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Happy New Year!

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As is always the case, all good things must come to an end (although most would argue 2016 needed to hurry up and end).  I’m sipping mint tea made from fresh mint leaves and wiping off sausage roll crumbs from my bosom while on my very long layover in Amsterdam.  My original plan when I booked this flight was to stroll around the city, eat a meal at a cafe and find my way back to the airport.  But, I’m beat.  The idea of bundling up and finding my way around another city was just too much for me, so instead I’ve tooled around the airport, which is actually a lovely place to lose oneself in, bought some cheese, chatted with friends, and now I’m taking the time to write all about my last day of 2016, which topped 2016’s birthday — another fun filled, firework-laden night!

Reykjavik is an awesome place to say goodbye and hello!  Icelanders stock up on fireworks and go all out.  Just like in Copenhagen the fireworks show is put on by the inhabitants not the government, and believe you me these viking decedents love their fire.  Holy hell it was amazing.  Joe noticed that the police helped folks with the larger boomers, keeping people at a relatively safe place away from take off — although I got plenty of ash in my eye.  We have no idea where we’ll be this time next year, but it’s going to be hard to top this new year’s.

First off at around 8:30 p.m. bonfires are lit all over the country.  We went to the big one on Ægisíða, near where we were staying (about a 30 minute walk).  The bonfire goes back to pagan days, and it’s either a way to burn off last year’s stuff or light the way for elves and the new, or just a chance to burn up shit while the kids play with sparklers.  Either way it worked for us!  Families and tourists all gather around and bond with the coming and passing of another year.  Reminded me (a little, our fires weren’t this massive) of the cul de sac bonfires we used to have near my place every New Year’s Eve.

Best part is the fire wasn’t the only thing putting on a show.  Right behind us the Northern Lights danced away, letting us know the skies too were whooping up the death and birth of time.  I cannot believe we spent a week in remote areas looking for the northern lights and boom they show up in a city while fireworks and bonfires pollute the sky with light and smoke.  That’s Iceland for you — sure read the guide books (and by all means do pay attention to the warnings!  they’re legit!), but Iceland is gonna do what she wants to do when and where she wants to do it.  She is not a land who plays by tourist rules.

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The lights arched over our fire, way out to sea.  They flared and twirled, but since I’m the laziest photographer in the world I did not have my tripod and DSLR on me (hey that shit is heavy).  So, while I’m pleased to have captured the green, you don’t see the bits of purple and the seductive dance they weaved.  The video on my camera just couldn’t capture it.  But, I worked up a sweat keeping my arm high and still while clicking stills away.

Obviously Joe and I had a blast.  It was magical, and we didn’t want to pull ourselves away, but eventually the lights dissipated and we found our way back to our part of town to prep up for the great big fireworks display (although they had been going off all day).

So we may have hit a pub or two… and an ice skating rink.

Another big tradition amongst natives is to gather around a t.v. and watch an annual comedy show that is loaded with comedic skits.  The entire city calms down to almost a standstill while close friends and family members feast, laugh and watch the big show.

Looks like the only people on the streets during show are tourists, folks coming back out after the show is over.  As for those fireworks they were still blasting away midnight last night, and are probably still booming away today.

Joe and I ate dinner at our apartment and watched some of the show.  We were happy to be able to figure some of it out (thanks to some English thrown in and good ole fashioned fart jokes — apparently everyone understands those!).  And then we were out in the thick of it kissing 2016 good bye.

New Years Day we headed over to Keflavik where we walked around the harbor and into a giant’s cave.

But mostly New Years Day was bittersweet for us because within a few hours we’d both be off to our corners of the world, but OUR countdown begins today.  Seven more months, and we’re back to being together full time — lol for better or worse.

Some daytime Reykjavik pics for you

And, my flight is getting ready to board.  Yay me I land early tomorrow and go straight to work from the airport.  I’m so not looking forward to how exhausted and crappy looking I’ll be.  But, come on 2017.  Let’s see what you’ve got in store for us!

Happy New Year!

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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!

10460278_10205907632595716_2775116421070758038_n 10881550_10205907632075703_4697517337608056512_nparty girls. Photos taken from Lisa’s Facebook page.

10888391_10205907634715769_5402199802774390083_nSuzanne I have your shisha directions flagged now.  I’m on a mission to buy mine.

DSC06375 DSC06373 DSC06371our tent!

DSC06278 DSC06273pre party — things are just getting started at ‘camp.’

DSC06236 10676118_10153042211910802_439314616684581654_n Camels!  Sangita has the best mount and dismount photos, but they’re not posted.  Um, we’re so not sexy in those…

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DSC06356 DSC06355 Dance!  That Sheik comes from Scotland and is visiting his son here…Crazy set of parents!  Hope to dance and camp with them again one day.

DSC06352 DSC06339 DSC06333 DSC06316 Pakistani and U.S. girls having a blast. They would later dance with a Syrian girl.  Children raised here live such a magical life.  Let’s hope they bring some of that into their adult lives.

DSC06313 DSC06306 hahahaha there’s that Scottish Sheik finding the nipple in my wine purse. 2014-12-31 12.28.11my wine purse…

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learning some moves from a young pro

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time on the dunes!

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woke to find puppies.

DSC06369 DSC06370breakfast 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.

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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!

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