Wednesday, August 31, 2011


We were in Carrefour (and also Park N Shop and Choithrams) last weekend picking up some groceries.  I walked by a display without even noticing what the promotion was all about.  John pointed it out to me.  I'll share it here, but be warned!  As sad as it is, we are all "a day late and a dollar short" for this one.....

Yup, I had to take a little closer look as well, to see what this "product of the day" was all about!

You know you've lived in the Middle East a while when you can walk by this and not even take notice!

Sorry people!  But we are all simply TOOOO LATE!  Ramadan is over and so is this promo!  I wonder how many zipper trolleys were sold and how many prayer rugs were given away for free? 

Dang, it seems I'm always a "day late and a dollar short"!!!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Eid Mubarak

The lights are on; the doors are open; the curtains are no longer drawn! RAMADAN is officially OVER!*!

Today is the first day of Eid al-Fitr, the UAE Ministry of Justice announced! The UAE moon sighting committee sighted the Shawwal moon. So it is official!

Eid al-Fitr is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting (sawm). Eid is an Arabic word meaning "festivity", while Fitr means "breaking (the fast)". The holiday celebrates the conclusion of the thirty days of dawn-to-sunset fasting that takes place the entire month of Ramadan. Muslims throughout the world observe a joyous three-day celebration.

Eid al-Fitr is a time to give in charity to those in need, and celebrate with family and friends the completion of a month of blessings and joy. Before the day of Eid, during the last days of Ramadan, each Muslim family gives a determined amount as a donation to the poor. This donation is of actual food -- rice, dates, rice, etc. -- to ensure that the needy can have a holiday meal and participate in the celebration. This donation is known as Sadaqah al-fitr (charity of fast-breaking).
On the day of Eid (this morning), Muslims gather early in the morning in outdoor locations or mosques to perform the Eid prayer. This consists of a sermon followed by a short congregational prayer. After the Eid prayer, Muslims usually scatter to visit various family and friends, give gifts (especially to children), and make phone calls to distant relatives to give well-wishes for the holiday. These activities traditionally continue for three days. In most Muslim countries, the entire
3-day period is an official government/school holiday.
Sounds a bit like Christmas, doesn't it? Well, John will be working while the rest of the UAE takes time off to celebrate Eid. He's building up some vacation days so that when you all come to visit he'll be able to share in the fun!
Although I didn't fast, I did think about it a lot. A LOT. As in every time I wanted a cup of coffee and walked by a coffee shop that was CLOSED. And every time I wanted to go out to lunch to one of my favorite restaurants that was CLOSED!  But today I am celebrating as all the Muslims are celebrating!
The lights are back on; the doors are open; I am quite joyful!*!

Monday, August 29, 2011


There's something new (relatively) at the Mall of the Emirates (MOE) here in Dubai.  I'd heard all about it by some AWA women at a coffee several weeks ago.  But I had to see it and try it for myself......

So, if you ever come to Dubai (please come, please come!).......

and are in the mood for a really good American hamburger (say you're in the mood, say you're in the mood!)......

I'll take you to the MOE so you can try this......

I had been told it was terrific, and it was!  MOE's newest temptation: THE SHAKE SHACK!!  Thank you New York!

Sunday, August 28, 2011


Who even knew that Dubai does basketball?  John and I sure didn't.  So we were surprised when we learned that Duke was coming here to play an exhibition game against the UAE National Basketball Team.

The game was held on Thursday at the Al Wasl Club.  We arrived well before the start of the game, sat back, and took in the sights.

In the United States it is customary to see NCAA Championship flags hanging from the walls.  However, the only flag that was visible was the flag of the UAE (in dire need of some good 'ol ironing!).

Jerseys of star players may be hanging from the walls and rafters as well in America. At the Al Wasl Club, however, the only things hanging from the walls were the pictures of our beloved sheikhs!

Duke fans started gathering, sporting their bright blue apparel! 

The UAE fans were gathering as well, and it certainly wasn't hard to spot them!

Finally things started to get rolling as the Duke players came out and huddled...

And the UAE team came out as well and followed suit!

The UAE players took to the floor.....

As did the Blue Devils....

It was exciting to see Coach K and his staff.  I'm not even sure of the name of the UAE Coach, but it was great seeing him and his staff as well.  The Star Spangled Banner was played in honor of Duke.....

And the UAE song (?) was played as well!

And then it was time to play ball!  It didn't take long to see that there was a huge difference in the average height of the teams!  Duke players easily had a foot to a foot and a half on the players representing the UAE!!

Basketball is basketball no matter where it is played.  And the same held true at this game as well.  There were standout fans, a crazy announcer, guys beating on drums, referees, and a shooter that sent t shirts flying into the stands!

And although the game itself was played the same, some things just plain looked different!

It was exciting to be a UAE fan (c'mon now, we currently ARE residents of the UAE), watching some good basketball being played.  Although Duke was the better team (and much, much taller I might add), the UAE players were quick and played their hearts out!

Although we lost the game, we certainly didn't lose face!  It could have been a whole lot worse! 

Duke in Dubai?  A memorable night, to be sure!

Thursday, August 25, 2011


This post is definately not for the weak at heart.  (You can't say I didn't warn you!)

We love our flat in the Dubai Marina.  The size is absolutely perfect for us and the view is stunning!  I pinch myself every night when I get to see this

However, there are several things that are commonly found in the flats in Dubai that I really thought would drive me crazy.

First, the washer/dryer combo has the smallest drum I'd ever seen.  I quickly learned to live with doing a load of laundry or two a day!  NBD!

