Sunday, February 10, 2008

At the Beach, Abu Dhabi

(Above: my oldest and youngest sons at the beach, Abu Dhabi.)
Friday morning begins our weekend. While sitting in church, unable to understand the priest's accent, my mind drifted. I proceeded to concoct an entirely me-centered afternoon: after Mass I'd workout at the gym and then, I thought, I'd spend the rest of the day at the Arabian Horse Show.

I'd been to the horse show the previous night with a friend and really enjoyed it. (The Arabian Horse Show reminded me of the famous Westminster Dog Show, except the horses didn't look prissy and overly-preened, they were magnificent.) We saw the yearlings and the 13-and-over horses judged on their physical beauty and their gaits. All the yearlings, by the way, were bred in the UAE. Held outdoors at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, the horse show was free and attended by people of all ages, including a lot of locals. Because Abu Dhabi is so safe, it was a carefree atmosphere, wonderful.

So. At the end of a hectic Friday morning, after rushing to get the younger four kids to catechism classes and then all of us to Mass, we returned to our villa. It looked like a bomb hit it from the mad dash we'd made out the door. The disarray didn't bother me, though, since I was going out...

"Are we ever going to go to the beach?" my oldest son said, entering my bedroom as I made my bed. (Thought a little tidying up was the least I could do before making my escape.)

"It's a little cool," I said, trying to hold on to my plans. I turned and looked outside; it was cool, in the mid 60s, but beautiful, very sunny.

No sooner did he leave than my youngest wandered along as I eyed the mountain of laundry in the laundry room.

"I'm bored. There's nothing to do," he said. "Why can't we go to the beach?"

I don't know if he'd overheard his oldest brother, but regardless, the two of them gently asking such a small favor weakened my resolve. Off we went to the beach.

We had a lovely afternoon: it was a special time, I thought, to have my oldest and youngest children together, alone but for me, enjoying something as simple as the sun and sand of the Arabian Gulf.

I actually was cold that day as I've adjusted to the very hot weather here; I wore a long-sleeved t-shirt, a light ski jacket and jeans, but the sun warmed me to the core.

We went to a public beach off Khaleej Al Arabi and Al Saada Streets. A sign there says "No Hanging Around or Using Jet Skis," or words to that affect, but it seems that as long as people are quiet they are allowed to stay. There were small groups of people, some in bathing suits and some fully clothed, sun bathing or picnicing near us.

Posted by Picasa


island UD said...

F - enjoyed your blog this AM. My wife and I have been considering a move to Dubai or AD the middle of this year... we shall see. I work in civil engineering (and construction - American background) - there certainly seem sto be a lot of that going on there.

I've been in and out of Dubai a bit in recent years - spent some time in Kabul and traveled through and stayed some days in Dubai coming and going.

Currently in Honolulu - curious some of the parallels - cosmopolitan, high living cost, atrocious traffic (although probably not as bad as Dubai).

I have the impression AD is a little less grown-beyond-itself - but don't really know, having only been in Dubai. Seems houidng developemnt is / has not been keeping up with the needs in AD...

best wishes David N.

Frances Gunnison said...

I prefer AD to Dubai. I think AD is prettier, slightly less westernized, and the traffic is not nearly as bad. Still, AD is growing at break-neck speed and with it come growing pains: a housing crunch, not enough schools (at least for ex-pats, it seems to be the case) and ever-rising prices, to name a few. I'd think engineers are in great demand, considering the incredible plans they have for AD.
Good wishes and good luck,