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.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

UAE National Day Celebration

Countries around the world relish celebrating their founding days and in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) they take their National Day seriously. 

His Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Nayhan
Celebrated on December 2, National Day commemorates the day in 1971 that His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan banded together the seven emirates of the Trucial States to form a new country - United Arab Emirates. National Day is an exuberant celebration of the greatness of this young country’s heritage.

One thing Emiratis love is their cars. Just stand on any street corner and watch the show. Glitzy, glamorous, bejeweled and audacious are words that describe the cars you can see. For National Day, all restraints are unleashed in the fervorous activity to decorate one’s car for the big celebration and show one’s love for their country . . . and proudly parading them all over town.  

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

My First Omani Wedding . . . A Distinctive Arab Experience

The Bride’s Love Seat
The female security guard discretely slips me through a side door and gestures for me to sit at the table in the corner. The Arabic music is pulsating and the room is reverberating with the nervous energy of 400 women. Suddenly, the lights dim and everyone turns to watch. A bride, dressed in a Western-style long white wedding gown with matching trailing veil has a death grip on her bouquet of roses as she takes very slow measured steps down the center aisle towards the “Bride’s Love Seat.” Her unsmiling face is devoid of emotion.

Following the bride are several bejeweled “bridesmaids” moving en mass like a swarm of bees following their queen. Rising above the pounding music, warbling female tongues emit the zaghareet, the high-pitched ululation made by Arab women to congratulate the bride. The level of noise is deafening but I am not going to miss a moment of this.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Making the Most of Your Expat Experience

Moving is recognized as one of the most stressful activities known to man.

Add to that moving to a foreign country, and the anxiety scale goes wild. One needs a lot of coping skills to survive and enjoy expat living.

I am delighted to pass to you a great article, Making the Most of Your Expat Experience, written by my good friend and fellow expat Holly Warah, a 12-year resident of Dubai, UAE.

Holly writes a blog, Arabic Zeal, that is packed with very useful information of interest to expat.  Whether you are newly moved or considering the opportunity, Holly provides you with some great insight.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Hot Rod Memories . . . The Hottest Seat in Abu Dhabi

The dilemma of finding a meaningful gift for the one you love is perplexing. Early in our relationship I figured out that Roger really didn't need or want any “things.” So what am I going to do for him on his special days?

Got It! Experiences .  .  . exciting – new - unique life experiences.

The "Silver Surfer" races on the Yas Forlua 1 track.

I can say that after 10 years it is getting very tough to find new experiences. Roger, the builder of airports, has flown in a glider, a World War ll Texan T-6 warbird, a helicopter and a bi-plane. Roger, the car enthusiast has raced a 600 HP NASCAR race car at the Daytona International Speedway, raced his treasured silver Corvette on the Yas Formula 1 track and successfully mastered racing a Segway around Downtown Dubai.  This list could go on but I bet you get the point.

So, what do I give Roger for our tenth wedding anniversary?  

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Prince of Sea . . . . A Royal Seafaring Day in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE

We are headed out to sea on the Prince of Sea sailing yacht when the deck hand Tamer motions for me to come to him.  He's holding a woven rope basket  that he's been vigorously rigging since we left the dock. I look around thinking he means someone else, but no, he really wants me. I hand my camera to Roger and walk gingerly towards him.

The contraption is indeed a basket to sit in. I notice it is attached to the boom of the sailboat but what that implies doesn't exactly register. He motions for me to sit. I glance over at Roger and see his look of trepidation. 

Katie in the rope swing.

The minute I am in the basket Tamer lets go of the rope and I swing out over the water on the ship’s starboard side. The swiftness of the movement startles me. As the basket tilts at a dangerous angle, it takes a minute to comprehend that if I don’t hold on really tight I will plunge headlong into the briny deep. Is this a modern version of walking the plank?

I careen alongside the starboard hull of the speeding yacht inches from the water; I feel like one of the dolphins I have seen racing next to excursion boats.  I am just about comfortable with this, when Tamer hoists me higher and I quickly fly over the boat to the port side only to be sharply brought back again getting a great seagull view of the surroundings.

Wait a minute – this is great! 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Ramadan Iftar Dinner . . . A generous gesture of mutual respect

The Camp
The stark compound is bathed in the fading sunlight.  The cream colored containers blend with the sand into a monochromatic landscape. It is very still on the island with only the movement a mild gulf breeze breaking the searing heat of the day.  

