Thursday, September 29, 2011


Right smack dab in the middle of Ramadan our pools were scheduled to be closed for over TWO WEEKS.  We, the people at the pool, were over-the-top annoyed at this prospect.  Luckily, we have a guy that earned the title "Mayor" that took a stand.  He reasoned with the developer representatives and explained that Ramadan was simply not a good time to close the pools.


Then, after the end of Ramadan, the signs went up again informing everyone about how all the pools would be closed for maintenance.

Sixteen days with no pool time?   "Mayor" did not like this one bit (nor did any of us) and proceeded to talk to those in charge.  But, alas, the work needed to be completed.

So on Sunday, September 4, our beloved swimming pools were officially closed.  "Mayor", thank goodness, made an appearance at the pool site throughout the day and noticed that nothing was being done.  He started asking questions.  Ah, the work was to start the next day, he found out.  So the pool was opened immediately.

The next day "Mayor" went poolside.  Again, he didn't find any guys working directly on the pools.  Yet they were closed.  So he began asking questions again and was told that the laborers were, indeed, hard at work under the main pool.  So they remained closed.

Later that day, a guy representing the Owners Board went down below to see what exactly was being done.  And, low and behold, what did he find?  He found the workers taking a siesta!  No kidding, each and every one of them was fast asleep!  Needless to say, he went directly to the developer and aired his complaint!


Hurray, the pools were once again opened!   At this point I was getting quite confused as to when they were open and when they were actually closed.  "Mayor", God love him, started posting updates for all of us on Facebook!  Thank you, "Mayor"!!!

To make a long two week story shorter, and when all was said and done, the developer representatives listened to the residents. They kept the pools open until the work was ready to be done.  Then they closed one of the pools, drained it, and performed the scheduled maintenance.  Then they filled it and we could swim in it!  Then they went to the next pool.......etc. etc. etc.

So that is how the pool saga ended.  About a week later a new sign went up saying that the pools would be closed for two days for cleaning.  WHAT?  AGAIN?  Before I could even say a word, "Mayor" had it all worked out.  Again, they would close one pool at a time!  


This, sadly enough, was what the lap pool looked like yesterday.

(Yes, it is officially CLOSED!)

(Yes, he is taking a break and taking a call on his cell!)

(Yes, they are hard at work!)

(Yes, they are discussing, "What shall we do next"?)

(Yes, it is E.M.P.T.Y.)

And this, I'm happy to report, is what the lap pool looks like today:  it is sparkling clean with bright, crystal clear, warm, water.  Ahhhhh, it is perfect!  And yes, "Mayor" is quite happy (as we all are)!

(Yes, this is "Mayor" Cook!  And is he a happy camper!)

All in all, it wasn't so bad!  Thanks to "Mayor" and a couple other pool friends, management and the workers were kept on task!  But the main reason it all ended well was because our complaints and suggestions were aired.....


Happy TGI-TH!  You know where you can find me!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


I can sum up driving in Dubai in three words (okay, so maybe five):  SPEED, WEAVE, and DO A U-EY (U-Turn)!!!

No kidding, that's my mantra every time I get behind the wheel.  (Which I only get to do every now and then -- when John goes out of town and leaves the car for me.)  Actually, I blame what happens to me on the road on this simple matter.  I drive, then I don't for a month to a month and a half.  That, in and of itself, does not help (at all)!

Take, for instance, today.  I jumped into the car to head literally across the street (Sheikh Zayed Road-SZR) from the Marina to Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT) to the Park and Shop that recently opened there.  When John and I went to that grocery store for the first time, we drove south toward Jebel Ali through lots of construction.  I learned from Anna at the pool that I could go the other way and enter JLT from the north end.  She guaranteed me that it was so much easier to get there this way.

