Thursday, July 31, 2008

Daniel's in Town!

I have a fraternity brother that has been living and working all over the world. He’s been living in Doha, Qatar for the last few months; which is about an hour flight from Dubai. He works for a UK company called Oxford Business Group that reports on the economies of emerging countries. It seems like one the most interesting jobs ever. He meets with Kings, CEO’s and all sorts of interesting people. He usually stays in a country for about six months and then moves on to another project. I think it’s the perfect thing for Derek to get into because he loves to travel and explore so much. Daniel came into town this weekend and acted as our tour guide. His first night in town we went to dinner and out to a club called Elegante.

Daniel’s company has a team set up in Abu Dhabi and friends that are currently working there. So on Friday we went to Abu Dhabi, which is another emirate in the UAE. It’s about an hour drive; if you take a left from our apartment and drive straight you’ll hit Abu Dhabi, it’s that easy! In Abu Dhabi we went to an Island Party from 2pm-10pm and then went to a club in the Embassy Palace called Embassy (so original!). We spent the night in a hotel and did tourist stuff on Saturday. We also explored the Abu Dhabi mall.

After leaving the mall, we headed back to Dubai. We ate dinner at the Hard Rock Café and then went and saw Batman. This was by far the most fun weekend we’ve had since we’ve been here. It helps to see a friendly face and have someone else our age to interact with besides Derek!! (don’t worry he totally feels the same way about me). I'll do more blogs later with more details about each event.

Daniel- Thanks again for such a great weekend! I really did learn so much about the region (more than I ever could in a book!). Hope to see you again soon!

Desert Safari

Our trip to the dessert began around 4 in the afternoon. The tour company came and picked us up from our apartment. The car was a four door Toyota SUV. We stopped and picked up three other people on the way- so we had a car full.  The women with us were from Egypt and had a 7 month old baby with them. I was surprised by how well the baby was behaved- she didn’t cry once the whole time. She was about the age of lil’ Aubrey but was so much smaller. We picked them up from this area that looks like a destroyed city. Really it was a complex of about 50 high-rise buildings, all under construction. I asked the driver if they were office buildings. He said that every single building was apartment space. That sure is a lot of people. There were a few buildings that were half done and this is where they stayed.

We drove on a highway for about 30 minutes literally into the middle of nowhere. On the way we stopped at a gas station and the driver filled up the car. This is the first time we had been at a gas station (a “petro” station). I’m sure everyone is wondering what the price of gas is here. About $1.25/gallon!!  I’m pretty sure it’s been about 15 years since I’ve seen gas that cheap!! Before we hit the sand we stopped at strip of stores to use the “toilet” and let the air out of the tires. Apparently this makes the tires wider and helps them to not get stuck in the sand.

The next section of the tour was basically a roller coaster ride in a car. We drove up and down sand dunes for about an hour. Every once in a while we would stop and take pictures of the scenery- brown sand for miles. I understand now why so many people in the Bible found God in the dessert. The whole ride I was holding on for dear life!  There were many times when the car almost flipped over. I’ll tell you what- I would definitely consider buying a Toyota after this experience. That car could do anything!

In the middle of nowhere a camel farm suddenly appeared. I think they’re the funniest looking animals! They had ropes tied around two of their legs so they wouldn’t run away. The next part of the tour we left the very steep dune area and went up the road to a little flatter area where the camp was.  On the way we stopped and took pictures of the sunset. Apparently it was the first time in 15 days it was clear enough to see. The sky was actually blue out in the middle of the dessert. We saw our first clouds while we were there also. Next, we roll up to camp and there are two arches leading to a round stage covered with Persian rugs. Around the stage were low tables with pillows on the ground to use as chairs. Around the camp were different things you could do.

The first thing we did was go on a camel ride. They’re a lot taller than you would think they are and they’re definitely not the nicest animals. We were guided around the camp area and the whole time I felt like I was going to fall off this 10-foot beast! Also, before dinner Derek and I got Henna tattoos. Derek got a scorpion on his forearm and I got a flower on my calf. They put this brown liquid paste type stuff on that has to dry for an hour and then you scrape it off. It’s supposed to last about two weeks.

