here's John and Ted and then Ted and I searching for our snorkeling spot!!


 Finally, our drive up the coastline ended in Dibba (can you see it?  It is right on the border of Oman on the top right tip of the map!) and, would you believe, we found the resort!  It's called Royal Beach Al Faqeet Hotel & Resort and Freestyle Divers is right next door.  This is where we snorkeled two years ago--out there by that huge rock!!  SIMPLY AMAZING!!

As we left Dibba, I found the decor in the center of their roundabouts to be quite spectacular:


We continued home to Dubai (doesn't sound quite so strange anymore!) from Dibba through the mountains and away from the water.  What a day!  Our plan worked, I'm happy to report!  With a huge breakfast of protein, then water and a protein bar for lunch, we really and truly DID NOT starve to yet another emirate!!  But, uh, I gotta ask, "What's for dinner?"

Thursday, August 26, 2010

OH NOOOOOOO, NOT AGAIN!

Oh noooooo, not again!  Another death by the desert heat.....


You'll never get the chance to borrow another book from me ever again.....ever!!

A FUNNY THING HAPPENED AT THE POOL YESTERDAY!!!

Yes, a funny thing happened at the pool yesterday.  Unfortunately, I don't have a picture.....but you can use your imaginations, I'm sure!!

As I've said before, there is no sitting beside the pool or next to the pool around here.  It is way too hot for that!  So whenever I am at the pool I am, literally, IN THE POOL.  Yesterday I was there with five other women and one man.  We were all laying on the pools' infinity ledges, basking in the sun with cool water running by us.  It was absolutely amazing!   All of a sudden I got this image in my mind....

Have you ever been to San Francisco?  Well, if you have, I'm sure you've been to the Pier where the Sea Lions or Seals or Walruses (I think they're Sea Lions) lay on the floating docks sunning themselves?  And every now and again one of them rolls over into the water and then jumps back up for some more warm sun rays?  Well, that's what we all looked like!  I'm not kidding!  I started laughing and then told the ladies around me my analogy.....Alex and Anna started laughing, however, the French speaking mom and daughter didn't have a clue what I was talking about!!

I always LOVED watching those cute Sea Lions.....they seemed so content just laying in the sun and taking a dip every now and  again.   Hmmmmmm.....I'm wondering if anyone is watching us cute little Humans basking in the sun on the ledges of the pools and taking a dip every now and again!

Do you get the picture?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

YOGA-ING IN DUBAI!

I did it!  I took my first yoga class on Monday and it was absolutely WONDERFUL!!  It was a different kind of yoga than what I have done in Indianapolis for the last four years, but it was great!!  I missed my Sara and my fellow yogis from our Tuesday night class........but it was doable!!!

The fact that I can actually walk across the street to get to the Exhale Fitness Studio for class is just "Pinch Me Now, I Can't Believe It" fantastic!!  Here's MY new yoga place:


Tonight I'm going to a Vinyasa Yoga class.....that's the kind of yoga I love!!  I cannot wait to see what Vinyasa Yoga In The Middle East is all about!!
Hope you all are doing well!! 

Monday, August 23, 2010

WOOHOO...IT'S YOGA TIME AGAIN!!

I am soooooo excited!  I'm heading across the street to Exhale Fitness Studio in Jumeirah Beach Residences for my first "real" yoga class since I left the good 'ol USA!!  I simply cannot wait!!

COMING OF AGE IN THE UAE!

Yes, I'm "Coming Of Age" in the UAE.  What, exactly, is that supposed to mean?  Well, for me, it means I am taking one step at a time (okay so I admit it -- one BABY step at a time) to improve my technologically impairedness!! (That may not be a word but it describes me to a tee!!)

First Step:

* Purchase a cute little teal notebook computer to use when we travel.  Check!    
* Purchase a good quality camera in which to capture the beauty of Dubai.  Check!
* Purchase a Smart Phone to make communication back home easy!  Check!


Step Two:

* Be able to use the cute little teal laptop notebook. Check! (No problem-
   it is, after all, just a computer!)
* Be able to take great pictures with the oh so awesome new camera......
* Be able to be smart enough to actually use the oh so smart Smart Phone.....

