Sunday, December 15, 2013

Color Run Dubai

Yesterday I did my first Color Run in Dubai, I had a fantastic time. The vibe was electric. There were over 8,500 participants from all over the world. 
My friend and I had booked a hotel for the night, so we got up nice and early to get to the race site around 8 am (the race was starting at 9).

As you can see I wrapped my head in a white tank top to prevent it from getting powder in it. I know I look like a chef.

 Before I continue let me tell you what the Color Run is.  The Color Run is a 5 km race that touts itself as 'the happiest 5k on earth'. Every kilometer there is colored power that is thrown at the participants. 

So many people at the start line. They were playing music to get us all hyped. 
The first color was yellow. I must admit they were being a little stingy at this station. But the next station made up for it. 

Red was great and dossed us in powder. 
The next color was blue.  We all looked like smurfs after that station.
Pink was the second to last station and at this point people were rolling around in the powder. I loved that this was a family event and people brought their kids and babies.

The best part of the whole race was the end. There was a huge party and they handed out extra powder packets and there was a dj and everyone was dancing and having an all around great time.

Our before and after! 

If the Color Run is coming to your city I would highly recommend you participate.

Definitely want to do it again next year! 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Fog Days

     This morning on the way to school there was so much fog that people had to pull over and wait for it to subside. I usually do 130 km/hr going to work (trust me that is normal) but today because of the fog I had to slow down to 80.  I made it to work safe and sound.

     In other news I got my first speeding ticket.  I guess I am lucky because I have some friends that have had 4 or 5 so far and I only have one.  It was for 330 dhs which is the equivalent of about 95$.  I was caught speeding on camera one day on my was home from Au Dhabi *shrugs*.

     Only 7 more teaching days until our trip to South East Asia!  Woot woot!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Happy Three Month Anniversary!

On November 30th I celebrated three months living in the UAE! Time is flying! I was lucky to head to Abu Dhabi for an American Thanksgiving dinner at my friends place. The dinner was delicious, my friend ordered a turkey with fixings from the Hilton hotel. We all brought a few dishes and I made an apple crisp that turned out really well. 

We then headed to Dubai for a few nights, we stayed at the Majestic hotel  in the Bur Dubai area, we had a stunning view of the city. I tried to post a picture, but it doesn't even do the view justice. 

We had dinner at Elia a Greek restaurant in the hotel, it was absolutely delicious. I had the moussaka which is like a lasagna with no pasta, just meat (lamb), cheese and eggplant.

We then headed out to Barasti (which is it's Arab backwards) a club on the beach by the Meridien hotel. 

Saturday morning we headed to Dubai mall, there is an iHop there and I had never been.

Breakfast was delicious. 

I have been to Dubai Mall two or three times already and every time I go I am in awe.  

The view from iHop. The large building in the middle is the Burj Khalifah the tallest man made building in the world. 

This is a waterfall located in the mall. The silver men are statues that look like the are diving down the waterfall.

As we approach December the weather here is still holding strong at AMAZING! The morning and evenings are cool, but the days are still super hot.  I do not miss Montreal weather at all. I do not miss snow, cleaning off the car, wearing boot. Some of my friends say they miss the snow and the cooler weather. I on the other hand do not. 

Saturday night we headed to 360, a club that is near the Burj Al Arab, the tallest hotel on the world.

The club is out on the marina and has a 360 view of it. Stunning. 

Burj Al Arab

More pics of the view.

Today we are heading to Global Village and then back to Abu Dhabi for a National Day festivities.


Monday, November 25, 2013

Going, Going, Back, Back To...


Last night I booked my Christmas vacation.  My friend and I heading to Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia for three weeks.  I am so excited!  I have already been to Thailand,but it is honestly my favourite place in the world and I am so blessed to be able to go back.  I am hoping to head to some areas that I have not been to before (Chang Mei). I am so blessed to have to much time off to travel during the break. Most of the other teachers here are heading home, but Montreal is too cold for that, so I am heading to the beaches of South east Asia.  We are leaving on Dec. 15th out of Dubai, cannot wait.

In the meantime, school is pretty much over for the term.  The older girls at the school (Grade 12) are in exams and the rest of the school doesn't come during that time.  That is fine with me because then I can enter my grades and relax. 

American Thanksgiving is one Thursday and the friend that I am  travelling with to Thailand is having a little get together so I am excited for that. She is ordering a turkey and everything so I am so psyched for that.  since I have to travel (she is in Abu Dhabi), I am bringing a dessert.  I think that I am going to make an apple crisp because the ingredients are easy to find and it will be easy enough to transport on the bus. This weekend is also National Days, the Sheik made the announcement (he actually tweeted it!) that we are going to have the Sunday and Monday off so we have a four day weekend.  I am going to spend Thursday and Friday in Abu Dhabi and then we are going to head to Dubai Friday and Saturday and then back to Abu Dhabi for the festivities.  There are going to be concerts, performances on the Corniche and fireworks!  I will be sure to post pictures.