Next was the dinner buffet and the belly dancer. There was more food at the buffet then I ever could have eaten. All kinds of Indian food (I think!) There was chicken, lamb, beef, and some other kind of meat I couldn’t name. During dinner a belly dancer, dressed in sparkles came and put on a show. She tried to get the audience involved- key word being tried! When she got a group of guys to go up there and dance with her, I forced Derek to go up there. I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time!! No worries- I got a video! The last number of the night Derek and I both got up and acted like we knew what we were doing. Our driver of course came over and took pictures on my camera so we have this humiliating event on film! After dinner all of the regular guests were taken back home and the evening was over. Derek and I as usual were the only crazy ones to sign up for the overnight safari!!

After everyone left it was just me and Derek and about 5 guys that were working there. They made us a bed so we could go to sleep under the stars. It was all so romantic! (gag….) lol While watching the stars they set up a shisha for us.  Shisha also known as hookah is flavored tobacco you smoke out of this fancy contraption. They come in all shapes and sizes and flavors. Derek and I walked around in the dark for a little bit before we went to bed. While it had gotten cooler than it was during the day, it was still very warm. I probably slept a total of an hour the whole night. The whole night I tossed and turned; I was hot, scared of bugs, and miserable. I usually don’t mind sleeping/camping outside but I don’t think I’ll ever do it in the desert again! Give me a 7-Star hotel any day!! (We made reservations at the only 7-star hotel in the world that’s also the tallest hotel in the world for next weekend!)


Since we’ve been here Derek and I have seen 3 movies. Hancock, Wanted, and Batman. They have most Western movies here but they don’t usually come out at the exact same time as they do in the United States.  Wanted came out about two weeks later and Batman was one week later.  All three movies were great and I would definitely suggest seeing them.  I sure do miss $4 movies in College Station because tickets here are 30 AED, about $10. The coolest part about the theaters here are that the tickets are assigned seats. It’s really nice to not have to get there hours early. The only downside is that sometimes the movies are edited like I was talking about with the internet. If you notice we’ve seen nothing but action movies. I’ve tried to convince Derek to go see Mama Mia or something like that with me, but of course he says there’s no way. I think next time we go the movies I’m going to see one and he can go see another one.

Internet Access

Sorry about lack of blogs! We don’t have internet access in our rooms. We have to go downstairs to the lobby. Also the internet here is a little slower because everything has to go through “internet security” so bad content doesn’t come through. Movies and TV shows are edited for content before they are shown here. I’m going to try and get caught up this week since we have only 4 weeks left.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Arabic Lesson

This is the only lesson you’re going to get because I’ve researched the language a little bit and I totally don’t understand any of it! I only recognize the numbers because they are the buttons on the elevator (with the English next to it) and they are on the money (one side is English and the other side is Arabic).



Derek and I tried doing laundry the other night for the first time. We bought laundry soap when we went to the grocery store last week. Surprisingly Tide was the cheapest by far! The advertisement for the apartment says there's a washer and dryer. When you get into the apartment there is a laundry room just off the kitchen, but there is only one machine in there. I originally just assumed it was a washer and was horrified by the thought of having to air dry everything. After looking into it more it seemed like this one machine did both. So being the wimp that I am I let Derek go first. Good thing because after about 2 hours- it still wasn't done washing and we decided to go to sleep. I checked on it in the morning and sure enough the clothes were soaking wet! I tried another button or two and hoped they'd dry this time around. I left it on when we left for work- and sure enough when we got home they were still soaking wet. Derek finally decided to just take them out and air dry everything.

I wasn’t going to be beat by a machine so I changed a few buttons and tried washing my clothes. It took almost 3 hours but everything came out somewhat dry. I think if I added some more time next time they would come out completely dry. Derek was super jealous because he even had someone from the front desk come help and he couldn’t even figure it out either.

Wild Wadi Water Park!