I see a few men dressed in shalwar kameezs (baggie trousers and long tunics) and lungis (sarong like skirts) waiting around the gate entrance with wary anticipation as we position our cars full of food and gifts just up the hill from the camp. My welcoming wave receives no like response.  I admit that this makes me apprehensive. What if we don’t have enough for everyone? What if we've brought the wrong food?  What if they don’t come for our gifts?

Volunteer Farooque Rao assists the men to
 line up to receive their Iftar dinner and gifts. 

It is the last Friday of Ramadan and the Al Reem Ramadan Charity Project is delivering its first Iftar dinner and gift package to the 250 men living in a labor camp on Al Reem Island in Abu Dhabi, UAE.  Just three short weeks before, through emails and flyers, I began gathering generous souls to help. My goal was to fund one Iftar dinner (the celebratory evening meal during Ramadan) and give the men a gift bag of 5-6 essential personal items and food. (The team so over achieved this goal!)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

How does a non-Muslim living in a Muslim country survive and thrive during Ramadan? . . . Thoughts from Abu Dhabi.

The Holy Month of Ramadan is upon us. For a non-Muslim living in a Muslim country like the United Arab Emirates, this means making some lifestyle adjustments.  To make this easier, the first thing a non-Muslim must do is understand the practices and rituals of Ramadan. The second thing is to find a way to thrive during Ramadan.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

MALALA YOUSAFZAI is ONLY one of many children seeking education.

Note: I feel compelled to repost this blog in support of Malala's speech on July 12, 2013, before the UN advocating for education for all children. On her 16th birthday, having survived an attack by the Taliban, this young girl inspired an entire world with her worlds of compassion, courage and determination.  If you feel compelled to help a disadvantaged orphan child in the UAE receive an education please read the post below and contact me. 

The media is full of reports of the young Pakistani girl Malala Yousafzai who was shot by the Taliban for speaking out for the education of women. This inhumane act has sent reverberations around the world rightfully denouncing the Taliban, supporting Malala and everyone's right to education.

Malala is not alone in her quest for education. There are many more Malala’s in the Middle East and Asia who must struggle each day to obtain their education.

I was fortunate to meet such a young woman through the Al Ihsan Charity Association. While this young woman is lucky to live in the United Arab Emirates where education of women is encouraged, nevertheless she had to overcome many obstavles to obtain her education. 

Here is her story . . .    

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

On the Streets of Abu Dhabi . . . . Ethiopian food at its best!

What do new friends do? We do lunch! Oh, but not just any ordinary lunch, we need something exotic and enticing. 

My new Abu Dhabi friend, American expat Valerie Enger, and I are on the prowl.  The choices are endless in this international city of Abu Dhabi – Indian, Thai, Chinese, Lebanese, Egyptian - you name a country and I venture Abu Dhabi has a restaurant operated by someone from there.

We settle on Ethiopian cuisine as Valerie has never tried it and I love it and I am eager to find a good one in my new city.  

Saturday, May 25, 2013

On the Streets of Abu Dhabi . . . . Comfort Food

A twirling action catches my eye as I round the corner. Across the street a man sits in the window of a tiny store. The store sign says Ariyana Bakery but why is the man sitting in the store window? 

I am on a stroll though one of the many “squares” created by the grid system of Abu Dhabi’s streets.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Best of the Boomers #311

This week's Best of the Boomers posts are prepared by Karen Austin of the Generation Above Me. Topics include new research on female Viagra drugs; how to learn more about your family history; thoughts of the Dalai Lama; what me worry about retirement funds; how many developmental task do you face in the second half of life?   Enjoy

The Best of Boomer Blogs #308

The Best of the Boomers are examining an eclectic mix of topics this week. Do you know what Snapchat is? Your grandchildren probably do. What is the right frame of mind if you are over 50 and looking for a job? What motivates us to write? Cross views of Boomers and 20-somethings. Take a cool arm chair tour of Dubai's art scene and iconic architecture. What about this emotion shame? The dangers of dehydration. Is your 401K on auto pilot? Enjoy 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Culinary Voyage Through the Streets of Old Dubai with Frying Pan Adventures

Frying Pan Adventures foodie explorers 
Varshik, Donna,Kate, Bob & Arva
Many times on my explorations of old Dubai I pass by multitudes of hole-in-the-wall restaurants lining the streets.  Each cafeteria, as these small street-restaurants are called, advertise their offerings with grainy pictures of peculiar looking plates of food and strange – or maybe exotic - aromas settling over the sidewalk.

I always wonder if some really delicious foodie finds are lurking inside. I must confess that I have been tempted but never found the required courage to drop in for a bite.