So I jumped in the car for my short excursion across the street to the Park and Shop.  This resembles the conversation I had between me, myself and I, on the way there: 

"Okay, so I need to remember to put the coordinates in the Garmin when I arrive at the store so I won't forget how to get there the next time.  Let's see, Anna said to go on the road from the north end of the Marina and I will see a JLT sign -- here I go....hmmmm, would I head to Jebel Ali or go north on SZR?  It makes sense to go north, I guess.  Oh there - I see the JLT sign so I do go north.  I better SPEED up......OH NOOOOOOO, I should have gone south.  Good Lord mister, will you stop WEAVING!  Okay, so maybe I'll just go to LuLu supermarket.  OH NOOOOO, why did I get off here -- now I'm going to be in Media City.  Oh well, I like the Choithram store on Al Wasl anyway.  So how do I get to Al Wasl from here?  Maybe if I do a U-EY up here.  Oh geeze, now I'm on Umm Sequim Rd. --- how did that happen?  I guess I'll just get back on SZR heading south and see if I can find the entrance to JLT.  Well, I just passed the dang Marina and didn't see any signs....maybe I'll just go to Waitrose at the Marina Mall.  No, here's a sign that says JLT, so I guess I may just end up at Park N Shop as planned!  I need to remember (if I ever find the darn store) to set the coordinates in the Garmin.  OMGosh, this construction is impossible!  Now where do I go?  Oh, oh, good, a JLT sign!  I just need to SPEED, WEAVE and do another U-EY!"

I uttered a huge sigh of relief when finally, and at long last, I saw this sign....

I went in, purchased my groceries, and headed home.  And guess what?  I forgot to set the dang coordinates in the Garmin!
And that, my friends, is what driving in Dubai is like (for me at least)!  So, if you ever get in the car with me at the wheel, be sure to.....


Tuesday, September 27, 2011


There is nothing quite like biting into a fresh, crisp, juicy orange.  I LOVE oranges.  Lucky for everyone living here in Dubai, our grocery stores are stocked full of oranges from everywhere around the world.

I need to post a picture sometime of the fruit and vegetable aisles at our grocery stores.  They are absolutely amazing.  And I learned pretty quickly to try produce from anywhere but the USA.  Not because it's better (but a lot of the times it is) but because the product shipped from the States is Expensive (that capitol E is for emphasis).  I guess shipping it halfway around the world costs a bunch!

So anyway, I've gotten used to trying fruits from here and from there.  The only problem is that I never remember where here and there are, so it's like trying something new every time!  Last week I bought some bright, crisp, delicious looking oranges from Egypt (I think) or was that Italy?  I brought them home and had one for breakfast last weekend.

The skin was a little thick, but the inside was AMAZING!  I love squeezing the juice out and drinking it.  Then I like to turn the rind inside out and eat the rest of the orange.  And that is exactly what I did.  OMGosh, a second later my lips and the skin around my lips were ON FIRE! 

And I'm thinking to myself, "Was it pesticides causing this burning?"  Yikes, it burned and burned and burned.  I nearly put my face into the freezer to quelch the inferno, but I was afraid my lips would get stuck on the drawers! (As if I wasn't hurting enough as it was!) John was asleep (poor guy wasn't feeling good) or I would have been all, "Hey, if I die today just remember -- I ate the oranges!"

I talked to friends here later who told me I should have washed them.  Hmmmmm.  Do you wash your oranges?  I mean, I wash apples and pears and grapes and every other piece of fruit that I eat.  But I don't eat the entire orange, so I never even thought to wash it!

So this morning I took the remaining oranges out of the refrigerator.  I looked them over and thought and thought.  Should I go ahead and try again?  Or should I just throw them out?

The oranges won -- I simply couldn't throw out delicious tasting fruit!  So I washed (literally scrubbed) each of the oranges -- not just with water either!  I soaped those suckers and rinsed them for a very.long.time.  And then, slowly I tried to eat one again.

AND.IT.BURNED.LIKE.A.SON.OF.A.GUN!*!  OMGosh, I sure wish I could remember where they came from -- Egypt, I think, but maybe not!  OH NOOOOOOOO!!

I bet you can guess what's NOT in my refrigerator right now -- yeah, O.R.A.N.G.E.S.!! 

Monday, September 26, 2011


Aprons & Hammers?  What, exactly, is Aprons & Hammers, pray tell?  Well, if you like seafood and a real live drink with it(I'm talking alcohol people!), have I got the place for you!  If you're in Dubai, that is!

A new restaurant just opened in the Marina and it's aboard a Dhow that is permanently docked there.  It's name?  Why, Aprons & Hammers, of course!  (If you don't quite get the name, believe me, you will understand it completely after you order a bucket of crab legs!)