I couldn’t tell you the last time I went to a water park. They’re always a lot of fun! So we decided we’d visit the park while we were here. It was fairly close, about the same distance as the mall and right on the coast. It’s right next to the seven star hotel, Burj Al Arab, on Jumeirah Beach. We went on a few rides/slides during our 3-4 hour visit. One like the one at Wet ‘n Wild or whatever it’s called, that goes up really high. They also had a lazy river that was super relaxing. We also played around in a wave pool that is surprisingly tiring. For it being 110 outside there sure were a lot of people there! As the afternoon wore on, it got more and more crowded and the lines got too long. Before we left Derek tried the fake wave thing where you could try to do some kind of surfing. I took a picture of Derek’s attempt- and by attempt I mean complete wipe out. He fell off so quickly that I didn’t even have enough time to take a picture of him on the board! Lol We ended the day with some awesome ice-cream!

In case you were wondering how people in a Muslim country would dress at a water park, they make swimsuits that look like their black dress. It’s an outfit that includes pants, long sleeves, and a covering for your neck and head (it kind of looks like a ski mask). I’m not sure how it works but I find it amusing that the guys that are with the women covered head to toe are in Speedos. I definitely saw more scandalous guy’s swimsuits then I did girls. The whole day I tried to convince Derek that he should get one of the itty bitty bathing suits, but he wasn’t having any of it! Haha hilarious mental picture!

After the water park we took our first trip to the “real” grocery store. It was a fantastic experience to find real food! There are some brand names that you find in the US but overall it’s a lot of local stuff. The best part was the bread that is hand made everyday. I’ve found that most things are about the same price as they would be in any big metropolitan city, but I do think that most of the food was a little more expensive. After the store we came home and went right to bed- being in the sun totally wears me out!

The Mall aka the Zoo

“So I’m going out tonight In my red high heels!”

Derek and I decided to try out the night life last Friday. Everything we read about it said to be pretty dressed up- guys in a collared shirt and no tennis shoes. They also said to make sure to have girls with you because they don’t tend to let big groups of guys in (good thing Derek has me!) There is a bar/lounge/restaurant place in the same building as our office- I’m talking so close its on the “ground” floor next to the elevator and our office is on the 6th floor. We walk by this place, called Lotus One, everyday, and every time we walk by it I was so bothered that we’d never been there. So Friday we decided to check it out.

First, we had to go to the mall so Derek could get a collared shirt, because he didn’t bring any besides his work shirts. Derek brought the absolute minimum with him; I don’t know how he did it- only one 50 pound bag. I on the other had wanted to make sure and have everything, so I brought 100 pounds worth of stuff. Lol Such a girl thing to do I know! We spent the morning lying around by the pool, which was fantastic! The rental car was delivered to hotel that morning and we had to wait for that. It’s a small Toyota hatchback thing, pretty cute actually- there’s a picture of Derek by it.

Late afternoon we went on our first driving adventure to the mall. The people here drive like maniacs!! Worse than Florida and Houston combined! Thank goodness I MADE Derek drive (I really like have a chauffer- hehe). They honk like they’re playing music or something. Luckily we made it to the mall without too many problems, and we only had to turn around once.

The Mall of the Emirates is huge! It has the indoor ski park attached as well as this place called Carrefour (which is like their Wal-Mart- I only know what it is because we did a case study on Wal-Mart going into China in one of my classes, and Carrefour is their biggest competitor there). There were probably a million people in the mall- it was a mad house! It gives me a headache just thinking about it now. The first thing we did was sit down and have a Cinabon!! Yep they have them here and Derek had never had one before. They actually had a waitress seat us and take our order- crazy right! They were of course delicious.

Next was our mission to find Derek a shirt. This mall had all the designer stores (we didn’t go there!) they also had a H&M and a Forever 21! We went to about 5 different places and couldn’t find a decent shirt for under 275 Dhs/AED (I don’t which it is, they use both). Finally we find a store that had a great shirt for like 120 (a little over $30), thank goodness because otherwise we would have had to change our night plans. I found a pair of fantastic shoes for 125 AED! They’re red patent with straps that go across my foot. (ps- I love that song by Kellie Pickler ‘Red High Heels’!! so that’s what I did.) I found a store that had a sign up that said “a girl can never have too many shoes” which is awesome- I just had to take a picture! We also picked up some cool souvenir stuff while we were there- mostly stuff that I can use in the scrapbook I’m going to make.

