This was hard with places, harder with people. Dubai expats are depressingly good at good-byes. Lots of practice, you see.
I have mentioned before that we have two groups of friends in Dubai, which overlap slightly. One group is Mike's co-workers. The other group consists of my running buddies. To celebrate and say our farewells to the first group, we went out for a typically Dubai-esque and therefore lavish Friday Brunch with some 30 folks from Mike's work. While there I discovered a particularly fabulous cocktail. Martini glasses filled with snow-white cotton candy, over which was poured fresh lime juice and gin.
Twas tasty, and quite beautiful. I made sure to appreciate several of them.
The other group. the runners, was, for me, harder to say good-bye to. For one thing, once you've run with someone else mad enough to attempt it in the Middle East, there's a certain indescribable camaraderie that runs deep.
So I ran one last nighttime run with Graham along our route on Umm Sequim Beach, the light show of the Burj Al Arab above us, the adhān (Islamic call to prayer) ringing out from the mosques and through the dark around us as we pounded the sidewalks and jumped over fishing lines strung out to dry. It was 106 degrees when we finished.
And a last run with Vicki and Linda, so humid that the camera lens fogged and fogged again from the heat and we couldn't get a great photo. Probably best, we were soaked and not looking our feminine best.
Then a last early morning distance run with the Dubai Creek Striders, having somehow convinced John and Nigel to join me (fools), including a brief, refreshing respite on an abra (water ferry) across Dubai Creek at the middle of the 17 kilometers (a lifesaver, we really were dying and desperate for a break), and posing with the iconic Emirates Towers after we completed the darn thing.
We might have been a little punchy.
The most touching good-bye of all, in many ways, was the last Predictor race Bethy and I ran at Safa Park.
Here she is, flying to the finish line. Even though I was accused, half in jest, of child abuse for allowing her to run in the hideous heat, all the Dubai Road Runners cheered her in.
She is running with John and that huffing and puffing is probably me trying to recover from my two lap craziness.
Some things are just wonderful. No matter where she goes, I know Bethy will get the same strength and pride from knowing that she ran in Dubai, with the love and encouragement of her friends and family.