We parked the car, walked out on the dock, turned around and took this picture of the Marina.

Then we turned back around and took a couple shots of the restaurant.

So do you understand the Aprons & Hammers name yet?  I thought so!

We hurried to the top deck so that we could capture this beautiful sunset.

And then went inside to our table of ten to talk and eat and drink and have some fun!  No pictures of the talking and eating and drinking and having some fun......the battery in my camera died.  Dang! 

But let's just say it was a delightful seafood dinner in a relaxed, casual atmosphere .... and I might add that I enjoyed my Miller Light down to the very last drop! 

Sunday, September 25, 2011


As you know, John and I have spent the last couple of weeks working on getting PADI certified in Scuba Diving.  It all came down to last Friday -- our final two Open Water Dives and we would, finally and at last, be CERTIFIED.

Let's just say that SOMEONE (I won't name names) woke up last week with a cold.  That SOMEONE went to a pharmacist and got an antibiotic "just in case" it was more than a simple cold.  After the three day Z-Pack was finished and that SOMEONE still did not feel well, that SOMEONE took my advice and went in to see a real live doctor. 

Well, that real live doctor told him, er, that SOMEONE, he needed to see a real live ENT specialist and made an appointment for him at the Jebel Ali Hospital.  A hospital in Jebel Ali?  I went with that SOMEONE to the hospital -- if you want to call it that!  It looked more like a clinic than a hospital and I will have to admit that several times I thought to myself, "I wonder if we should have asked around for an ENT specialist recommendation....." 

But it all ended well with that SOMEONE getting his ear irrigated and put on more meds and ear drops, etc. etc. etc.  We were in and out in about an hour -- unheard of in all my experiences with hospitals!  So, thank you Jebel Ali Hospital.  You may not be pretty, but you are mighty efficient!

So, our Open Water dives are rescheduled for Saturday, October 1st.  That SOMEONE still doesn't feel or sound great yet, but I am hoping that in 168 hours he will be ready to dive into the Arabian Sea!  Keep your fingers crossed, PLEASE!*!

Nope, that SPECIAL SOMEONE will never, ever, EVER live this down! 

Thursday, September 22, 2011


We now have a name for the AWA women (and a few other really fun ladies) that live in the Dubai Marina!  We call ourselves the AWAM Gals which stands for American Women Association Marina Gals.

We've started meeting weekly for coffees and are getting to know each other very well!  The numbers at the coffees are growing since the AWA is now in full swing.  And it seems like every day someone new is moving in and, unfortunately, someone is moving out.  The friends moving away is the difficult part of living as an Expat.  But it goes with the territory!

This afternoon, there were twelve of us that expressed an interest in doing yoga together!  I am sooooo excited!  One of the AWAM gals has a yoga instructor she has been working with.  She is going to see if he would be willing to take us on!  OMGosh I SIMPLY CAN'T WAIT!

Anyway, here are some AWAM Gals pictures from the last three weeks of our CASUAL COFFEE THURSDAYS!

We even have a logo and our own Facebook page!  Yes, we  AWAM.GALS.ROCK!!*!!

Another great week has come and gone and it's time, once again, to say:  HAPPY TGI-TH everyone!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


What do you get when you mix all of these things together?

1. A beautiful Palm Jumeirah villa

2. Lots and lots of delicious goodies

3. Awesome new leaders (not all of our leaders -- but some!)

4. A room full of really fun ladies

When you mix them all up, what do you get? 

You get Dubai's first annual
AWA Meet & Greet
 that's what!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


When you hear "Deep Sea Adventure" what do you think of?
Some fun way-out-on-the-water cruising in a fast hold-tightly-onto-the-sides kind of a boat adventure?  Me too.  And that's why I bought a Groupon for a "Deep Sea Adventure".

John and I were excited!  We had been on Captain Jack's Dhow ride through the Marina and out on the open water  several times -- we LOVED it, but would hardly call it a deep sea adventure.  It's a bit too calm for that!  We've been on a Musandam cruise as well -- we saw absolutely beautiful scenery, however, it was on a Dhow and it too was quite calm.  It was high time for an adventure out on the deep sea!