While there we stopped at the food court and ate dinner- pretty much your average food court. They do seem to love French fries here though. Everything you ordered could come with French fries- even my Quizno’s sandwich. They had this really cool restaurant that served French fries like baked potatoes. They put anything and everything you wanted on them; bacon, chicken, cheese, chili, onions, nacho fixing’s. Derek and I decided that we’d have to eat there sometime before we leave- I’ll make sure and take a picture of that! Since I’ve seen like 12 Marble Slabs, I just had to have it while we were at the mall. I probably waited 20 minutes to get a scoop of ice-cream (chocolate with strawberries!! yum yum). Like I was saying before the people here have no sense of order. I don’t think they believe in lines (as they call them- queues). It completely drove me crazy- you have to basically push and shove to get to the front; survival of the fittest right! And there was no way these crazy people are getting in between me and my ice-cream!

Just when I was thinking this place is such a circus, I turn around and sure enough there is a circus like marching band, No Joke! There were people on stilts dressed as clowns dancing around. There were more clowns playing brass instruments and the drums. I have no idea what they were there for but I found it quite entertaining. Along this same theme, they had a circ de sole type performance in the middle of the walkway every few hours. It was crazy the things those people could do. In the pictures I took of this stuff you can see how many people were in the mall- it’s overwhelming.

Lotus One- We left the house at about 11:15 and walked there. We got there about 11:30 and it was completely empty. We figured it was still a little early and maybe it’d get more crowded later since they don’t close till 3. We were right around 12:30 the crowd started to pick up but it was no where near crowded. Like most places it seemed to be mostly groups of friends, not too many people looking to mingle. Since Derek and I look like a couple with just the two of us standing there, we didn’t meet anyone. The drinks there were each 36 AED or $10 minimum. Which is totally outrageous- this included mixed drinks, Corona, Budweiser, and many others. Derek and I left around 1:30 totally disappointed in the place we walk by everyday. No needs to stay up late to hang out with someone you’ve done everything with for the last two weeks! This is by far the latest we’ve stayed up since we’ve been here (since were now old people! Lol). We have plans to go out next weekend and hopefully we’ll have a better time. I must say that my shoes looked great though!

Mangos, Mangos Everywhere!

I think my favorite thing about being here is that everywhere we go they have mango stuff. The grocery store carries two or three different types of mango juice and mango ice-cream. At work they have a break room (which they call the pantry) where they provide snacks (crackers and cookies), fruit (bananas and apples), water, and juice. They have mango juice there! It’s so awesome! When we went to the water park last weekend Derek and I got ice-cream; he got a chocolate covered vanilla one and I of course got mango!! I made him take a picture of me with it because it was so good. I’m going to make sure to get my mango fix while I’m here since they won’t have much at home.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Scott Strittmatter Rocks!

So I found out today that Derek's little brother is famous. Him and his friends get together and play dodge ball on a regular basis. They entered a local tournament in Euless, kicked butt, and won the whole thing! The prize was the entry into the world tournament in Las Vegas in August. Yes, just like the movie. I had no idea the movie was based on real life- I just thought it was some crazy producer's way of making money. Apparently the tournament really does happen.


Of course they need to practice for the tournament- so they've been using a local public tennis court in Carrollton. Well the Carrollton police didn't like this very much and have kicked them off for "destruction of property." They even gave one kid a ticket! Scott being a very enthusiastic person went to the local TV stations and told them his story. They put his story on TV, not just on one station but on two!


Here are the clips for the videos from both ABC and CBS:

ABC Channel 8:

CBS Video:

CBS Story:


Scott is also a freaking amazing graphic artist. He comes up with really cool designs and puts them on t-shirts and stuff. He designed our t-shirt for Chilifest which came out totally awesome. (I'll try and find a picture of it and post it. For those of ya'll that don't know Chilifest is equivalent to a "country music Woodstock" so Derek says. Really it's a two day concert that includes a lot of Texas country and a chili cook-off on the first night when people camp out. This year was my first and last experience there- it's really just a muddy mess. Tessa, Aaron, Derek, and I dunked our rings there this year. 44 seconds WHO8P! Derek wanted me to put in that he won with a time of 30 seconds.)