But that all changed when I met Arva Ahmed. I ran into Arva online through her blog I Live in A Frying Pan. I was instantly taken by her fresh wit, funny take on life and sheer joy of exploring. I was certainly intrigued by the hidden food gems she featured. When I read she was developing ethnic food walking tours in Dubai, I jumped at the chance to try one.  I was not disappointed.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Best of the Boomer Blogs #307

Boomers are looking for answers to pressing questions. Why do men love their guns? What is the greatest loss for American expats? Is Debbie Reynolds really unsinkable? What is a helicopter mom? What are the four new symptoms of a stroke? What do you risk if you buy annuities? How can you help others through crowd funding?  Read on.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Surviving Our Move from Dubai to Abu Dhabi . . . First Impressions

Abu Dhabi Corniche skyline
photo courtesy of 
When Roger and I announce our intention to move from Dubai to Abu Dhabi many of our friends expressed grave concerns.

“It’s so much slower than Dubai.”

“Do they have any really good restaurants?”

“It is much more traditional than Dubai, it may be hard to make friends.”

“Oh, so sorry to hear you have to move there. Everyone says it isn't as much fun as Dubai.”

Oh dear  . . . . listen up my Dubai friends, this joint is jumping – literally!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

What are your fears? How do you handle them? This week’s Best of the Boomer Blogs brings you advice on handling many things we fear.  

SoBabyBoomer says, "In order to rediscover our natural confidence and live a fearless life, we must examine the challenge: we must 'recognize fear.'"

What about the fear of romance and sex in our later years? Karen D. Austin thinks too many people believe that romance, love, and sex are extinguished by midlife. She offers an overview of films that explore how people 50 plus still have relationships that include such goodies--and how mature lovers still have to manage the accompanying complexities.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

What is one of the great losses of expat living in Dubai? American Football!

First touchdown of the inaugural Desert Bowl Game
is scored by the Abu Dhabi Wildcats.
“Who let the dogs out!” Or, should that be camels?

Guess what my lovely husband Roger finds in Dubai? American football! What a great surprise for poor football-starved Roger.

One of the great losses of expat life in Dubai is watching a good American football game. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Best of the Boomer Blogs

It must be getting close to the Ides of March, the day Caesar was assassinated, because this time around the entries for Best of Boomer Blogs seem to be slouching toward more serious subjects. Laura Lee, the Midlife Crisis Queen, was pleased to see a difficult topic confronted on "60 Minutes" Sunday:  Suicide – a topic that inspired her to write her new book Find Your Reason to Be Here: The Search for Meaning in Midlife. 

Our consumer journalist Rita R. Robinson writes about Six ways to be a better shopper.  Katie Foster at Arabian Tales has a great book for female boomers who have attained that "seasoned age." Mental Pause is a journey through a truly treacherous menopausal experience, written by global nomad and freelance author Anne O'Connell, it is a "must read" for every woman experiencing or about to experience this dreaded rite of passage.

 Meanwhile, Lisa Garon Froman of Tao Flashes writes about  A Woman's Way to Navigating the Midlife Journey with Integrity, Harmony and Grace. Finally, Sara Cornell of Life After Married takes a look at what to do when you know something you wish you didn't know . . . do you share it with someone or just try to forget it?

And this week’s host, Tom at Sightings Over Sixty, says if it's getting toward the Ides of March, then spring is around the corner. There will be no more snow, I guarantee it! There you have it! READ ON!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Mental Pause . . . . A Tempestuous Journey through Menopause

Do you think your menopausal searing hot flashes, tumultuous mood swings and nasty irritable behavior are bad? Nothing compares to the hell that Abbie experiences as she wades through a truly treacherous menopausal journey.

Global nomad, expat and freelance writer Anne O’ Connell has written a “must read” novel for every woman experiencing or about to experience this dreaded “rite of passage.”  

Mental Pause launches today, March 8th, International Women’s Day. All proceeds from today’s sales will benefit her favorite charity Room to Read that supports literacy programs in developing countries by building libraries, publishing local language children’s books and providing scholarships for girls.

You can purchase your copy at Amazon . . . or Anne is offering a signed PDF copy on her website.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Grocery Shopping in Dubai . . . A Never-ending Scavenger Hunt

Oh Dubai! How I love the adventure of living with you! 

The thrill of navigating your roads, the adrenalin-pumping gauntlet of your bureaucratic mazes, the tongue-twisting test of translating your many English dialects  . . . and the adventure of foraging for groceries! 

Life is a never-ending adventure here!

When one relocates to a new locale, it doesn't have to be as exotic as Dubai just any ordinary city will do, it is always a challenge to locate the right outlets to purchase the food stuffs with which you love to cook. In my case, we are talking American food products.