Okay, but I am working on the last two, I really am!  Just to prove it -- here are the manuals:


I attempt to read something in these manuals every day.  But I need someone to help me interpret what the manuals are saying.  Jonathan and Jason....your visit in December just can't come quick enough!!  Your mom needs assistance while "Coming Of Age"!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

EVERY DAY IS LAUNDRY DAY IN DUBAI!!

I'm quite certain all you Americans won't quite get this.  You and your big laundry rooms (you may not think yours is big, but trust me on this, it is BIG!) with your front load HE washers and dryers that sit on bases so that the doors are at a level where you don't have to bend down to load and unload them.....

Let's just say that EVERY.DAY.IS.LAUNDRY.DAY.IN.DUBAI!!!  Let me show you!!

Here is my laundry room in our flat in Dubai:


Yes, it's tucked in, quite nicely actually, a little closet in our half bathroom!  The closet above it houses our suitcases, our vacuum cleaner, and all of our laundry essentials.  Let's see, there's Tide, Downy Concentrate (sorry, Bounce, but you're not used here in Dubai!) and some off brand stain remover.


Notice that our laundry/vacuum/suitcase closet is rather full?  Well, it was supposed to house our golf clubs, however, since they obviously didn't fit they now reside nicely in...


...one of our bathtubs!  Oh, I must remember to put up a shower curtain to hide our newest closet!!  I know, I know, Steve G. would have a fit that our laundry products take precedence over our golf clubs!  Sorry Steve! :)

And here is our washer/dryer (yes, one machine does it all!!) up close:



By the way, I'm on my knees taking this picture.  That's the only way I can load and unload clothes from this thing!  And note the very small door that opens to a very small space where clothes washing is supposed to take place!


And here is where the Downy goes.  And here is where the Tide goes for the prewash.  And here is where the Tide goes for the regular wash.


Wanna know what constitutes a load of laundry around here?  I'll just show you!  See this bath towel?  Now granted, it's a large bath towel, but let me just say that it is not a thick, big bath towel.  It's a rather, er,  a thin big bath towel.  Well, two of these towels make up one load of laundry! No, I'm not kidding!!
Believe me, I wish I was!



On top of that, guess how long it takes a load of laundry to wash and dry?  And I'm using the term "dry" very loosely here.  It takes four hours to do one load and when it comes out it is very, very damp.  Which, I've learned is a good thing.  If you put it in to dry for 60 minutes or longer everything comes out like one big major wrinkle!  Oh, and we ended up purchasing something I swore I would never, ever, in a million years use.  One of these clothes dryer hanging rack things:


Honestly, these things are sold everywhere here!  I've seen them in grocery stores, home stores, and even at gas stations!  No doubt, they are "lost leaders" here as you can't live without one!

And that, folks, is why every day is laundry day in Dubai!  And I've adjusted, I really have!  I just get up and throw a load in every morning.  And, actually, it makes the flat smell oh, sooooooo good when you walk in the front door!  I know, I know, I need to get a life!! :):):)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

STARVING THROUGH ANOTHER EMIRATE PART TWO!!

Okay, so I'm still learning this posting stuff!  I guess there's a limit in what you can say on a post?  Do you think the Blog Guru is trying to tell me to wrap it up?  Okay, so I'll try to be quick!!




There were Bentleys and Beamers and Cadillac Escalades lined up in the parking lot.  I remembered when John told me about seeing them and asking his customer about it.  They were all there -- a fleet of expensive cars -- for hotel guests to use!!









And, for those of you that are interested, here's a bathroom shot!!  Come on, admit it, you were wondering too, right?


And that was it!  My camera battery died and our little tour had come to an end!  Back to the car and back on the road and time to enjoy our discrete little car picnic!  It was a quick glimpse at Abu Dhabi, but I am sure we will go back sometime to stay a little longer!  And when we do, I pledge to find ALL of the Sex In The City ladies.  I pledge to lug around my new fabulous Nikon camera!  And, most importantly, I pledge to carry a spare battery so I won't miss any shots when my camera battery dies!!! 

And next time, I pledge, it won't be during Ramadan!  I saw way too many quaint cafes that would make "Starving Through Another Emirate" quite impossible!!  Thank heavens!!