Anyways, he made t-shirts for their dodge ball team, called Adrenaline Rush, and he's made a website where you can buy stuff with their logo on it. It's really cool- I'm very impressed by him!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

THE Paddle Game

So Derek fell in love with this paddle game he played before we left- and he had to have it and wanted to play it on the beach here. Luckily, the Club place in our apartments sold the game. Of course Derek bought it and showed me how to play. It's not a hard concept. It involves two paddles, a little bigger than a ping pong paddle but the same concept. The other piece is a ball about the size and weight of a bouncy ball. So you hit the ball back and forth between the two people. The End.

Haha. Actually the game is really fun! We played for the second time today and we definitely were better today then we were last time. We play for about 20 or 30 minutes at a time. You wouldn't think it would be a great work out but it turns out to be because you're moving around the whole time. Well maybe we move around because we not great but still. Plus what crazy people do something physical outside in 115 degree weather!? Of course we're those crazy people. We play outside by the pool in this little 10 x 15 (ish) piece of grass. It's really cool because you're in a residential type area but there are skyscrapers all around you. I would imagine it's  a lot like doing something outside in central park. Today was also the first day we saw BLUE!!! sky. It's so brown here all the time it was nice to see a little piece of pretty sky!

We use the game as a warm up and then go work out in the little gym at out apartments.
The rec area has a small weight room area, a sauna and a steam room (I don't know why they have these- its like a sauna outside!). The girl's locker room is pretty nice too. I of course don't know about the guy's locker room- but I did get called Derek's wife while were getting a tour our first day! (yuck! :) lol - no offense derek! you know I love ya!)

On the way back to our room I realized that I like it here. Today's the first time I've really felt like that (no worries tho- I don't have plans on moving here!) Before that I've enjoyed certain things but have still been hesitant of it as a whole. The people have all been nice. I really had fun the day we went to the movies, the beach, and the zoo. Works better now that were settled in a little bit. If you don't spend too much time outside the weather isn't too bad (especially since I can't stand the rain and they get like 1 inch all year!- it probably won't even rain while were here). Today everything just kind of fit together. I can understand why everything is under construction and being built up. I would definitely come back and visit or work for a few weeks here and I would suggest it to anyone who's interested in visiting!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


This post is mostly for Monica because the first thing she asked me when I talked to her was "Have you had to eat anything weird?!?"

I came here knowing that I would have to be opened minded about the culture, about the dress, basically about everything. I was told before we got here that they have a lot of westernized restaurants and I shouldn't have any major problems. Well our first night here Derek and I ate pizza at an Italian place (fantastic!! were going to eat there again this weekend, especially because it's literally in the building next door!). We ate at an Italian restaurant for lunch on our first day of work (which was in the building we work in). We ate at a pizza place that's also in the building we work in. The other day we tried a sandwich type place in our building- I had a salad that I didn't really care for (Derek finished it because he'll eat pretty much anything!).

There's a grocery store in the building next to our apartment that has a few things but nothing like you would think. We picked up some eggs for breakfast, some canned food items, and some bread. Well Derek tried the eggs first and they came out ORANGE!! He said they still tasted the same but I don't really like eggs that much! After he told me that I decided I could live without eggs for two months ( I gave him the rest of mine). 

At night we try and eat in some so we don't spend all of the money we're earning while we are here. Yesterday we ate the Club that's connected to our apartments. It was actually really good! I had grilled chicken with rice, vegetables, and salad. Derek had curry chicken and I confirmed that I am not a fan of curry! but I would definitely eat there again. We also received a drink voucher when we got here- so we decided to use it yesterday at dinner. I order a margarita. Big mistake- I took about three sips and decided not to finish it. Good thing it was free!! I should have known when there was a lemon in it instead of lime. The night before last we stayed in and cooked (actually microwaved) canned chili and corn- I know were so classy! As horrible as it sounds it actually rocked! I don't know that I've ever like chili so much! We took a picture- I'll definitely try and put that one up asap.

