Saturday, December 7, 2013

Birthday Weekend

Wow...I'm 37 again?!

Before going out, I stopped by my friend, Sareea's house for a little bit before going out for the night, and she surprised me with a beautiful birthday bouquet and delicious cake & fresh juice! It was my favorite part of the evening! We sat outside in the courtyard, visited, and watched the . My favorite part of Sareea and Sayed's house is the front courtyard, where in the center they have and a little traditional historic landscape feature, and this time of year when it is nice out in the evenings, they have an outdoor sofa & coffee table set up facing it. My other favorite part of their house is the people in it!
The earthenware pots (one in a stand and one in the tree) 
store water and somehow the water actually gets COLD in these!

The leather bladder is filled with milk. Then they swing it vigorously,
 and it makes a sort of buttermilk type drink.

Party Time
Halloween conveniently happened on a Thursday this year…in UAE, this is the end of the work week. Some friends and I joined a group called InterNations and went to the Halloween party. Lori, Dan, and I even wore costumes (or sorts). Lori and Dan were a hippie & golfer couple, and I (wanting my "costume" to be both comfortable and cheap) went as a beach-goer. Jim & Ken didn't dress up, but the flash in the photo sort of makes them look like demonic drunks…oh wait, they WERE!
Glad I volunteered to be DD for the evening!

Time for a Trip to the Desert...
Elise and I decided it was high time to explore our own backyard a bit,
 and a Halloween weekend Groupon was just the ticket!
Tilal Liwa, here we come!

"What do you DO in the desert?" you ask. 

Go on a Jeep "safari"
The is basically a roller coaster ride in an air conditioned (thank goodness!) SUV
…no tracks needed, just an experienced sand dune driver who knows what he's doing!

Stop for a bit to take in the view,
 and do a handstand on the edge of a dune

Try Sand Surfing

We learned that the "conditions" have to be right for it to be fast & fun. If the wind blows one way, the soft powdery sand coats the steep side of the dunes, much like powder snow, making the board move very slowly and tend to dig into the soft sand. If it has been blowing the other direction, it creates hardpack-stye sand on the steep slopes…much more exciting from what we hear.

Empty your shoes…

Lounge by the infinity pool that seemingly empties in to an endless desert.

Get directions from a camel

Rock out in  a Bedouin Tent…
(actually I'm not sure if it was a musical instrument or something used to fan the fire pit?)

Explore your hotel's surroundings such as…

An oasis & tent view…
(including patio tables, a lone resting camel, and a small fleet of quads)

A trail leading down to the oasis & tent…

Sunset over the sand dunes …


Watch the pigeons jockeying for perch for the night
…not too many trees for safe sleeping, 
besides, they seem to prefer mad-made perches.

Eat yummy food with ghoulish Halloween names

 Ride a Camel...

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