Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Always look on the bright side of life...

Today I present a guide to surviving much of 2 weeks in a hotel as one of the world's premier tourist destinations beckons from outside...and you don't have means of transportation.

1. In order to not eat your offspring to get rid of them like some sort of crazed insect, savor every teensy tiny cute thing they do. Thomas is running around the hotel room with a spatula and cup, dipping the spatula into the cup and sweeping it across the walls "Paint! Paint!"
Bethy did this writing during her quiet time (ie naptime, without the baby stigma of actual napping, and probably without any sleeping either).
Both kids came up with their forms of amusement all by themselves. This earns them double brownie points in my book.

2. Brave the wrath of those who undoubtedly know better and take your kids outside to get the heck out, even if just for a little while. Snap photos of your children even though the humidity fogs up your lens. Pretend you used some sort of cool photo filter.

3. Let the kids watch TV while you blog relentlessly.

4. Take photographs of anything that holds still long enough. This will distract you from the small noisy blurs that are your children.

5. Look for new and exciting diversions to try and keep the kids from making you eat them to dispose of them like some sort of crazed insect. (Wait, am I harping on that idea? That can't be a good sign.)
We saw some tree sprouts in the sand and then we saw a small empty pot from the planned plantings nearby.
Taking the pot, we filled it with sand. One of the gardeners suddenly appeared. He spoke no English, but immediately grasped why we were grubbing about in his sand. He assisted us as we carefully pulled up some sprouts and settled them into the pot to take home. He also gifted Bethy with a small bouquet of Frangipani blossoms (photo accompanying helpful hint #4), a delightful and thoughtful man.

One of the security guards came over and the gardener disappeared, like something out of 1001 Arabian Nights. Less than half a second and he was gone. I didn't see a puff of smoke, but then, perhaps I was looking in the wrong direction at the time.

The caste system here is apparent to even the most dense foreigner. When we came home in a taxi the other day with the groceries, the taxicab driver carried them (unasked) up the stairs. Immediately the doorman barked at him and he put the bags down at the top of the stairs and made himself scarce, not even looking back as I tried to express my thanks. Imperiously, the doorman took possession of the bags and escorted us to our room, then quickly disappeared as well.

"My! People come and go so suddenly in this place!"
-Dorothy Gale of Kansas

The reason behind my listing of survival tips as opposed to photographs of us finally at the beach comes courtesy of a certain husband of mine, who left for work at 4:30 this morning, and though he was getting a ride, absent-mindedly (and quite tiredly, I'm sure) put the car keys in his pocket. Unfortunately the car seats are also locked in the car, so there went any chance for glamorous plans for the day.

However, just when I thought I might have to spend the rest of the day plotting his untimely but cleverly disguised demise, he forwarded this email from HR:

Hi Mike

Just to let you know we have received your work permit. We will have your employment visa in the next couple of days.

Life is GOOD!! All is well!!! Yippee and hoorah and then some!!!

I shall get a babysitter for tomorrow night and we shall celebrate while we happen to discover more of the culinary delights the city has to offer.

Mike and I looked at each other last night on our way to Ibn Battuta (as we were trying to decide if anyone would notice if -whoops how did that happen? -we were short a kid or two when we returned), and agreed that a nice glass of wine would be awfully good right now. The visa will not only keep us here, but will also pave the way for our obtaining an alcohol purchase license. In the meantime, oh darn, guess we have to go out.

Perhaps the children won't be sold for medical experiments after all. This will please the grandparents no end.

In order to please Sherri, she who must be pleased , here are some photos from Ibn Battuta Mall.
The Starbucks in my (so far) favorite part of the mall "Persia". The dome above is absolutely huge and gorgeous.
This guy cracked me up, waiting resignedly on a bench with a stuffed-full-of-shopping-bags shopping cart, the rest of his family undoubtedly off acquiring more. Some things are universal.
And finally, this sign which tells me that Allah is great.


Matt & Kim Fairbanks said...

I'm am so thoroughly enjoying your blog. I can't believe how far away you are and what interesting things you are doing! What an AMAZING experience for all of you. I can't wait to hear/see what you post next! Love to all! -Kim & Family

Natalie said...

Thanks Kim! I know how busy you are, so it's way cool you're checking in on us.:) Congratulations on your expecting a little girl. We couldn't be happier for you and Matt and Molly. How was Spain?

The funny thing is, no matter how much I post, it seems like I always have MORE to say, (this place is just so exciting!) so I'm starting to keep a little notebook of ideas for later posts. You won't be able to shut me up! :)Thanks again for the encouragement. Love,

sherrip said...

Oh Natalie!
I've been busy of late and hadn't had time to check on the blog. But the mall pictures, especially the Starbucks! You are the best. That is definitely a cool mall and I feel so much better for having seen it :)