Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would be moving to a foreign country to live, let alone a country in the Middle East. Over the 2009 Christmas and New Year’s holidays, my husband Roger and I discussed what we wanted the next part of our life to be like. He thought that before retiring, he would like to do one more airport project but only if he could find something very interesting. I half-jokingly agreed that would be fine but could he try for an exotic location? As usual, Roger came through and soon we were headed to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. This blog is a recap of our "leap-of- faith" wanderings around the Middle East and beyond. We joyfully share these expat experiences.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Travel to Jordan . . . JORDAN JOURNEY – BETHANY-BEYOND-THE-JORDAN – The Baptismal Site

One of the best things about traveling with your own tour guide is changing the itinerary if you find something interesting along the way. After the first day of our 8-day odyessy through Jordan, we realize that we are close by a very sacred site and change our itinerary to include a visit to Bethany-Beyond-The-Jordan (BYB). This is the site much revered by Christians and Jews. How we missed putting this on our itinerary from the beginning is a mystery. It proves to be the most inspirational place we visit.

“This took place in Bethany beyond Jordan, where John was baptized.” (John 1:28)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Travel to Jordan . . . JORDAN JOURNEY - Romantic dining . . spiritual wanderings . . desert romance!

I wonder, wonder who. . .
Who wrote the book of love?

Since the beginning of time, romantic journeys have been a beloved subject of novels, the movie screen and stage. Romance comes in so many packages: long passionate nights, wanderings together in foreign places, languid dinners with fine wine, deeply personal conversations, and an ineffable oneness shared with your lover! Romance gives our souls permisson to soar deepening our passion for living life fully.

Add to this, exotic and spiritual places, and you have a most memorable and romantic encounter. Our 8-day Jordan experience proves to be spectacular, where in unexpected places, romance reigns.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


The Liwa Oasis
An undated image of a camel train leaving and oasis.
Liwa is part of a crescent shaped oasis made up of 15 small towns that form the gateway to the dramatic expanse of the “Empty Quarter” also known as the Al Rub Al Khali Desert – the largest uninterrupted sand desert in the world - larger than the combined areas of France, Belgium and the Netherlands. Artifacts found in this area, on the western edge of the United Arab Emirate (UAE), date back to the Stone Age, around 5500 – 3500 years B.C. While details are sketchy, it is believed that the first inhabitants of this area were Bedouins of the Manasir tribe followed by the Bani Yas tribe who arrived around the 16th century.  The ruling family of Abu Dhabi is the al Nahyan family who are members of the Bani Yas Tribe.

With its freshwater pools and palm groves, the oasis of Liwa was a major destination for the early travelers who crossed the desert in camel trains to bring their goods to trade. The first European to enter Liwa was the late Sir Wilfred Thesiger who documented his 1940’s travels on the Arabian Peninsula in his book Arabian Sands.”

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Thriller of a Tale - Friendly Fleecing at the Dubai Fish Souq

Al Ras section of Dubai
Since I am on hold awaiting deliveries for ALL the furniture and curtains I have bought, I decide it is time to take a break from “have-to” duties, be brave and do some exploring on my own. 

So today, since Roger has previously expressed NO interest in taking me to the Gold Souq, I decide this is a good place to start. A girl can never have toooo much gold!  

Getting really bold, I add the nearby Fish and Vegetable Souq to the excursion. This entire journey will take me to the area of Al Ras in the old part of Dubai.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


If you recall from the blog “Settling in a Foreign Country,” Roger and I had embarked on a desperate mission to find “Lucky’s” and “Pinky’s” furniture outlets in Sharja, the Emirate (state) just north of Dubai. After a three hour search Roger finally called it quits and offered me a blank check to purchase furniture if I could find the place. Ever up for a challenge, it took only one phone call to my friend Anne O’Connell to locate Debbie Nicol who knew the way to Lucky's! Needless to say I took copious notes on how to get there.

Lucky’s is three enormous warehouses of imported hardwood furniture, antiques and decorator items. I understand now why it was so impossible for Roger and I to find the place - it is tucked away in a far corner of Industrial Area 11. As a shopper, you must have an immense imagination since the warehouses are comprised of small narrow aisles between rows of very dusty furniture stacked 2-stories high. Parvez Mohammad is a jewel to work with and happy to accommodate any request just like Flo in the Progressive Insurance commercials.  “Can you paint it red? YES!”  Can you add shelves? YES!”  “Can I have new doors? YES!”  This is a cash enterprise and, even though we are in the UAE where bargaining is an art form, at Lucky’s no bargaining is necessary as Mohammed has already deeply-discounted his goods. 
Give yourself plenty of time to roam the aisles because there is an overwhelming assortment of furniture and decorator items to peruse. You choose the furniture you want which is then put in a container.  Once the container is full of customers' orders, the furniture is fumigated!  This is a good thing since we don’t want any little Arab bugs running around our apartment!    Within a week we received the call that our order was ready, delivery was arranged and a merry band of Lucky’s workers showed up at our door. “Do I get free delivery? YES!” 

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


We have been in Dubai for 2 weeks and 4 days and life is a total adventure. Every step right now is a challenge and a learning experience . . . new food, new stores, new products, new language - forget learning Arabic we need to learn "Indian/Pakistani  English” because all of the service people are either Indian or Pakistani and each speak their own dialect of English.

Roger is enjoying his new assignment. The commute to Abu Dhabi is tough but I send him off each morning with coffee and a snack and he keeps returning to me every night! I will let him tell you all about the project(s) he is working on – massive, exciting – Abu Dhabi will certainly have a one-of-a-kind airport.

The apartment Roger found for us is perfect. I had requested a water view and he gave me two! We have a view of the Dubai Marina from our balcony and a view of the Arabian Gulf from two bedrooms. Our first purchase is a patio table and 2 chairs so we can have a glass of wine on the patio at the end of the day. Oops! Forgot you must obtain a liquor license in order to purchase alcohol in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). For the time being we make do with iced tea.

The apartment has a very nice kitchen that I know I will enjoy. When I arrived, my darling Roger presented me with an Arabian cookbook. He is so thoughtful – he knows I will enjoy experimenting with the new cuisine. Dubai was once the center of the pearl industry, and as he is the most wonderful husband ever, he also gave me a beautiful pearl necklace and earrings to wear while I cook. What a guy!

Monday, March 8, 2010


Our “Arabian Adventure” begins . . . never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would be moving to a foreign country to live, let alone a country in the Middle East. Over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays Roger and I discussed what lifestyle we wanted for the next part of our life. He thought that before retiring, he would like to do one more project but only if he could find something very interesting. I half-jokingly agreed that would be fine but could he try for some exotic location. As usual, my handsome Prince came through and soon we were headed to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The hardest part for both of us was leaving our family. One father, 2 sisters, 4 brothers, 7 in-laws, tons of nieces, nephews and favorite cousins, 6 children and 7 absolutely precious and perfect grandchildren!! While there was trepidation on the part of some of these loving relatives, the greater majority cheered us on and wished us well . . . some may even work up the courage and bankroll to visit!