Second, the oven is so small that at Christmas we couldn't begin to roast a turkey in it.  John and I opted on going out and eating turkey at a restaurant!  (Which was delicious, so I didn't mind at all.) John, however, missed cooking a turkey!

Third, the refrigerator.  OMGoodness, it is the smallest refrigerator known to man.  No kidding, I think college kids are currently carrying larger refrigerators into their dorm rooms as we speak!

And the freezer is no better!  Three drawers is all we get! It isn't even frost free (as you can see!).  I thought this would be soooo hard to get used to.  

It didn't take long, however, before I realized that my mini fridge was plenty big considering what happens to food here in the UAE. Fast.....very, very fast! This grapefruit is less than a week old. So we have learned to buy a couple at a time since they cost a fortune! (Don't continue if you don't like to look at really gross things!)

This was heart breaking (to John) when we discovered this moldy English Muffin. Mind you, we have only found English Muffins at one grocery store here. So when we go there and find that they have them in stock (more frequently than not they don't) John is thrilled! He opened this package and ate one for breakfast every morning.  Unfortunately, on day four the remaining muffins looked like this. 

We used to buy things in bulk. We don't anymore!  This is the smallest container of sour cream that we could find and it looked like this BEFORE the expiration date! We are guessing that when product is shipped into Dubai it is not temperature controlled like it is in the States. Because of this, it just doesn't live as long! :(

Okay, so now that many of you are totally grossed out, remember to hug your refrigerator tonight before you go to sleep and be grateful for the long lasting food you can buy!

With that said, I will have to admit that the non-processed food that is available here is remarkable!  The selection of fruits and vegetables is unbelievable and the smell of freshly baked bread fills the air of all the grocery stores. 

Is a large refrigerator needed here in Dubai?  Nah -- it would only be home to more food that has gone bad!  I'll stick with my smallest refrigerator known to man, thank you very much!

Have a great weekend everyone!  I know we will -- we're going to see Duke (yes, the basketball team is in town!) play the UAE tonight!  Happy TGI-TH!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Remember this:

Well, I started the C25K program on June is a nine week program that gets you off the couch and then successfully running a 5K by the time you complete it!  The program guides you through running/walking exercises three times a week with gradual increases in the running segments.

Let's just say I haven't quite kept up the pace the program had intended!  (Friday will be Week 4 Day 3 and I started almost two months ago.  Don't judge me!!)  But I have kept at a turtle's pace mind you. (But remember who wins the race!)

I still felt like I was doing okay -- the program started out with 1 minute runs that were sooooo hard at the beginning.  Then I progressed to 3 minute runs that nearly killed me.  Currently I am trying my best to conquer 5 minute runs without passing out and falling off the treadmill (which I did today -- hip, hip hurray).  No -- I didn't fall off the treadmill -- I made it through the 5 minute runs!!

Okay you joggers out there....quite laughing.  I know that 5 minute runs are pathetic to you -- but you've got to remember that there are those of us that just aren't built to run!!*!!

The ultimate reality check was when a friend of mine (Sharon, you know who you are!!!!), who started a week after me, told me that she was making it through the 20 minute runs already!  WHAT?  But that can't be true -- I started before her! 

Oh well, I'm still happy with my small (pitiful) success this morning!  Here's hoping I will be able to complete Week 4 Day 3 on Friday.  If not, I can keep repeating it until I've mastered that 5 minute run! 

I may be pokey.....but I AM DETERMINED!!  Come on and join me with C25K -- I'm sure it won't take you long to pass me up.  I dare you to!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Going to the Atlantis on the crescent of The Palm, Jumeirah is always a wonderful experience.  And it's always on our "must see" list for visitors.

Friday night we enjoyed another side of the Atlantis that we had never seen before -- we shared an Iftar feast at the Asateer Tent at The Atlantis. 

A huge (and I mean huge!) tent was erected a couple of years ago to hold the special Arabian Iftar Buffet.  The tent is humongous and holds around 795 guests.  I'll not bore you with details, as the pictures show it a lot better than I can describe it!  In one word: MAGNIFICENT!!

The atmosphere inside that tent was so exciting!  We got there before "The Call To Prayer", so no one was eating yet.  However, that didn't stop all the visitors, that had been fasting all day, from filling their plates so that they would be ready the minute they could eat!

I wish I could have taken a picture of a group of young (adorable) Emirati men who walked by me with plates piled high with dates!  They break the fast here with dates -- and man were these guys ready to break their fast!  They were hungry! 

At another table was a group of about ten young Emirati women all dressed in their abayas.  They sat around a table with their plates filled waiting patiently for "The Call To Prayer".  And what were they doing?  Each one of them had their cell phones "a la bling" out texting!  Oh, it would have made an awesome photo!

We had a great time walking around and were amazed by everything inside the tent!  Not only was the food presentation amazing, but the seating areas and the booths and the light fixtures were too!

Once "The Call To Prayer" was heard, everyone dug into the feast that was provided!  And, oh my, oh my, was it ever delicious!  You name it, they had it!  Not to mention all the stuff we couldn't name!

After tea and coffee was served, it was time to leave.  We were told that the food would disappear quickly and the local Emirati men would come in and spend the night playing cards and backgammon and new to Asateer this games. Then, before sunrise, the suhoor meal would be served and then the fast for another day would begin.

Asateer at The Atlantis, The Palm was the perfect venue for an Iftar Buffet!  Shared with good friends, the night couldn't be beat!  It should definately be on your "Must Do" list!