Today for lunch we went to this place that was kind of a buffet, kind of like Luby's set up. It was actually pretty nice- about 50 Dhs, about $13 or so. I had veal (for the first time ever!) with mashed potatoes and vegetables. It was absolutely fantastic. Derek had some shrimp dish that he thought was great also. Since we had a big lunch today we decided to eat light for dinner and cook something. Derek bought chicken hot dogs at the grocery store. Let me tell you they were as horrible as you think they would be! We loaded them with Heinz Ketchup and when you took a bite out of it- they melted or mushed in your mouth. It was absolutely disgusting. I would suggest never eating chicken hot dogs- it's not worth it!

I'm sure we'll try all sorts of other foods and I'll make sure to comment on those as well. I think Arabic food is what is indigenous to the area, but honestly everything here is so eclectic, every kind of food is available. 

I think the food I miss the most so far is wings- so please eat some wings and some fried pickles for me!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Work Stuff

Since I came to Dubai for work I guess I should explain what I am doing here. I am working for an oil and gas services company called Schlemberger. It was originally French (hence the name) but is now world wide. Their top competitor is Haliburton. The office in Dubai is their Global Services Center otherwise known as their international finance center. This office is in charge of the consolidation and reporting for financial statements and financial reports. The managers here have put together a very eclectic body of work for us to do over the next two months. There are approx. 160 people in this office, all of which are very intelligent and very worldly (aka. from all over the world). Everyone in the office is also very nice and welcoming.  The people are broken up into functional groups ranging from 1 to 10 people. As interns we will spend some time with each group to get exposed to each area they cover. I believe the goal of our internship here is to be exposed to each aspect of this office and get a little experience in each area. 

The office is driven by reporting deadlines (month end, quarter end, and year end). We arrived just in time for the quarter end rush- which is why for our first two weeks we are working six days a week with only a one day weekend. Things should calm down in a week or two and we should be on a more regular schedule. We also must complete a good size project and make a presentation at the end of the internship. I think it is mostly to show what we have learned and to have practice working on an extended project and use our presention skills. We work from about 8:30 - 5:30, Sunday - Thursday. Although, like I was saying before sometimes longer and sometimes on Friday as well. Today we worked until 7:30 (that's an 11 hour day!! yuck!)

Sunday, July 6, 2008


So I realized a little bit ago that I can't spell! 

Mosque is spelled with an o not an a like I wrote in my other blogs- I don't know where my mind was. Sorry!

Haha- I'm learning something new every day!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Adventure 2

After sleeping all night literally, Derek and I decided to use our one and only weekend day to do something fun! We decided to check out the local zoo and the beach. It was a long day (in a good way) but be prepared this might be long...

Our first order of business was to sign up for The Club. It's a part of our apartment hotel that includes a pool, tennis court, work out room, and some other stuff. I think seeing the workout stuff was the highlight of Derek's trip so far- much like seeing the grocery store was for me! (Which explains why he's skinny and in shape and I'm "well fed"! lol) While there I ate a waffle and had probably the best glass of fresh squeezed orange juice i've ever had. It was so fantastic. There's a picture of Derek on a lawn chair that shows part of the pool area- which is super cool. Hopefully I'll get to spend some time out in the sun and work on this tan of mine!

Our next destination was the zoo and I convinced Derek to let us take a cab there. We arrived there kind of skeptical about what we were getting into. The tickets cost 2 Dhs/AED each which is about equivalent to .75 cents. (FYI $1 USD is worth approx. 3.68 AED). There were a few cool animals but nothing extra fantastic, the zoo was kind of small. We saw snakes, ostrich, lions, tons of birds of all varieties. The best part of course were the monkeys! There was a little one that must have just been born and he/she was hilarious jumping all around and chasing the other monkeys. They of course reminded me of Monica!! :) haha I'm soooo funny I know! I took some cool pictures of the animals. Most of them look exhausted probably because its so hot!

