Wednesday, March 7, 2012

So Little Time!

     Well, it's been almost a week since my last post, and I have to tell you, I have not a clue where the time went! I feel like I am constantly going, going, going, because there is so much to do here, but the reality is that most of the time out of the hotel is spent at a mall or Lulu or both. That's not exactly fair. I have been doing other things as well, it's just when there isn't something fun and exciting to do, shopping (mostly window shopping) is better than being shut in the hotel. So, here are some of the fun things I've done since I've been here!
     My first Monday here, (the 27th) Ben, Maureen and I went to the Grand Mosque. They aren't kidding! This place was beautiful, enormous and completely over done. I love it! It is so large, that you can see it quite far in the distance and you can't help but pass it often as it is pretty centrally located. The mosque is incredible from all angles, inside and out and immaculately clean. It is particularly awesome at night. The marble and carpet feels cool and soft on your bare feet and it almost made me want to just leave my shoes off when I left.

Courtyard of the mosque
     The first trip was interesting because we weren't clear on all of the rules. You must be wearing a sheila if you want to take a photo with the mosque in the background or and abaya and a sheila if you wish to enter the mosque. They have a place where they will loan out both to anyone who doesn't have one. We did not know all the rules at first, which is why we have some pictures sans sheila. Once we were informed we got on board with the rules. I will definitely visit again, with or without any visitors from home, and won't make those mistakes                                    again!
    On Tuesday, a bunch of us decided it was time for a home cooked meal and for everyone to get together. I found someone in the group who was willing to volunteer their larger room, complete with an oven and made chicken cutlets and a simple pasta dish for roughly 15 people. It was a lot of fun to just sit around eating and drinking with everyone. If you're wondering about the drinking part...there are really nice liquor stores that are pretty easy to find, with prices comparable to the US.
     Finding the liquor store was another adventure from earlier in the week. We got basic directions, but still weren't really clear about it, so we wound up taking a cab beyond where we actually needed to go. We then got out and wandered aimlessly about, until we happened upon a store that had tinted windows and the letters A&E all over it. The place is called African and Eastern, so we were pretty sure we had found it! We had, and the wine made for a pleasant accompaniment for the pasta and chicken!
View from bus
Emirates Palace
     On Wednesday, a few of us decided to take the big bus tour. You know, just like the double deckers in NYC. It turned out that we didn't really want to get off at many stops, but it was at least a nice drive around the city with some beautiful views. We did wind up getting off at the Marina Mall (of course) and that was pretty nice for a mall! It has a skating rink and indoor roller coaster. We went to neither, but we did go to the Estee Lauder counter and have our makeup done. When I get my first paycheck, I intend to go back and purchase whatever it is she put on my face, because I looked like I was 23 again by the time she was finished with me, and it didn't even look like I was wearing any makeup! I also learned that I am somewhat of a natural at henna. Jennifer bravely volunteered her foot, and it came out pretty good!

Heritage Village
     Since the bus ticket was good for 24 hours, Jennifer, Maureen and I decided to use the bus the next day to take us to Heritage Village. This is a little area set up to look like the UAE pre-westernization.  It had model dessert homes (sticks and fabric, or stone), little shops (perfect for little souvenirs) and of course, a camel. It is right on the water so I was able to dip my toes into the clear blue water for the first time. It is really beautiful along the coast!
"Warming up at H.V."
Goods at H.V.
                                                 On Friday, Jennifer, Maureen and I went to the beach for a couple of hours. It was great! For $9 we laid on a nice quiet portion of the beach and got lounge chairs. I think it was well worth it to be away from the blaring music on the free portion of the beach. I know, I'm such an old woman, but I like to RELAX on the beach and if I'm going to listen to music it'll be my own. After the beach, we headed to Al Wahda mall, where a few of the teachers from the western region came back to visit with a bunch of us still here in Abu Dhabi City. It was interesting to hear what it's been like for them, but also a bit unnerving. I still don't know where I'm going to be permanently, and I really hope it's not out west. We shall see.
Behind H.V.
Love the crossing sign!
I get to swim in this!
     Later that night, I went to ShoCho again with Keisha and Leah to meet up with Leah's friend from Taiwan, who happens to be South African. It was a lot of fun and I got to have that yummy rock shrimp that I had had at brunch last Friday. We went dancing for a while, but I left around 2 so I could Skype with the folks. All in all, it was a very busy day!

     So, as you can see, I have been keeping quite occupied over here. I haven't even had time to catch up on my shows. I've only watched two episodes of Walking Dead since I've been here and now I am having serious American television withdrawal! It's for the better, lord knows I was watching way too much t.v. waiting around for that plane ticket. That brings me up to date for my first week and a half here and I will try and get completely up to date this weekend, so I can start writing posts in more real time. It's pretty tough trying to remember everything, which is why I'm glad I have this blog in place as a way to help me remember! Soon, I will post all about my week of observation in an awesome KG school, so be on the lookout! =)

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