Monthly Archives: January 2015
Like in Phoenix, rain is a big deal here — except even more so because it rains less here than Phoenix. Of course the way people react to it is a little different. Basically, a few drops of water brings out the crazy. Rain means you can spinout in roundabouts, hoot and holler while hydroplaning on the flooded roads, skip school to go mudding in the desert, scare your teacher when she walks into the room and sees 4 girls have broken the window hinge just so they can hang out the window. You know that sort of thing.
I can’t say I blame them though (although I wish the crazy driving would stay in the desert and not on the roads I need to drive on to get home). It’s nice to have rain and dreary skies — especially when you know in a few months it will be hell hot again, with humidity. It’s also chilly (for us), so I’ve been wearing my winter pjs and snuggling under a blanket while watching t.v. It’s nice to be cold and then warmed up. I wish I had my Joe and Badger to snuggle up with, but that’ll all happen again soon enough. This will one day be a memory, so may as well enjoy it while I’m living it.
That said work is exhausting me. I have one heck of a schedule this trimester. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are my worst days — one day I have 6 classes almost consecutively and the other I have 7. The good news is on Sundays and Thursdays I have prep the last two classes, so I can leave early, which I totally plan on doing this afternoon. Cannot tell you how excited I am it’s Thursday!
Speaking of which my carpool buddy will be here in a few minutes, so I better get my shoes on and start the day.
Oh, and here’s a link to another Teach UAE blog. This one is a shout out to teachers who are applying to come here in August — so weird that is no longer me!
Have a good day, everyone.
I popped in here to share my great local shopping experience, and then saw the wordpress notification that today is our anniversary. Wow this time last year I was posting my ramblings about this thing I thought I might do, and today I shopped for fish and veggies with the locals of Al Ain. What a difference a year makes! So souq (or is it souk?) shopping is my new fave. Not gonna lie I was a little (okay a lot) intimidated at first, but no need to sweat it. The vendors are there to sell, and we’re all there to buy, so it’s all good. I mean I’ve done the touristy ones, but this was real-world-get-what-you need shopping. There’s an indoor souk near my flat, and they have tons of vegetables and fruits. I didn’t have my camera with me and didn’t think to whip out my phone, but the fruit baskets/trays were HUGE and beautiful. Shannan, my souk-shopping sister, and I just walked around this one and asked questions about fruits/veggies we weren’t sure about, but we were just stopping in this time because we were headed downtown to the official fish/veggie place (you can also buy hunks of mutton, spices, honey and other eating essentials). Next weekend, i’m popping over to the one nearby to see if their prices are as good. I wasn’t expecting the market we went to to be busy, but it was. Luckily, Shannan steered me to a parking deck versus having to drive through where the locals were parking, so we made it there stress free and the car dent free. We were a little shy at first, but then dove in. My first purchase was ONE dirham. ONE DIRHAM (that’s 27 cents in American money). I was like dude, did I hear you wrong? You see when you buy produce at the supermarkets it’s expensive, and the shit doesn’t even look all that good. I spent around 50 dirham ($15.61) today, and I bought a bunch of fresh veggies and fruits and shrimp. Shannan was brave and ordered some red snapper and tilapia — and they cleaned it for her too. I get that maybe I’m just a little too excited over our shopping spree, but I felt kinda Anthony Bourdainish because you know we’re buying from the street, mixing with the flies and folk. And it was fun. Love the lil fish guy Shannan bought her fish from, and the guy who cleaned my shrimp. I’ll come back just to buy from them again. It wasn’t all Middle Eastern, a Canadian lady (another teacher transplant) taught us how to pick and then peel new mangoes, so we’re going to be market pros in no time. Even better we begin our Arabic lessons on Monday, so before long we’ll be bartering and bantering with the best of them —- although the prices are so low I don’t really feel right asking for lower. I finally remembered to whip out my phone and take some pics. I suck taking pics with the phone but here you go. Anyone got a taste for baby shark? my shrimp getting beheaded (thank god) and cleaned looks like I ‘cleaned’ this guy’s head. The one sitting down was my guy. my shrimps (not shrimp) were bought here Yeah I get it looks gross like that, but it’s gonna taste good with my salad and coconut rice (why didn’t I buy saffron from the spice guy?) tonight! So, I’m happy and content. Tomorrow I see my students again. The last time I taught an actual class was November 26, so let’s see how rusty I am. It’s a good thing I’m loading up with fresh vitamins and minerals tonight — I might need it. And if the girls are a little too excited and wear me down, I’ll just keep daydreaming about my berry bush drink at the Rotanna pool, which is just a few roundabouts away from my flat — the weekend is just a few more days away… To my American buds I hope you’ll continue enjoying your weekend, and to my UAE buds best of luck tomorrow. I’ll see you Thursday night or Friday. Inshallah! p.s. I didn’t tell you my fog story on the day I drove Joe to the airport (yes I miss him), but those of you on Facebook got to read it. My friend Suzanne lives in Abu Dhabi and has to deal with the fog. In Al Ain we don’t get much fog, so it’s not something I deal with frequently, but it IS absolutely crazy scary — worthy of any Stephen King novel. Here’s Suzanne’s words about what it’s like driving in it. http://suzannainthesand.com/2015/01/09/under-the-weather/
Right this very second Joe is snoring on the couch while I upload photos and reflect on the passing of another year. This is as it should be. It’s pretty much how we spend New Years day every year.
New Years Eve, however, was quite different from the annual neighborhood cul de sac party (although I did get to call home today and wish my old party buddies well). Lisa, Joe and I joined some friends from Abu Dhabi and did a desert safari/camping trip. My friend Sangita, who is also in Al Ain, also happened to be on the same tour, so it worked out perfectly. Right now I’m tired and suffering bedouin butt — my new ailment thanks to getting up and down from the hard cushions on desert floor. BUT, I am so grateful for the life I have been blessed with. 2014 was a great year, and I sense 2015 holds many more magical moments.
But, you’re not here for that. You want to know what trouble we got into. I’m happy to say none, but we did bash some dunes (basically it’s like riding a roller coaster in the middle of nowhere in, our case, a hummer — freaking awesome), ride some camels, smoke some shisha, watch all kinds of dancers (Arabian men LOVE to dance), do some dancing of our own, eat and drink well, and laugh with friends from around the world. Somewhere around 4 a.m. we crawled into our traditional tent and passed out, only to wake right before the sun and stumble our way to the rustic (that’s a good word for it) bathroom. I wish I would’ve thought to nab my camera because my words can’t do the morning fog caressing the dunes justice. It’s one of those moments meant to be remembered and cherished, but that didn’t stop me from crawling back into my sleeping bag. Mama needed to get some sleep before crawling back into reality.
My only regret is that I couldn’t pull all of my loved ones from home to do this with me. It was the absolute perfect way to end one year and bring in another. But it’s all good — we have all year to play and discover different parts of the world together!
learning some moves from a young pro
time on the dunes!
woke to find puppies.
breakfast and remnants from the night before. When the clock struck 12 it was glitter, silly string and fireworks galore. Hahahaha since safety regulations are not the same as back home, the fireworks where shot off a dune over our heads. This was fantastically awesome until some of those embers landed on dance floor, but it’s all good everyone just ducked and danced around them. Not gonna lie it’s all good until someone loses an eye, but it was pretty amazing to have the flares blossom so close to you.
On our drive home we had to stop while three mama camels and their babies meandered on the long dirt road. Apparently the lil ones got thirsty. Great way to start the new year though.
I hope you’re all having a lovely day as well, and can’t wait to see what we all do in 2015!
Happy New Year, my friends!