Sights on the streets

There are many things to notice while walking on the streets in Abu Dhabi. Here are some I found interesting to share:

1. Cars, Cabs and Cracks. There are Lamborghinis mixed in with silver taxis and Land Rovers. The sidewalks are uneven and have cracks and missing bricks but guide me to cool destinations. I like to roam behind the buildings as well as in front, because there are neat shops and restaurants just out of sight.

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2. There are many cafes, shops, cleaners, banks, stationery shops and small markets on the bottom floors of tall buildings. The mezzanine floor is usually office space and the remaining sky-scraping floors are apartments or flats. It’s a great use of space!

3. (photo below) The windshield wiper of the cars are extended to indicate to the owner that it’s clean and ready to go. Yes, the cars sometimes get washed while they are parked.

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Have you encountered anything cool along your walks?

Aloha,

Denise

Time in a bottle or a suitcase?

Jim Croce sang about “Time in a Bottle” in 1972.

“…But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do
Once you find them
I’ve looked around enough to know
That you’re the one I want to go
Through time with….”

That’s how I feel about my Mark, my kids, family and friends. Therefore, I seize every opportunity to have fun with those I love.

Mark and I have been living out of a suitcase for seven months, today. We moved from our Hawaii apartment at the end of July, staying in a hotel for two weeks, then moved off the island mid-August. We traveled by plane, train, automobile, hot air balloon, truck and more planes to reach today. We’ve staying in a dozen hotels and ate from many buffets and restaurants. We used laundromats, Mom’s washer and sinks to do our laundry.

We visited with high school, college, business and life-long friends. We celebrated Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Winter, New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day, each in different places.

Life is a series of things to do, people to enjoy and places to visit. I choose to embrace it all in the time I have here on Earth. How ’bout you?

Aloha,

Denise

I’m in Heaven

We saw the island of Abu Dhabi from atop the Marina Mall’s Colombiano Cafe.  It’s not the tippy top, but it was still 100.00m high.

Mark and I had lunch and chat. We also had our first PDA (public display of affection): I sat on his lap and took the picture you see below. Then I kissed him. Oh my!

For dinner, we ate outside along the Formula One racetrack at the Viceroy Hotel on Yas Island with our hospital friends. It was lovely and exhilarating! There were two cars racing around the track while we were having our appetizers (at ~200mph).

From sky to speed, our new home is wonderful!

Aloha,

Denise

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Honking, Smiling & Greeting

The taxi drivers use sonar…..they know when a car approaches because they hear a honk. The light turns green, they honk. When you’re getting in and/or out of the taxi, the car behind honks. They need to relax and only honk when they see the sign “Honk if you love your kids!”

A smile is the one thing you can share generously and never run out of. So SMILE. It also makes others smile. It’s contagious yet not a disease! It’s free! You can be the reason someone’s day is turned around. So turn your frown upside down and SMILE!*

Greeting people in the hotel (where we’re still living), on the streets, in the taxis, at the school, stores and souqs is polite and appropriate. A simple “hello,” “marhaba,” or “salaam alekuum” works every time.

OK, put it all together: greet people with a smile, not a honk and you’ll have great, fun days everyday. Try it on!

Aloha,

Denise

*http://longevity.about.com/od/lifelongbeauty/tp/smiling.htm

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Million Dollar Day

I boarded another bus to Dubai. This time with Women in Abu Dhabi (WIAD), a 30-year old group of expat women from all over the globe. I sat with my friend Beth and we chatted the whole way. As we  looked out the window, the magnificent Burj Al Arab Hotel came into view. We crossed the bridge road to the amazing building, completed in 1999, and our jaws dropped.

We entered the hotel and again our jaws dropped. The colors, the grandeur, the dancing waters, the real gold in the arches and columns filled my eyes.

This beautiful building is a project of love and a gem to the people of Dubai. We had a lovely tour, brunch and photo ops. It’s truly a place of a million dreams.

To finish my continuing education of the day, I attended an event featuring Ali Alsaloom, the founder and cultural consultant to this region. He is the answer man behind the “Ask Ali” newspaper columns, book, Facebook page, Twitter and tour icon. He guided us through rich stories of history, religion, culture and etiquette. He is a dynamic speaker and intriguing story teller. Ali shared a million smiles as he imparted lessons of Arab traditions.

I feel even more blessed to be here, in the UAE, and meeting such fabulous, generous and inspiring people.

Go out and have a million dollar day!

Aloha,

Denise

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Royal horses too?

We explored on foot: the Royal Stables and the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Center.

They both have horses. check  They both have a lot of land to ride around on. check.  Neither of them had horses we could see, pet, feed carrots to. There was an International Horse Show going on…that must have included ALL the horses in the city. They must have been invisible too because we saw nary a horse the whole time we walked around both stables!

The grounds are lush with tree-lined streets, green grass and lovely air-conditioned stables.

Well, we’ll look again. Tara may enjoy riding invisible horses, who knows? I vote for the royal ones. Then she can wear a crown!

Aloha,

Denise

A day of conferences

There was no school. Only Parent/Teacher conferences. What a treat!

Tara and I arrived at school in time for our first of five one-on-one, ten-minute conferences with each of her teachers. For all but one, whom I met last week at Fuddruckers, it was the first time to meet them. They are AWESOME! They are so concerned that Tara is adjusting well to the new school, friends and country than her grades. How generous!

The campus is clean, sunny, and, as the conferences, very well-organized.

This is a marvelous school with caring, highly-educated teachers. I’m very happy with Tara: she’s acclimated  very well and chosen great friends.  Her classes, teachers and the next two years of high school adventures promise to be wonderful!

Aloha,

Denise