This morning, we had planned a guided walking tour of the gold and spice souks, but could never make contact with the local company to confirm, so we hopped on the Metro inside Mall of the Emirates and just enjoyed the walk ourselves. It’s in the old part of Dubai, so a bit of history would have been helpful, but….
Few crowds maybe because it’s a weekday and it had been raining, not sure. But there were plenty of vendors in your face plying their wares. Roping you with cashmere scarves they are pushing (gently remove it and say ‘no thanks’) and an amazing number of young men stepping in front with photos on their phones of ‘purses, watches, sunglasses’ just step back here. yeah, forget about it.
I really don’t like that aggressive approach at all, but Jessica and I smile and say, ‘very pretty, no thank you.’ It really stresses Dallas though. His Aspergers kicks in high in these types of situations, so i tend to limit his exposure – it makes him cranky.
Lots of pretty things, but i have no need for gold or spices and i’m not educated enough to haggle for any of it, so i buy nothing.
Jessica has frisbie practice first thing this morning, so it’s off to Palace Beach on the Persian Gulf for this clan. A popular beach for families and campers, though it offers no amenities, including toilets!
Another action packed day starting with praise and worship at a local assembly – Fellowship of the Emirates. Great band, contemporary songs, good message. I don’t agree with the whole ‘easter’ thing, but there is little doubt these people love the Father. One thing these awesome outreach ministries really need to be mindful of is remembering to teach ‘repentence.’ Too many times, ministries leave that critical component out of the Good News. With over 500 people attending this 9am service and more expected at the 11am service, there is quite a movement of diverse cultures and people all worshiping together, bringing together all age groups and backgrounds. I would not be surprised if nearly every country in the world was represented in this one serivce.
Safa Park was our next stop after church and dropping off Jessica’s friend Deseret at her apartment. Although touted as a complete escape from Dubai, it is right down town and surrounded by traffic noise, but it is large and lots of greenery, handcraft vendors, and of course delicious food!
Resting up for our big afternoon and evening adventure with Platinum Heritage Desert Tours. Don’t even hesitate to book the tour of your choice – totally impressed with this outfit! Our driver/tour guide/waiter Ericson is a perfect host and our travel mates from Lisbon were fun! There are several tours from which to choose, we experienced the Evening Desert Safari Dubai. Definitely book in advance, they fill spots quickly.
The evening ends in saying goodbye to our guide and new friends from Lisbon, Portugal.
Up early, but slow start. Jessica is off to work at her kindergarten teaching job at Dubai American Academy literally a five minute walk from her apartment to her classroom! Today, (Thursday and the last day of the week) was parent-teacher conferences, so Dallas and I were treated to a real tour of her classroom, school, and met a few of her teacher friends.
After spending some time wandering around the area, we were back to the apartment for a nap.
Jessica returned in the mid afternoon and she had plans to walk our feet off.
First to Dubai Miracle Garden – the wind was wicked with sand and dust absolutely a challenge for eyes and throats. Some people were wearing face masks. Yes, the garden is touristy, but judging from the number of families, I suspect many were locals looking for a bit of color and escape from the concrete jungle of everyday. The air quality inside the garden was aided by tall trees surrounding the park.
Just before dusk, we drove then to Global Village – This park opens at 5pm, because truly it is best enjoyed after dark to appreciate the lights, sounds, action, and each country providing quality dance exhibitions all included in your ticket. Mostly, this is a chance for countries to sell and promote their wares, but it was fun to peruse the stalls. Bear in mind, we Westerners are not all that used to hawkers and they are in full force. Just politely say no thank you (sometimes multiple times) and move on or jump in for the thrill of snagging a great deal.
Recently, our eldest, (daughter Jessica) visited and toured Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque located in Abu Dhabi and although a long way from our home in north Missouri, it’s not far from her current residency in Dubai, UAE. For about $11 roundtrip, the two hour each way trip by bus is a bargain! Car rental is reasonable as well and requires an international driver’s permit.
Admittedly, when she posted these photos of her dressed in an abaya and shaya, it set me back a nano second. We just don’t expect to see her dressed in such. However, it is required cover for visiting the mosque – i would do it, too. Woman can borrow the long dress (abaya) and headscarf (shaya) from the service center at the mosque. More information about visiting this stunning mosque can be found at Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center
Interesting class she has: 22 students representing Sweden, UAE, US, Canada, France, Jordan, Germany, and somewhere else i can’t remember. All speak English and some speak 3 or more languages! Kids these days…… Totally different than Tegucigalpa where the first several weeks were spent teaching English.
These past two months have been such a blessing with our whole family together at home. Daughter Jessica, returned in June from her two years in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, having taught kindergarten at The American School. She made so many friends, both at the school and the US Embassy. She had purchased a car and explored the countryside as much as possible on long weekends. On longer breaks, she took in Panama, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Ecuador. She was able to come home for visits occasionally. She will miss her classroom assistant, Ms Cuty, very much – she just loved that wonderful lady. As she gave me a hug (the boys and i visited Thanksgiving 2013), she says to me, ‘in the classroom, Miss Jessica is my boss, outside, she is my daughter.’ I will never be able to adequately thank this wonderful lady!.
Now, she has just landed in Dubai, UAE via Delta Airlines for her next two year stint at teaching. This time, she will be teaching kindergarten at Dubai American Academy, a world class private school.
Taking her to Kansas City International Airport yesterday was a difficult task for me. Emotionally, i’m just a basket case. Of course, i’m thrilled she has the courage, tenacity, and hard work ethic to graduate number one in her Central Methodist University class of 2013 with honors at age 21, then to apply for and obtain a foreign teaching job, then do it again, travel all over while she’s in those areas, but at the same time, I want her safe at home. But she’s probably not in any more in danger on her travels than she is on our north Missouri farm.
It was certainly nice not to have to leave home at 2am to make the flight like it was for Tegucigalpa! But it is now 23 hours from our house to her apartment in Dubai.
So, maybe i burst into tears occasionally because of the change? my children are grown and leaving (left) the nest? making lives of their own? Geesh, those should make me happy! What’s wrong here? I am happy – just not ready.
Since it is Friday, we probably won’t hear from her until Sunday or Monday, when she is settled into her apartment and utilities are turned on. What a difference in weather and culture! It’s currently 93 feels like 107F in Dubai – not bad, we’ve been having that in north Missouri, EXCEPT, it’s 1 am in Dubai.