Mica and I with our sweet friends, Cait and Joel;
our new friend Vaughn is behind the camera and sadly, there is no photo of him.
We had a marvelous time with them!
Dear Dad, Mom, Caro, and Nicole,
Hello from the exotic Dubai!
As you know, our flight went well (side note for our knitting readers: you can't take your needles on Emirates---I know, I know), we landed safely, and are flourishing in this marvelous, sandy place. No camels sighted yet, but I'm so excited to tell you about all that we have seen so far. I think we told you most of what is below, via skype, but here you have the photo's. : )
Joel, Cait, and Vaughn graciously showed us around the Marina, a fun hangout in Dubai. The night was filled with good laughs, great conversations, and a beautiful walk. It was such a wonderful night and I'm so grateful for that time.
One of my favorite sights coming into Dubai was actually the view of Kiev at 4ish am, it was the first time I could see anything past the clouds and it looked so lovely; naturally, all that I did see was areas of dotted city lights and...well, that's about it. : ) I also loved the view flying over Turkey and Iran; the mountains were just beautiful from up top and it prepared us for the sandy terrain of Dubai. You'll notice that I'll continually use "sandy" to describe the surroundings (because aside from the roads and pavements, that's pretty much all there is!) but keep in mind that along with this sand, comes the beach. More on that later. ; )
One day last week, the mother of a lady from church came and prepared/taught us to make a feast of delicious Lebanese food (can you say baklava?!); Ann spent the entire day cooking, instructing, and sharing bits of her life with us. I furiously took step-by-step notes and still need to organize them---such a wealth of first hand knowledge!
Thankfully, she made enough food for us to freeze, so we'll be enjoying the fruits of her loving labor for a while!
After a quick teeth brushing (just for you, Mom!), we made our way to the N's at last! Like weary traveler's coming home after a long journey, plopped our baggage into our "new rooms" and rested; that evening we had our first "Dubai meal" on the beach with the Burj Al Arab on our left, the Persian/Arabian Gulf before us, smells of our delicious shawarma's around, and the sound of the call to prayer in the air. I think it's the calls to prayer and the abaya's that contribute to the Middle Eastern feel of this diverse city, and it truly is diverse! There are very few Emirati's while the rest of the population could be from any country on the map.Global Village that was just amazing. There were both handmade and commercial merchandise in each pavilion and you could buy just about anything for a price, a haggled price at that. Each country seemed well represented and it was so neat to "talk" with some of the people behind the counter; I say, "talk" because most of the workers didn't really speak English very well but it was still interesting to get their story and learn a bit about their lives.
Imagine about five different Yemeni men, dressed in traditional garb, calling and asking for your attention; ("You make me sad when you don't come to my shop!" "A special price for you, my special friend!" "You like this, you like this? For you, a special price, my friend!"). As Col. Brandon said, "The air is full of spices." The Yemen pavilion was probably one of my favorites, next to the African one; both were so authentic and full of different and interesting things. This is a place where I definitely wish that you guys could have come.
Shawarma's, hummus, fresh pita's, seasoned meats, and intense chiles filled our plates and tummies; we're really enjoying the different foods we've had here (Including our burger's at Fuddrucker's! ; )
Choithrams to pick up some things for my special birthday breakfast (Morning Sun's on the menu!). Mica and I love each of you very dearly.
Your loving and adventurous,