Be you a lowly beginner, a seasoned chef or an intrepid food explorer we all face the same dilemma. Where do you find the ingredients for that most perfect dish that makes your family sing your praises?

Read on, you will be very surprised to learn what is the hardest product to find in Dubai!

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - One of the most talked about attractions in the world!

Official image of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
It seems quite a lot of people agree with me that the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi is one of the most wonderful places on this earth!

Just this week the UAE newspapers reported that users of TripAdvisor ranked it as number 16 on the list of the top most talked about attractions in the world. It joins the ranks of such iconic global sites as Sydney Harbor, the Coliseum in Rome, the Eiffel Tower in Paris and Central Park in New York City. 

What makes it so special?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Best of the Boomer Blogs

This week’s Best of Boomer Blogs offers information on travel from a snowbird's trip to Florida to an iconic mosque in the Middle East. And how beneficial is optimism at your age? Read about the Science of Optimism and Resilience. There is talk that the boomer bulls and bears are both suffering their own special water torture but if you are 92 years old looking forward not back may just be the ticket! And sometimes the good guys do win. Recent legal settlements ruled in favored the "little people" in an environmental disaster and in a security fraud case.  Have a great day!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Battle of the Chefs - Who is Dubai's Top Chef?

"Battle of the Chefs"
Nineteen at The Address Montgomerie
Ok. So I admit it! I am a rabid foodie – a person having an overly zealous interest in food.

I love Food! I love to read about it, I love to shop for it, I love to experiment with it, I love to cook it and I really love to eat it!

I love nothing better than to slosh around my kitchen trying out new dishes, new techniques and/or new ingredients. And God bless Roger for willingly eating the good, the bad and the ugly.

So when my friend Theresa Dommett invites us to Dubai’s “Battle of the Chefs. faster than Emerile Lagasse can say “BAM, I accept!”  

“Roger, we have another adventure!” I proudly announce. “We are going to watch the top chefs in Dubai battle it out in the kitchen and then we get to taste and judge their unique creations just like the Iron Chef on TV.”  Words cannot express his delight!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Happy Bloggingtine Day

Not withstanding that coming celebrations include the Chinese New Year,  Mardi Gras and Valentine's Day, the Best of the Boomer Blogs is busy this week. We hope whatever you celebrate is fun but when the partying is over relax and read this week's offerings: battle for the top chef in Dubai; boomers are the first engineered consumer generation; midlife and humidity - Tao Flashes; do couples argue more about a messy house than money; are boomers a generation squeezed by our country's economic trouble. Thanks to Sightings Over 60 for hosting this week blog.  Please let us hear what you think about all this!  

Monday, January 28, 2013

Best of Boomer Blogs #293

As Baby Boomers we believe we can do anything and be anyone we want. And we aren't afraid to, in fact sometimes relish, working hard to get the job done.

But now, as more and more of us are looking at retiring – at a rate of 10,000 per day – we are wondering how we are going to manage this next part of our life. We embrace this new path understanding that we may be aging but we will not get “old.” Because we are time rich, we are looking for adventure, change, possibly romance and will do everything we can to prevent our health from deteriorating.

This week The Best of the Boomer Blogs tackles some interesting subjects on how to better handle our new path.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Best of the Boomer Blogs

Did you miss us?  The Blogging Boomers’ Blog Carnival took a little mid-winter break, but we’re BACK, and with the new name: The Best of Boomer Blogs! We will still be bringing you most timely and interesting posts from a few GREAT blogs!

This week we offer: Find out why the global market outlook is far less rosy than the emperors-minus-their-clothes would have you believe. What do Baby Boomer guys talk about when women are not around? Why is the Center for Science in the Public Interest critical of the approach Coca-Cola is taking in its new obesity ads?  “Arm-chair travel to the 2012 best adventures in and around Dubai. Handle your paper-overload - a great New Year’s resolution.  What is the unique REVOLUTION baby boomers are experiencing right now? 

 Let’s get started:  The Best of Boomer Blogs 2013!!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

2012 Top Adventures In and Around Dubai

Living in Dubai is a never ending adventure and Roger and I are keeping our promise to each other to spend as much time as we can exploring unique experiences in this region of the world. It takes a lot of hard work to keep this promise but someone has to do it!

2012 was an eclectic mix of adventures and here are our 2012 Top Adventures In and Around Dubai.  Even after 2.5  years we are still on the "hunt" for great cultural experiences. With the abundance of things to see and do in this area of the world, we do not lack for opportunities. We are happy to share our top adventures with you and hope you might enjoy them too.