Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Watch you smile while you are sleeping, while you're far away...

A post about even more trivial stuff.

Life is in the details.

When the room guys came in today they asked "where is the small one, ma'am?"

Taking his nap, I told them.
So they tiptoed in to check on him.

A bit about the sand: when we first arrived we noticed a scent in the air, a light sawdusty aroma. I think it must be the smell of the sand. There is a thin layer of fine soft sandy dust everywhere.

In the mornings, if I walk out onto the balcony and it's humid enough I get a bit of mud. By mid-morning, though, it's turned back into the inoffensive sand-dust, if the room guys don't get it first.

There are workers everywhere working extremely hard to obliterate the dust, constantly sweeping and polishing with brooms and wet rags, with impressive results. Most likely thanks to their efforts I have yet to see even the smallest piece of litter.

The battle with the potty continues. I think we may have found the winning combination: if you press both buttons and hold them down forever that seems to do the job. Otherwise you just get a rush of water and, well, pulverised potty contents, whatever they may be. This is no good, especially with people coming to clean the potties for us! As Thomas would say, Ew, ewwww!

On our third visit to Costa Coffee, Michael, who waited on us the first time, greeted us at the door. "The usual, Ma'am?" I was startled. I didn't know that 3 visits, not in a row, constituted having a "usual". He carefully told me exactly what we'd ordered last time(which included a split blended drink for Thomas and Bethy ), I nodded, still slightly flustered at such service, and shepherded the kids to the cushy leather chairs. When I told Mike about it he wasn't the least bit surprised. Another case of that's how it is here.

Geez, one of my life goals back in the States was to be rich enough to be able to afford good service. Check! Life is good.

The "usual" for me, since we're dwelling on the mundane and trivial, is an espresso Frescatta. I have never had such a good coffee drink, and that's saying something. Blended and frothy, with lots of crunchy espresso bean bits. Heavenly!

Yesterday I braved a taxi to come home from the grocery store with the kids since it really was blazing hot. and they didn't want to walk any more. I can carry groceries, and Thomas, but not Bethy too. The driver took off before the children were entirely buckled in, and seemed surprised that I had any objection to this. I was already nervous about having them not strapped into car seats, despite the very short distance. The ride cost 5 dirham, and I gave the driver 2 dhs as a tip for stopping in the correct place and driving relatively conservatively. About $2 total, but I won't do it with the kids again.

We have an extensive list of TV channels to peruse here. Unfortunately the list doesn't say which numbers coincide with which stations, and I haven't found a TV schedule yet. We've found some good stations for the kids. Essential when you spend most of the day inside and the car rental company hasn't cleared me for takeoff yet. Yesterday Bethy watched the Jetsons. Now normally I'm not that big of a fan of the Jetsons, but it was in Arabic. "La la la, Rosie!!!" She watched the whole thing.

Awesome. I'm on the lookout for dubbed I Love Lucy episodes now.

The kids especially like JimJam channel which has lots of the UK shows they are familiar with from back home, Thomas the Tank Engine, (Sir Topham Hat has reverted to his original moniker:"The Fat Conductor" here, for those of you who are familiar with the series, ie anyone with boys), Angelina Ballerina, Kipper the Dog, and Rubber Dubbers. Bob the Builder has the same episodes, but the actors who do the voices here are quite broadly British, saying things like "cor!" and Bob has the most pretentious British accent you can imagine. Bethy keeps saying "Listen to Scoop! Lofty sounds different! Wendy sounds different!" She seems amused rather than distressed about this.

There are lots of Al Jazeera channels, and I think 5 Iran channels. We tend toward BBC Food, the Travel Channel, CNN. There are 163 channels, the last one being Dubai Racing, showing Black Beauty tonight, I notice.

The daily newspaper brought to the room each morning hasn't gotten the attention I'd like to give it. It's fascinating to read the same sorts of headlines as back home, but with the Middle Eastern perspective. "Iran Angers West with Nuclear Testing", "Palestine Welcomes Home Heroes" (the Israelis describe this as exchanging prisoners for bodies). Then there was today's huge headline. Madeline Albright would approve.

I also read an article admonishing women not to use lightening creams on their babies or eat only white foods while pregnant in a vain attempt to have a light-skinned baby, but rather to accept the beauty of all skin colors. They must find the tanning toasting flesh out by the pool inconceivable.

Someone asked if all the photos on here are mine. You may assume that they are. If I use someone else's they'll credited.

I had housekeeping send us a babysitter so I could go running today. The kids loved her. About $20 for a minimum of 2 hours. I only had scheduled one hour, but went ahead and paid her for the 2, letting her go at one. (Pushover, I know, but she was a sweetheart. I shall schedule better next time).

Naturally I chose high noon for my trial run, the worst part of the day. Looking to challenge myself. Let me tell you right now, people: running in the middle of the day in the Middle East is no joke.

I have no idea how far I went, but I was out there for 30-40 minutes, more than long enough to run a 5k at my very slowest, and I wasn't going my slowest. It actually felt as though my skin was burning, that way-too-close-to-the-fire sensation, when I slowed down and didn't get the wind factor.

I'd gone out with a frozen bottle of water, topping it with one inch of cold water, figuring that when it was almost thawed I'd head back. I thought to be safe I'd sort of circle near home, never be more than 1/2 mile away.

At 108 F ("feels like 118", according to TWC, and 31% humidity, not too bad,) I think I went less than a mile before it was completely melted. This was a bottle that was frozen solid.

When I came back I went straight to the shower, putting a cold washcloth on my neck while I stripped and was that ever a good shower. My ears were ringing, something that usually happens after a serious sprint at the end of a race, but my breathing was back to normal before I was even in the room, so I took that as a favorable sign. The red cheeks you see in the photograph are after at least 10 minutes of cold water (and when it started to heat up a bit I swore internally. I wanted Arctic! I wanted glacial! Bring on the cold!) and at least 20 minutes of air conditioning after that.

Mmmmmmmmmm, toasty.

The next time I run I hope to be with the Dubai Creek Striders at 6 AM on Saturday. Now, they know when to run, and now I know I can hang with the distance.

For those of you who think I'm crazy, I offer the following evidence:

Gotta be fast to keep up with these two.


sherrip said...

Sounds fascinating over there! You are CRAZY to run in that weather. Just thinking about running in that heat makes me flushed (just thinking about running makes me flushed!) I wish I didn't have to tell you the high yesterday here was not even 70. Downright cold!

Natalie said...

I'm crazy! Crazy runnin' fool! Bruhahahahaha!

But I'm fun to talk to. :)

Did I mention I was running in long pants?

sherrip said...

(Yes, you are fun to talk to)