Clint and I celebrated our 7 year wedding anniversary yesterday. As well as going out to dinner I got a lovely bouquet of flowers (they are truly spectacular) complete with a tube of cream… just incase I am suffering from the 7 year itch!
Although the official Eid date hadn’t been announced, the public holidays had been so we headed off for the weekend to Fujariah.
Fujariah is one of the 7 emirates and unlike the others that are all desert, Fujariah is almost totally mountainous. It is also the only emirate on the Gulf of Oman, the others all border the Persian Gulf (there’s todays geography lesson). The drive up was great, we didn’t go the most direct way as we had to stop in Dubai at the bike shop (yes, I know you are all surprised by that one), but once we hit Fujariah the mountains, although not green they made a nice change from the desert. We also went past the UAE version of Mt Rushmore… apparently patriotic vandalism is ok.
We stayed at the JAL beach resort just outside Dibba (Daba to the Omanians). As the name suggests it is run by the Japanese airline and seems to do a lot of fly in golf holidays from Japan. Personally I am still trying to work out why people would subject themselves to a game of golf in this heat! Apart from check-in where they gave us the wrong room, the hotel was great and the staff fantastic! They were so friendly and helpful and the kids had a ball. It’s the first time Lachie and Charlotte have really been into kids club (they had one specially for 3-6 year olds), whenever we went to pick them up they claimed they were not hungry or ready to go. So Clint and I were lucky enough to steal some time to ourselves in a place where vodka is cheaper than a milkshake! We spent the weekend relaxing and the kids did a lot of swimming in the numerous pools. Lachie also enjoyed the small ocean water park, although he wasnt to sure about having to wear the life jacket to swim out there.
Top- hotel from the pier, Lachie and Clint head out to play in the ocean
Middle- in the pool
Bottom- musical hat game
We woke up Sunday morning to find Ramadan was over and it was time to celebrate Eid. Apparently the U.A.E moon sighting committee went up in their plane, saw the moon and made the announcement at 8:15pm Saturday night (nothing like leaving it till the last minute). Although the hotel was already great, we noticed a difference with the end of Ramadan immediately: music in the lift, hallways, tunes pumping by the pool, pool bar open and outside dining to name a few.
The kids also loved the breakfast buffet, no surprises there once the kids discovered the numerous chocolate items on offer. They ate so much they actually refused ice-cream when it was offered (yep, ice-cream at breakfast time… and they wonder why diabetes is a problem.) For a hotel that was booked out, it is so well designed you don’t feel crowded at all. All the rooms overlook the Indian Ocean/ Gulf of Oman and the buildings are only 3 or 4 stories (unlike the monstrous Dubai hotels), when the kids were in bed we were able to sit out on the balcony overlooking the pool and listen to the waves crashing in… very peaceful!
When we left the resort, we drove back through the town of Fujariah which is apparently the safest city in the U. A.E, I think that may have something to do with the public lashings you can still witness in the city centre on Fridays for minor offences. The drive along the coast and mountains to the Oman border was lovely but the kids didn’t get much out of it, but a sing a long to the Wiggles kept them occupied.
Hopefully we will get ourselves organised for a few more weekend escapes so we can explore a bit more of what the UAE has to offer.
On Saturday night as I checked the kids stuff was ready for school (feel free to think I was ironing, polishing shoes, baking etc …for those that know me better you will realise this was a mental checklist done on the lounge while eating icecream) anyway- I realised with both my angels at school I would have time to finally get all those little things done that I keep meaning to do.
So I made a list (mental again) of all the things I planed on doing such as going to the gym every day, getting up to date with their photo albums, exploring different areas (ok shops and souks) of Abu Dhabi, lots of little things around the house and so on. Now as their first full week draws to a close, what have I done??
Sunday- went to coffee with the Mums from Lachies class
Monday- made it to the gym!!! Then looked for holiday spots on the internet
Tuesday- grocery shopping (my least favourite thing to do but they insist on eating)
Wednesday- Another coffee morning followed by a manicure, pedicure and eyebrow wax
Thursday (today)- Gym, followed by morning tea with some new friends in Raha.
So much for all my free time:)
Eid holidays have been announced and we are off to Fujariah (one of the Emirates) for a couple of nights, looking forward to it!
We have been (and still are) in the holly month of Ramadan. Which is a little like lent for Muslims but they take it seriously. They fast between sunrise and sunset… yep no food or drink in this heat- I wish I had that kind of willpower! I do feel for the poor labourers though who still work outside in the sun all day. It also means a million more road accidents early in the morning as most of the drivers have been up all night and just before sunset as they all hurry to be at home for the breaking of the fast. So it’s best to avoid the roads at those times.
It is slightly like living in a parallel universe to the locals for the month. They are up eating and shopping (yep shops are open till 2am for the month) all night and then sleep for most of the day. While we obviously stick to our normal routine. It makes grocery shopping after school drop off wonderful as there is hardly anyone there! School and work hours are also reduced so in theory (although it hasn’t really happened that many times) Clint should be home early afternoon.
However, unlike the Christian Easter that follows lent where you can look up the dates for the next 50 years. Eid (which follows Ramadan) is also set by the moon but not by a mathematical equation. Nope the wise men somewhere over here watch the moon till its right one night, then they spread the word and Eid begins.
Clint gets 2 days off for Eid (public holidays) and the kids get 3, we were hoping to go away but without set dates it makes it rather hard to book anywhere! Lastminute.com has a very real meaning in this country! Looks like it should fall next week sometime so we shall see….
Charlotte had her first day at school today… where has the time gone??? It was weird seeing her in a little school uniform, at 3 she is still very much my baby and if we were still in Australia she wouldn’t even be going to Kindy till next year! It was only an orientation day, she starts full time on Sunday and will go from 7:50am till 1pm during Ramadan (another week or so) then till 1:30pm… a long day for such a little girl!
She is in FS1. There are 21 kids in the class (they can have up to 24) with a teacher and 2 full time aides. One of the aides was the aide in Lachie’s room last year so thats nice for her to have. She knows 2 of the children already; a boy who use to live in our street at the old place and another boy who has a sister in Lachie’s class. We also met another little girl through friends the other week and had a play at her house on Monday and the girls got on well.
She had a great first day and (at the moment) is looking forward to Sunday so she can play again!
Lachie started year 1 today! Although he is in the same uniform as last year, he just seems so much bigger. He happily walked to his new classroom, put his back away then went to join all his friends. With Ramadan they only go from 8-1pm so a nice way to ease into the school year.
Charlotte has her orientation on Wednesday, then starts full time next Sunday.
My big boy…
1 Lachie and his cousin Sam (on holidays from Japan)
2 Charlotte and cousin Joshua (on holidays from Japan)
3 Me with my niece Lucinda (also from Japan)
4 Mum (Mama) with her Grandkids
5 Charlotte and Lucinda
6 Charlotte and Lachie with cousins Olivia, Brigitte and Ryan
7 Lachie with one of Aunty Nicki’s puppies (yes he asked to keep one, what a shame we live overseas!)
8 Lachie and cousin Aiden
9 Dad’s (Papa’s) birthday
10 At the beach with the cousins, despite what it looks like Lachie really does love Charlotte!
11 Lachie with cousin Ryan (born 29 days apart)