I went and got my hair rebraided last night.  I go to a salon that is owned by an Ethiopian woman that is married to an Emirati and the women that work there are Ethiopian.  They do braids, weaves, wash and set and more.  I am really impressed with the prices and also the braid so quickly.  Since it was a week night the salon really wasn't busy and I was out of there in 3 hours.  When there were no other customers there were three woman working on my hair at the same time.

I still find it so weird that we are almost in December and the weather is still 25C (77F) in the day! LOVE IT!  I must admit that it is a bit cool in the morning and you do need a sweater, but besides that the weather is marvellous.

Have a great week!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Science Festival and More National Day Festivities

     Last Tuesday 30 of my grade 6 students and I went to Abu Dhabi for the Science Festival.  The bus ride was a bit long (2 hours) because the bus can only go 80 km/ hr on the highway. I was extremely impressed with the Science Festival.  It was like the had constructed a Science Museum on Yas Island.  

The first station that we went to was all about marine animals and what was inside them.  The animators dissected a crab, squid and a fish to show the girls their anatomy. 

At the next station students got to build their own wind turbines. They even let the girls solder the pieces together. They attached an LED light and had the girls test their wind turbine when they were done.

All in all I think the young ladies had a fantastic time. If you are in Abu Dhabi and have kids, I would highly recommend you take then to the Science Festival I think it is on until Saturday. 

Yesterday we had a huge National Day celebration at school, they handed out chocolates and we had a talent show where different grades performed songs and dances. 

Parents and relatives came to watch the girls. There was even a fashion show at the end where different country were represented by that countries music and dance.  I got to see some trational dress from Egypt, Syria and even Sudan. 

Many girls also came to school blinged out in their finest jewellery. Many students wore gold necklaces, rings and earrings.  I especially loved these gold headdresses that many students were sporting. 

Absolutely. Stunning.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

My Trip To Jail

     Don't worry this isn't what you think.  I didn't do anything bad.  I promise.  I went to jail with my students. Wait, that doesn't sound much better. Sometimes I wish I could put some of them in jail...But that is a whole other story.  Let me start at the beginning.

     As I mentioned previously, National Day is around the corner (December 2 and 3).  National Day is a BIG deal here.  I always thought that Trinidadians (where my parents are from) were patriotic.  We have soca songs that praise our country, we always wear T-Shirts and sport red, white and black whenever we get a chance. I have a few pairs of earrings that are in the shape of Trinidad, I love Trinidad.  I also thought that Canada was super patriotic.  I do have more than a handful of friends with maple leaf tattoos, we are always proud to say that we are Canadian.  Then I came to the UAE. National Day, oh I am sorry days (yes 2 days) is a huge deal here.  We have been getting ready at school for a month.  Everyday a class at school gives a presentation at the morning assemble talking about the country and the girls come to school decked out in red, green and black, the colors of the UAE.  They dance, sing and feed us chocolates and tea. There are pins, cell phone charms, flags, hats, dresses, chocolates, cakes, decals for your nails, the list goes on and on.  This year they are celebrating the 42nd year and there are 42's everywhere.  I have been given a few pins that I sport every day at school. Sorry, I am getting of track.  I was informed that today all the grade 6's would be going around the town that our school is in and we would be giving out chocolates and singing songs at the Polics Station, Bank, Phone Company Office and Family Center dressed in our UAE best. We headed out on the bus around 9 am and did just that, we sang patriotic songs and gave out chocolates.  At the police station we even got to visit the jail.  Some of the girls were scared and did not want to see it.  I took a look and there was one prisoner in the jail cell.  I was told that he was arrested for driving without a licence (or stealing, depending which student you believe) and that he was going to be in jail for 3 weeks and then be sent to Al Ain, the big city, to be processed I guess.  They gave him chocolates, which he accepted. I felt bad for him, he was kind of like a caged animal with all of us gawking at him.

Tomorrow we are having a big party for National Day!  Parents will be coming in and we will be eating and dancing our little hearts out!

Just another day in the UAE!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

A Little Bit Of This and That

Hello lovely readers! Life in the UAE is moving rather quickly I really must admit.  I cannot believe that November is already here and I can almost see then end of it.  School is still work, I will leave it at that, we are going on a field trip this week to the Science Expo in Abu Dhabi so that should be VERY interesting.

I am enjoying life and I am still happy with the decision that I have made to move out here.  I thought I would fill you in one the last few weeks of my life.
     At the beginning of November we had a long weekend thanks to the Islamic New Year.  My friends and I got tickets to F1 (Formula 1) which included tickets to the Jay Z concert. Yes! Jigga man was going to be in the UAE! 

