Friday, February 6, 2015

Meanwhile, in the sandbox...

Hello, hello! It's been awhile, I know! I have many posts in the works, but in the mean time, I want to tell you what me and the kid have been up to!

We went to a horse jumping show! It was awesome. I know many people may not be into horses, but I started riding at camp as a kid and I've loved it ever since. It was really great seeing all these beautiful horses and their riders were totally decked out to. The show was at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, a very ritzy place.  Fortunately, the friend I went with has been a rider there and knew exactly where to park and where to go.  The minute we got out of the car, there was a horse and a groom walking by and I could smell horses on the breeze! It was great! It was an interesting experience being in the stands and listening to all of the different languages being spoken around us. People right behind us were speaking French, to the side they were speaking Russian, and the announcer was speaking Arabic and then translating into English. A global experience!

We also went to a professional tennis match. I've never actually seen a professional tennis match and I was so excited, even though it was only the men playing, no women. We saw two matches during the second day of  the tournament. The first was Almagro vs. Lopez early in the afternoon. Then the evening match was the heavy hitters, Raphael Nader vs. Andy Murray. So exciting, I've seen these guys on tv!!

Below is the perfect serving shot of Murray. And I can't lie, I enjoyed watching the ball boys and girls almost as much as the match. They were so cute and taking their roles so seriously!

Great shot of the score board!

They had several tents set up outside the stadium full of games.  The kid was trying to play every game.  They gave out all kinds of stuffed animals as prizes. Unfortunately, we didn't win anything :(. You had to have a ton of tickets or win the games outright to win and we couldn't manage it.  I met this guy who said he would give me a stuffed animal he won for 20 tickets, but I only had 9. I was sitting next to his girlfriend, and she told me that about 4 of them were trying to win the prize of the Xbox for 3,000 tickets.They had been there all 3 days and just needed 20 more tickets to get it! I couldn't believe they played that many games, I mean, did they even watch the tennis matchs??

Happy New Year!! So, instead of going to some crazy parties for NYE, I decided to hang out with the kid and go to a mall, I mean, life here is in the mall. We went to The Galleria Mall on Al Maryah Island here in Abu Dhabi. I had never heard of this mall before and when we went there, our taxi driver said he had never been there either.  He said, this is not the kind of mall where you buy things, this is the mall where you look! And he was right! 

Among the usual high end stores, Dolce & Gabana, Coach, Marc Jacobs, Jimmy Choo. They have a Bentley restaurant!! A Bentley restaurant! You know, the luxury automobile company?! And I peeked at the menu and saw a split pee soup starter for only 95 dirham! That's $26 bucks for you USA folks.  For soup!  Ohh, and they have a Godiva Chocolate cafe!! You can sit down and drink chocolate! Not like a cup of cocoa, but pure Belgian chocolate! We tried to get in but the line was outrageous. 

Fireworks here are amazing, truly amazing.  You know how, in San Francisco at least, you go out at least 5 hours before dark, in a sea of traffic, trying to fight your way to a high vantage point to catch fireworks displays from not only San Francisco, but Berkeley and Oakland too? Then you realize the traffic is literally not moving and you better make alternative plans immediately if you want to see even a sparkler. So then you just decide that where you are is perfect, but then you still have to drive around and up and down one way streets to find a place to park so you can hope out and watch the show. Then you just end up double parking in the street and standing on the roof of your car. Finally, the fireworks starts, and mind you, you have been in the streets for literally hours by this point. The fireworks are a couple of white bursts, then red, maybe a lackluster yellow. The show last approximately 15 minutes and now... get back in the car and it's another hour and a half before you make it back home! Hardly worth it, right?!

Not so here! There are literally a ton of fireworks, all different styles and colors and it lasts sooo long! Like almost an hour! Yes, it does take about 2 hours to get back to your apartment from wherever you ended up but you feel like it's worth it cus the fireworks were so amazing!

I only took a few pics cus to many cameras were in front of me and cus who wants to see a picture of fireworks? The adventure is in being there!

This hour glass countdown was so cool!

In November, my co-worker said, "hey, I have a Groupon for the pool at the Fairmont hotel. Do you want to come?"  Little did she know what she started! The Fairmont is awesome! You go to the pool which is on the ocean of course, and someone walks you out to a seat, carrying your towels of course. When you pick a seat, he fluffs up the chair cushion, lays out your towel, then asks if you would like water or a menu. Then you just get to relax by the pool for hours and hours! I had a burger and fries, not very original but it was so good!

Well, I said she didn't know what she started because after that awesome experience, my little rooftop pool at my apartment looks even more pathetic! And I'm scouring Groupon daily for more pool passes!

the beautiful Fairmont Hotel pool!

This is the pool bathroom! It is huge and awesome! And the hot tub is amazing!

I think me and the kid are among the few people who love ice skating! We love skating and watching. So when I saw an advertisement for an amateur skating show, I got tickets.  Unfortunately, it was very amateur, but it was still fun.

I also went to an art show with a co-worker, at Manarat Al Saadiyat which is the art gallery on Saadiyat island. It was a show about light so most of the exhibits had different light displays. My favorite exhibit was the 100 names of Allah made into a sphere.

They also had an interactive exhibit for kids where you could create a word out of thick paper and then put it on the entrance wall to the exhibit. They were illuminated so you could see the shadows of the words. Of course, we made some too! I think I was worse than the kids cus I needed a lot of help cutting out my word! But once that was done it was lovely!

A new mall opened called Yas Mall. It was anxiously awaited because it is huge and next to Ferrari world. There are a lot of cool restaurants from around the world there. Cheesecake Factory (which I hate but everyone else is so excited to have!), PF Changs, Texas Roadhouse, Steers, Shake Shack, Chilis and more! I have to admit, I rarely go to chain restaurants in USA, I prefer one off restaurants. The food is better, the atmosphere, everything, but, when in Rome. I did just find out that the USA restaurants here import their food, from America! I don't know if I'm too excited about that, but I have to say, the apple streusel cheesecake I had at the Cheesecake Factory was excellent!

This is a transformer in one of the toy stores!
My new favorite store is the Virgin Megastore. They don't have run of the mill things there, the buyers buy unusual items and books. Plus they have a mega slide!

This is a super slide in the Virgin Megastore!

And yes, it gets foggy here in the desert! This was the view outside of my window a couple of weeks ago!

So, there will be more later so stay tuned!

Ciao for now!

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