Since the zoo was outside I needed to stop and get some water, and at this point it was about lunch time. We walked down the street a little and found this place called the Mercato (yea Spanish in an area that speaks Arabic- crazy I know!). Well turns out it was another mall- Derek and I looked around trying to find something to eat and we found a movie theater instead! We decided to go see the movie Hancock at 1pm. With some time to kill before the movie we went to the grocery store. (Yes, that's right, a grocery store in the mall!) Derek bought an orange because he got jealous of the oranges the monkeys were eating. We got some water (because I was dying!) and we also decided to try Dr. Pepper Zero. I've never heard of it but it's Dr. Pepper without sugar. It actually was pretty good- too bad I've never seen it in the US because I would totally drink it! (there's a picture of me with the can). We went to buy the movie tickets- 30 Dhs about $10 much like the price of movie tickets in Dallas. The coolest part was that the movie tickets were assigned seating. I'd never seen that before! 

After the movie we ate lunch in the food court which included McDonald's, KFC, Pizza Hut, and some others. I'm really trying hard to try new things but you really have to search hard to find stuff that's not westernized. 

We left the mall and headed across the street to the beach. The water was a pretty blue (a lot bluer than the sky) and the sand was pretty nice. Definitely better then say, the beaches in Galveston. It's really weird because everything here has a tan hue to it. The sky is a hazy tan like the color of the sand. It almost looks foggy but we decided it's probably from all the construction disturbing all the sand. We planned ahead and made sure to bring out bathing suits, water, and towels for the beach. When we left the mall we didn't realize that there probably wouldn't be a bathroom or something that we could change in. So Derek just changed on the beach without even thinking. I, of course, couldn't and ended up just staying in my shorts and t-shirt. I didn't get into the water but I'm sure there will be more beach trips where I'll have the opportunity. The water was surprisingly warm (I don't know why I was surprised after all it is like 115 here sometimes!), but it was much nicer then the frigid waters of South Padre or something. When it was time to come home we walked down the beach and found a cool pier type thing where you could look out over the water. This is where we took pictures of the city and the water. We also found a running track and a few more people, because the area we were ate previously was practically deserted. So we decided that we'd make it a weekend ritual to come and run on the beach, chill out in the water, and then head to the mall for a little while in the afternoon. 

We took a cab home where I immediately got in the shower after sweating for like 7 hours straight in this awful weather. Now I'm relaxing a little bit before bed and before work tomorrow. I don't know how I feel about starting the work week on Sunday- it kinda stinks! especially when we had to work Friday, which is usually the start of the weekend. And yes mom I'm still trying to find a church- but I get the feeling I'm not going to find one! Derek and I talked about attending a Muslim service but didn't think they would let us in!! Pray for me, I am definitely going to need it! :)

Hope everyone had a great 4th of July!!

Jet Lag

So I finally felt the affects of jet lag. We got done with work yesterday at 5pm, came home and said hey lets take a nap and then go out and doing something fun. When I woke up from my nap at 9pm and couldn't get a hold of Derek I went back to bed until he called and woke me up at like 11:30pm. We talked for a minute and went back to bed. I woke up this morning at like 6am. Pretty sure I slept like 15 hours or something ridiculous. Here I was thinking I was settling in fine (mostly because I hadn't slept the day before anyway) but it turned out ok. We spent the rest of our day doing some super fun stuff!

Adventure 1

Derek and I went on our first adventure Thursday night. Let me begin with the fact that Derek forgot his running shoes in our rush to pack everything on time. So we decided we’d try and find a mall with our free time after work. We talked with the front desk of our apartment and he suggested a mall that was about a 10 min taxi ride from where we were. Well Derek being the crazy guy he is said no way let’s walk this way towards the water and towards a shopping center that way.  I made the mistake of letting Derek take the lead and be in charge of the map. An hour later, hot, sweaty, and tired we kinda found what you’d call stores.

Ok maybe that’s a little bit of an exaggeration but we did walk pretty far in the over 100 degree weather. We did run into some cool places. I think we passed two what is considered malls, and lots of restaurants and shops. For being in a foreign country there were many things that reminded me of home. Lots of ice cream- there was a baskin robin’s, haagin dazs, and even a marble slab!! I also saw a Starbucks, a Subway, and a McDonalds. We also saw a really pretty masque, an awesome resort/hotel, and lots of sand.  I took a few cool pictures of the masque and found a post card with the masque on the front.

