I have some serious catching up to do as I have not been on this blog in months now. In my defense, I was home with quite a bit of you for six weeks so were able to spend time with us and watch Mila grow :). Nonetheless, I would like to back track just a bit before any current updates.
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A good friend of mine, Candace, came to visit us for two weeks right before our going to the states for vacation. We had a great time! It was nice being able to show someone from home how we live and what this place is actually like. Upon her coming she sent me a list of things that she wanted to do, and I think that we scratched a significant amount of things from here list.
- Burj Khalifa (tallest building in the world, stretching 2,723 feet off the ground)
Views from the top
*We went up to the 124th floor; that’s not even the top floor.
On site photos
- Desert Safari
This entails dune bashing, which is riding in a SUV with semi-deflated tires over sand dunes (I’m prone to car sickness so that was a nightmare for me); tour of a camel farm; and a traditional, outside arabic dinner along with a belly dance show.
Start of Our Safari
Our tour guide.
Picture of others while dune bashing.
Candace and I both got henna tattoos. Henna tattoos are very customary here. While you are sure to see elaborate ones during celebratory times, you also see moderate ones from day to day as well.
My traditional dinner. I forgot to take pictures prior to “digging in.”
The belly dancer.
- Arabic Wedding
I wrote of this wedding in an earlier post and both Candace and I were really excited that she would be here during the festivities. She was excited to eat camel’s meat, which is customary at weddings and other huge celebrations, and I was excited to show her Al Quaa’, the place in which I worked my first year here. We went dress and accessory shopping under the notion that we would still be underdressed as this country gives “formal” a more grandiose definition. We were still excited.
Saeeda, the bride, told me that the festivities would start at 6pm, but the actual party would not begin until 11pm 0r 12. The party begins when the bride is presented in this country, and from what I have heard, that is usually after midnight. We did not want to be there from 6pm-1am, especially with the wedding being 1.5 hours away , so we planned to arrive at 9:30pm.
We ended up arriving at 10:30pm and to our surprise, the bride was already out. We’d missed everything. About 10 minutes after we arrived the bride, groom, and several others exited the wedding tent. The “party” time was moved up because the bride and groom had to travel to my city (Al Ain) for their hotel and did not want to have to travel too late.
On a brighter note, Candace was still able to taste camel’s meat as the meat was the centerpiece on every table and I was recognized by Saeeda’s sister who promised to let the her know that we were there. We ended up dancing on the stage for a little while with the sister and other female family members that lingered.
We don’t have pictures from the wedding site as Arabic women are not supposed to be photographed uncovered. I will tell you, however, that Saeeda’s wedding dress was beautiful. I’ve never seen such an extravagant wedding dress.
There were several weddings that took place that night in the village. People’s homes and tents were decorated with lights. Upon driving up to the village all we saw were rainbow of lights.
Candace and I after the wedding when we got back home. I decided to play dress-up that night, hence the hair accessories. I didn’t stand out a bit at the wedding.
We also visited a museum, Jabel Hafet (a mountain range in Al Ain), Dubai Mall, and some other local attractions. All in all, I’d say we all enjoyed ourselves.