Now let me explain these bracelets. The first white one was 'a surprise' we were given at the door.  Our first guess was that a Beyonce hologram would pop out, but I knew that was too good to be true.  Actually, during the concert these bracelets lit up blue lights on everyone's wrists and let me tell you it looked so cool. Instant light show. The blue one was my ticket to get into the concert and the yellow was to prove I was over 21 to be able to buy alcohol, yes you read right alcohol. We had pondered before this event if alcohol would sold. Since the UAE is a Muslim country alcohol is only sold in the hotels. But to our surprise they had drinks for sale at the Du Arena.  The prices were RIDICULOUS I paid  27$ for a double vodka 7up! Yikes! Just writing that makes me hang my head in shame.  But at the same time they could have charged 100$ and I am sure some people would still have purchased (not me...).

I have to give Jay Z credit, I think that he is one of the few artists that sounds live how he sounds in person.  He sang ALL of his hits old and new. He even brought Timberland to play on the keyboard!

The next day I headed to my home away from home the Corniche. I can never get enough of the beach.  I am still amazed that I can go to the beach in November.  While it is 3c in Montreal it is 33c here in the UAE. 

Then headed to ladies night at my favourite restaurant in Abu Dhabi Cho Gao in the Crowne plaza hotel.  The drinks were delicious! 

National Day is coming up at the end of December.  Everyday at school during the morning assembly the girls give out sweets (usually chocolates) and tea.  They then perform a dance or give a little speech on National Day.
For National Day we are supposed to have a 5 day weekend. Wooooohooo.  I was thinking of going somewhere out of the country, but I think that it a bit much since two weeks later I am going on vacation.
 This is a pin that one of my student's gave me.  On the left is Sheik Khalifa and on the right is the symbol of National Day, all the Sheiks holding the country's flag.  This year will mark the 42nd year of the UAE.  In Al Ain were I live they are doing it up, there are lights on almost every roundabout and it really has a Christmas feel to it. 

I am currently planning my Christmas vacation were I will be going to Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia.

Thank you once again for reading! Please comment if you can so that I know SOMEONE is reading this blog ;)

Thursday, October 31, 2013

I Missed You!

    Hello readers! I have missed you.  I know that I have been gone for too long.  First, I would like to that all of you for reading.   I also never realized how many people actually read and I am flattered.  I have been approached in Abu Dhabi by readers and I appreciate all the love I have received.  I remember when I started on this journey I always wondered why there were so many gaps between posts on other blogs I read and now I understand.  Life here is soooooo busy! Between work, setting up the apartment (I am still not done with that) and making the most of the weekend, there is little time to blog. But I am here now and ready to share what has been happening in the last few weeks. 
    Let me start by saying school isn't that great. The kids try my nerves and do not really listen which sucks for the kids that really want to learn. Since ADEC is like Big Brother and probably reads this blog too, I will leave it at that.

Here are a few pics from the beach in Abu Dhabi. The area is called the Corniche and it is like a boardwalk with restaurants and little food shops.  There is frozen yogurt, a Cold Stone's and even a Cinnabon! Whenever I come to Abu Dhabi I try and come to the beach. I used to go to the public beach, but there were too many men and even in a modest black bathing suit I was getting too many stares ( there were also only about 3 women at the beach), so I have started going to the "family" beach.  You pay 10 dirhams (about 3$) to get in and about 7$ for a chair and an umbrella. The family beach only allows families, females and couples. It is worth the money, no stares and you can enjoy the beach in peach and quiet.

It is crazy to think that in November you can still be at the beach! Love it! 

I know I said I would leave school alone. But there is one thing I will say; students can be very generous.  I told one class that my other class said some mean things to me and the next day I got these:

The camel snow globe is my favourite. 

    I love horror movies and I had read that the UAE had produced its first one (directed by the guy that did Texas Chainsaw Massacre) and it would showing at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, so I bought a ticket.  The showing of Djinn was last Friday at the Emirates Palace Hotel, the fanciest, most beautiful hotel I have ever seen.

I apologize for the quality of the pictures. I really enjoyed the experience. I actually sat in the second row behind the actors and actresses from the movie, they looked like they were at the Oscars, absolutely stunning.  The movie itself centres around Arabic folklore and creatures called Djinns that are evil spirits that can posses people and shapeshift. To be honest the movie wasn't that great and at times it was even comical but all in all I am so happy that I went.

The FiFA U-17 World Cup is presently in the UAE and they were giving free tickets to games. So I snatched up a few to the game in my city last Wednesday. It was Nigeria vs. Iran and it was great! I was reluctant to go out so late on a school night (I try to be in bed by 10pm, since I get up at 5) but it was worth it. 

Once again, very few women in sight and I swear these men act like they have never seen women.  The Nigerian fans were going crazy, they were chanting, they were playing drums and it was such an amazing vibe. Nigeria won 4-1.  I have tickets to the finals next week in Abu Dhabi bit cannot go because I have a friend's birthday and will be lambasted if I do not go to that.

This weekend I am in Abu Dhabi for the Formula 1 races and a Jay Z concert! Woot woot. More pics to come! 

School may suck, but the weekends make everything worth it!!!