Archives for November 2009
It’s pretty much a mall.
Last weekend Molly, Frances, and I headed out to the Arabian Souk. (Souk is Arabic for market.) There are several types of souks around town… so you never quite know what you’re in store for. We were pretty excited to visit this one. Not only is it wedged between the two bridges with an awesome view of the Grand Mosque… it also offers boat rides!
Unfortunately… because we insist on being active on Friday afternoons (the Sabbath, basically)… most of the shops were closed. Considering that this souk turned out to be essentially a really fancy mall… it didn’t really matter.
We decided to dine on some sushi and enjoy the atmosphere of the golden hour.
Things started to click today when I watched my lowest student consume graphite sticks intended for a mechanical pencil.
It is November, right?
This morning, after a good hour and a half spent at the bank, we headed down to the public beach.
The gulf water has cooled down considerably since I first arrived in September. Back then it felt like bath water. Now, it’s quite pleasant… but that top little ring of water around your legs feels chilly, to me at least! How strange to be in your swimsoup at the beach… in November!
Especially since I’m seeing that it snowed already in Eastern Washington!
It really does feel like time stopped. Summer time, all the time.
I think we needed this.
Last Thursday Molly and I headed out of the bustling city to visit our good friend Frances in the desert. Frances was one of the lucky 13 to be placed in Al Gharbia, aka “The Empty Quarter.” Needless to say, her lifestyle is quite different than ours and we wanted to get a peek.
What should have been an hour and a half drive out took us roughly 3 and a half. We got in the car at 5pm, ended up on the wrong road (for quite a while), and finally landed in Madinat Zayed around 8:30pm. They don’t exactly light the highways at night, we learned.
Our first mission beyond hugging Frances was to check out her apartment. She’s done an incredible job of making it a home. It felt really nice to be in someone’s living space and not in yet another hotel. Not to mention, she had dinner ready.
The next day we explored the town. It didn’t take long.
We visited a huge well kept public garden. I tried my best to not think about the water usage it requires. If you think I have strong feelings on neighborhood lawns in the PNW, you don’t want to get me started on this vast spanse of grass in the desert! While we visited the garden was mostly empty, but I could envision a happy little community gathering taking place.
Later in the day we packed up some food for dinner and drove out to Tal Moreeb, the tallest sand dune in the UAE. Lucky for us the signage for the dune was excellent, not. There were a few wrong turns involved and a stop at the police station, but we made it. Then I wanted to barf watching the crazy drivers driving down the dune. Tummy flop!
We stopped off on the side of the road and explored the dunes a bit on our own just as the sun was setting. Incredible.
Being in the desert is unlike any experience. If you ever want to feel insignificant, this is the place. Not only do you see miles and miles of sand before you, above you are millions of stars.
We cooked our dinner over the fire (packets of veggies), and Molly and Frances made s’mores (see, I need vegan marshmallows!). We enjoyed the desert night for a few hours and managed to completely cover our bodies with sand before driving back to Frannie’s.
The rest of the weekend was spent relaxing and making plans to return in a few weeks.