The Groupon read, "Head out to Sea for a 4-hour guided fishing & cruising trip including crew, instruction, and fishing equipment."  And it was called a "Deep Sea Adventure". 
A couple of weekends ago (before jumping head first into all the PADI learning and diving) I called to book our adventure.  It was a clear day with blue skies and we were both looking forward to being on the water.  They told me that the 4:00-8:00 cruise was available.   "Cruising during sunset and after dark would be an adventure," we thought!

We waited until 4:00 finally arrived.  We went down to the Marina area where boats are docked and where the Captain Jack Dhow cruise comes in and out. We walked around and didn't see any signs for "Deep Sea Adventures".  Luckily I had a phone number for the company and called them to find out where we should go.  We were told to meet in front of Spinneys.

We stood in front of the store for what seemed to be forever before John called again.  Ah ha, the guy was standing five feet away and didn't speak much English -- and he ended up being our "Captain" -- oh, and our "crew too"!  Off to the boat we went....

(No, no -- it's the one on the right!!)

We think our "Captain" said our "ship" was 33 feet long, however, let's just say it was dwarfed by the surrounding boats!  Nevertheless, we were excited to get out on the water!

Not only did we expect a big fishing boat, we also expected people and a crew!  Well, all we got was ourselves and our almost non-English speaking Captain!  Oh, and here he is and there he remained most of the trip -- on his cell phone!

Once we were heading out I asked our "Captain", "Are we going to catch a lot of fish?"  And his reply -- "HaHaHa" and he shook his head NO!  John and I were still pretty positive, thinking to ourselves that with the right bait and the right spot we'd have no problem bringing in dinner.

When we hit open water we were forced to sit down and hold on.  The waves were huge and the "ship" that we were on was crashing through them.  The entire ride out I kept thinking, "Oh my gosh, I'm gonna need a chiropractor for the first time in my life!"

After about an hour of salt water splashing all over us and our fingers cramping from holding on so tightly and cringing as we anticipated the next wave causing us to fall out of our seats......our "Captain" stopped the "ship" and started getting out the fishing "equipment".  While we rolled from side to side John and I both looked around for a spot where we could fish and be secure.  We had visualized seats that were meant to be fished from, but there wasn't one of those on this boat!

Finally our "Captain" handed us the smallest fishing poles I have ever seen!  There were three hooks on each pole with the tiniest little schrimp (bait) on each one.  John and I laughed as we dropped our lines -- so much for the "fishing instructions" as we used our "fishing equipment"!!  We knew how to use these babies!

From the moment we hit open water and all through the fishing extravaganza, it was impossible for me to take a single picture!  We were rocking violently and the salt water was spraying constantly on us, so I chose to put my camera in the
safety of the berth beneath us.  I literally tied it to the bedpost!

We rocked in one spot for well over an hour.  We didn't get a nibble.  Our three shrimp-that-were-bait weren't touched.  Okay, so this was a deep sea adventure, eh?  Our "Captain" got a call on his cell phone.  When he hung up he told us (we think this is what he told us) that the people in the other boat that was out hadn't had a bite either.  He said it!  Oh, and they were all seasick. Poor, poor people!

Finally we decided that this exciting (NOT) fishing excursion could end -- at least the fishing part!  Our "Captain" agreed to turn back and cruise along the JBR beach and through the marina.

We braced ourselves as he started the boat and turned us around to head back.  Oddly enough, it was a relatively calm ride!   So I unwrapped my camera bag from the bedpost and sat back down (in wet shorts) on the seats with puddles of sea water on them! 

These pictures tell the rest of this story!

(The Shoreline Apartments along the trunk of Palm Jumeirah.)

(Beautiful sunset over the water!)
(Moonlight over the JBR beach!)
(Lots of people still on the beach!)
(Activity in the marina!)

(Back to the dock!)

(Back on the ground at the Marina Walk Fountain!)

It was far from what we expected.  However, it certainly ended on a high note!  The slow cruise along the beach and through the marina was awesome! 

If you ever book a Deep Sea Adventure where fishing is involved, John and I have one bit of advice.  BEFORE you head out, ask the Captain, "Are the fish biting?"