Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Picnics on the Corniche, Abu Dhabi

As soon as the weather cools and my sunglasses stop fogging when I leave the villa, I will spend a day prepping and cooking for a family picnic at one of these sites along the Corniche. We live a few miles from the center of Abu Dhabi, but the scent of the sea and the proximity to beautiful open space like this makes it worth the extra driving.
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Shopping and Lunch Out

...But until it gets cooler, and until all those interesting, cultural lectures and activities begin, I'll have to settle for a little shopping at the Abu Dhabi Mall and lunch at Prego's at the Beach Rotana Resort complex.
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Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Water is Warm

There is no cold water in Abu Dhabi, not at this time of year.
Our "cold water" tank sits on the roof of our three-story villa, so the cold water is actually very warm. In summer, we turn off the water heater and use the "cold water" tank for our hot water.
The "hot water" tank is elsewhere, out of the sun. It becomes our cold water.

You have to be careful doing laundry in Abu Dhabi in summer. Things have a tendency to shrink; clothes can lose their color. I use the "cold/cold" water setting on the washing machine, and still the water is very warm. I fill the machine and let the water sit as long as I can, so it can cool, before adding the clothes.

We've made friends with a family that is new to Abu Dhabi. We invited them over to swim in our compound's pool. What fun we had - our six children and their four children got along great. We all laughed because the pool water was so hot you had to get out to cool off. It was about 110 degrees that day.
The Arabian Gulf, too, is as warm as bath water at this time of year.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Al Salam Street, Abu Dhabi

It is warm in Abu Dhabi, but the heat doesn't seem to bother any of us as much as it did last summer.
Still, we spend most of our time indoors. Rounds of R.I.S.K., Monopoly, and "Hide and Seek" are played over and over lately by the children.
Villa by villa our neighbors are beginning to return from a summer spent elsewhere. M and I are enjoying weekend evenings dining and talking with them again.

In many ways I have it quite easy in Abu Dhabi. Once a week our large villa is thoroughly cleaned for a very reasonable price. (The people who clean it are a lovely husband and wife from Sri Lanka. They charge me 30 dirhams per hour, which is equal to about $8 per hour; although I pay them about double that, it is still a great deal less than the going rate in the U.S.) We also have our cars washed every morning for the fee of $27 per car per month.

I got very sad news recently from the hardworking man who washes our car. His wife, only 25 years old, died very suddenly back in India of Typhoid Fever. He has a five-year-old son who now lives with his grandmother.

"I bet she was very beautiful," I said to him.

"She was," he said. "Soon I will show you a picture of my son."

"I am so sorry I don't know what to say," I said.

"Just say a prayer," he said quietly.

The photo above, by M, is Al Salam Street, a road I frequently take to get to the "heart" of the city. In the center of the picture is a very large portrait of the late H.H. Sheikh Zayed Al Nahyan, founding ruler of Abu Dhabi (on the right, with sunglasses), and H.H. Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the U.A.E. and ruler of Abu Dhabi.

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