Wednesday we decided to go to the local “grocery store” and pick up some food to eat. The store was super small and had very little to eat (although they did have Dr. Pepper- yay!)  I think the only meat product we found were chicken hot dogs. Sounds great doesn’t it!! Lol I left the store with about 3 things thinking oh gosh I’m going to starve here! Well the coolest part of our walking adventure was discovering this place called Spinney’s or something like that. It turned out to be a large grocery store. They had everything!! Derek and I were so excited.  They had all types of meat, great cuts of beef, lamb, chicken, fish; u name it and it was there. We decided to wait and go back after we got the rental car and could really go shopping. I think it took us literally and hour to walk there. It's funny that a grocery store could make someone so happy!

 So after walking around for a while we decided it was time to eat. We ended up eating at Friday’s. I know- we totally pulled a closed minded tourists thing! But we couldn’t help it- it was the closest place we could eat and I was about to pass out from heat exhaustion!  The food actually turned out great- Derek said it was better than any Friday’s he had ever ate at! The atmosphere was totally cool too, they even had a TO jersey hanging up! (cough cough Aubrey- he’s even famous here a million miles away, and Friday’s didn’t burn up their jersey!! Lol) I told Derek we could eat at a very authentic place the next day, since I made him do something so “American.”

 The walk home took us 45 mins to and hour. But we made it back with out Derek, the navigator, running us into any problems. Thank goodness cuz I was worried there for a minute!

Until the next adventure...Cass

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


All day Sunday I worked on my group project and studied for my English final. I made the mistake of starting to pack after midnight on Sunday. Needless to say I only got one hour of sleep Sunday night- between 4am and 5am! 

All the hard work payed off though. I am glad to say that my room is finally unpacked and clean for the first time since I moved in the middle of May. Plus I got an 88 on our final project and an A in my project management class!! yay :)

The plan was to leave College Station around 1 PM to allow plenty of time to get to the airport for our 6:50 flight. Good thing we allowed for so much time because we didn't end up leaving until 3!! Talk about stressful!

Derek and I got to the airport at 4:30 thanks to Meghan's awesome driving!! Thanks again Meghan- you rock! We ate dinner at some little diner in the airport- it was pretty good. Let me just say the DFW airport is sooooo much better than the Houston one! The Dallas airport just has so much more stuff to offer. This just adds to the many reasons why Houston is the worst city ever!! lol

We board the plane and thankfully have seats next to each other. I watched like 3 different movies and maybe slept a few hours here or there. Good thing I told everyone I have no problem sleeping on planes because I totally jinxed myself. I was so miserably uncomfortable the whole time!! But I guess that's going to happen when you sit in the same spot for 15 hours!

The guy sitting next to me turned out to be an accountant also. He went to the University of Houston and works at UHY (a public accounting firm). He told me that Dubai would be an awesome place to live and some of the cool things we could go see. He also asked if Derek was my boyfriend! lol (I think I'm going to start counting how many times we get asked that, cuz I have a feeling it's going to be a lot!).

We got off the plane and found out that we don't need a visa because we'll be here for less than 60 days. Derek and I didn't stand out at all! haha yea right- you can definitely tell we are not from around here. I guess it doesn't help that I was wearing my maroon crocs!! WHOOP! :) Derek was right though, there are like NO women here!! I think I saw 5 the whole time we were in the airport. 

Someone had to check our passports before we could exit the airport. The guy that checked mine said I had a "beautiful smile" and then continued to ask me about what I was doing here, where I came from, and where I would suggest he go visit in the US. When I told him we came from Houston, Texas, he was like "is that close to Canada?!?!?" I just smiled and was like DEFINITELY not! hehe

We made it to the hotel apartments fine and ate at a little Italian restaurant around the corner. We ate pepperoni pizza- how authentic I know. We start work at 8:30AM tomorrow and we'll find out then what were going to be doing! 

BIG HUGS!!! I miss yall already!