Thursday, April 5, 2012

Change of Scenery

11 days prior to the kid's Spring Break, i was a single mama.  Chris traveled to Hong Kong and Beijing during that time.  Oddly enough, it hit me half way into his trip that i was indeed in the Middle East in a country sandwiched between Saudi Arabia and Iran ALL. BY. MYSELF.   It was more of a "Hmmm? Go figure," moment than anything.  i was ok with it.  i didn't freak out, feel nervous or even a tad bit scared.  The first thought running through my head was, "Am i really old enough to be doing this?!"  Apparently i am.  It was fabulous however, when my other half came home and we were a team again.  The cherry on top was that his homecoming started our vacation!  

While other friends from school were traveling to some exotic and now not so distant lands such as Egypt, Petra, and Thailand for the week, we decided to take what we thought would be a mini and manageable getaway for a few nights and enjoy a little change of scenery. (Is that even possible in the desert?)  We were excited to have Daddy back home and were looking forward to some R&R.  We purchased a resort weekend online believing it was an hour past the more conservative Emirate of Abu Dhabi which is known for some of its beautiful islands.

The kids had never been to Abu Dhabi before so there were a few buildings i was looking forward to showing them as we passed through on our way to Jebel Dhanna. 

Circle, Pancake, Frisbee Building?

Unfortunately we did more than just pass through.  The kids got to view some of the buildings from every angle, side and time of day as we spent a good hour lost off course.  There is simply no way to explain how or why roads are marked the way they are... oh wait, they aren't marked at all!  The direction for this resort was and i quote, "Turn on the exit right after the dome hospital."  WHAT?!  After an hour of being lost we discover we have another 3 hours to go, that is IF we can find the correct roads.  There's a little girl in tears in the backseat saying, "Mommy, I really don't want to waste my vacation driving around, I was looking forward to this!" and a daddy in the front about to burst a blood vessel.  i was seriously hoping this "mini & manageable trip" was going to be worth it.

25 rounds of 20 Questions, 1 short lived game of "Eye Spy" (pointless game while driving in the desert!) 2 roadside potty breaks in the sand, 4 calls to the resort, temperatures peaking at 108, 15 desperate wails by the driver and FIVE AND A HALF hours later... WE ARRIVE!  Our arrival was followed by a spontaneous celebratory dance on the balcony.

Thankfully the first things my kids spied from the balcony was monkey bars and a sand soccer field which seemed to compensate for the drive.  Whew!! 

Kyle vs. Waldo

Even having to cover eyes for a sudden burst of sand in the face can't ruin monkey bars. 

The beach was unlike any we have ever been too.  We could walk out forever to find all sorts of critters and crabs to tickle fingers and toes.

But the Golden Ticket was found here...

Throughout the day i would look around for one or both of my Littles only to find them tucked away in some hammock.

Where else can you find complete relaxation and heart racing thrills all in one place?

Look what happens when you make a quick dash to the pool for some more sunscreen, somebody swipes your spot.

Since we ventured quite a ways from Dubai we found ourselves in a bit more conservative area.  At one point i SO desperately wanted to take pictures of some women i spotted at the beach in their full abayas and niqab.  Although i have seen women numerous times at the beach in this attire, i was in the middle of pulling out my camera because these 3 women walking together draped in black were such a stark contrast against the turquoise water and white sand and the lighting was beautiful!  It had National Geographic written all over it!  But my conscience halted me and spoke to me about how they may feel intruded upon and how it wouldn't be very considerate of me to just start snapping their picture without their permission.  As i am stuffing my camera back into its case, i look up to catch one more glimpse of them.  i suddenly realize one of the ladies is holding up her Blackberry in front of her face for what seems to be an instantaneous photo shoot pointed right at me!!  (And trust me, this white girl isn't going to make it into National Geographic anytime soon.)

That evening at dinner when Riley had to use the toilet (it's what they call it here and i don't like it but if i call it anything else they hardly know what i am asking for) i took these pictures and didn't even care who saw me.



A noteworthy moment happened during our stay.  Upon checking in the receptionist asked where we were coming from and for the first time in 3 months we answered "Dubai" instead of California.  Even more significant was the fact that for the first time when the children referred to "going home" they also meant Dubai.

i am pleased to say we made it home in about 4 hours and although it wasn't super exotic and yet still very far away, much relaxation and fun was had by all.

1 comment:

Betty said...

How did I miss this post earlier? It sounds like the frustrating trip was well worth it!