Alexis M Spencer


Alexis M Spencer

I am an engineer on my first international field assignment. I started out in incredible Dubai, but the geology and projects in Qatar turned out to be more interesting.

North America » United States » California » Ventura April 19th 2014

After my amazing flight and a quick checkin through customs, I was able to quickly get my bags and boarded the crowded bus to the car rental agency - Thrifty. It was difficult to maneuver all my bags once I got off the bus and through the line to get my car. I'd ordered a mid-size SUV and when I went to pick it, I saw a beautiful bright blue Ford Escape - my baby! I went straight for it, but it was locked, so i picked a Nissan Rogue - it was an ok car, but the one thing I didn't like is that it was difficult to get in and out of for a short person. It was 4:15 and I hoped that I would miss the main crush of rush hour traffic on ... read more
The VPT crew and friends
Disc golf at Lake Casitas
Ron and Liam harassing the naughty gophers

Middle East » United Arab Emirates » Dubai April 9th 2014

Due to the long flight I had planned and my much needed real vacation time, I looked into flying Business Class... just on a whim. Lo and behold! I saw great deals on Emirates! Not only that, the deals were on the A380 - the largest passenger jet in the world! The price was just a little more than twice the price of Economy, so I went for it - 16 hour flight on Emirates in business? Yep - made total sense! (I've been unable to find the same deal for any time recently - I'd love to fly my parents in, but I can only splurge so much!) Can I just say - wow! Wow. Wow. WOW! Was it totally worth it! From beginning to end. I was able to check in pretty quickly and ... read more
Plenty of legroom
My own drink storage and charging area

Middle East » Jordan » West » Al Karak March 31st 2014

I had a good sleep after the day at Petra, so we went down early for breakfast at the El-Rashid Hotel. Again, this is budget, so the breakfast was very limited, but was not bad. I think they may make you an omelette upon request, but we just had bread and labneh, with tea/coffee. Then we took off. We decided to head down the road less travelled and made our way towards Little Petra. Unfortunately, we took a wrong turn somewhere because the signs were not very forthcoming. We followed signs to Wadi Araba, but this is on the flatlands west of the mountains, which meant we took a windy mountain road that wound up ending in a gravel road with potholes. We were unsure how much further it was, so we turned back and found ... read more
Al Karak Castle
View to the Dead Sea from Al Karak
Al Karak Castle

Middle East » Jordan » South » Petra March 30th 2014

Today is the day. I'm so excited! I've been wanting to see Petra for ages and I was so ready to get this adventure started! We had a good breakfast at Bait Ali Camp, where they baked us bread, made me eggs, and allowed me to sip some good tea in peace. Then it was time to high tail it to Petra! We chugged our way up the big grade out of Wadi Rum area and into the hills, where we veered left for the road to Petra. Holy crap - I knew there were some mountains, but this road reminded me of the Santa Monica Mountains between the 101 and the Bu. And we were going 100 kph (Matt was driving...) There was a cool sign where there is an incline and a car heading ... read more
The treasury
Garden temple
The Monastery

Middle East » Jordan » South » Wadi Rum March 29th 2014

Matt and I slept in a little and got a good breakfast at our hotel (Century Park). We were able to get on the road around 9am and headed south towards Wadi Rum. Yep. It was pretty much all desert on the way there - I drove the whole way and it was nice to have a road trip without too many crazies trying to kill me. We took the Desert Highway down, which was not in the best condition and had speedbumps that came seemingly out of nowhere. However, I became an expert in recognizing and expecting them - generally at the edges of town. Generally the ride was desert, but as you approach the Wadi Rum area, you come across a spectacular view of the valley below. We were a little lost when we ... read more
Wadi Rum
Bait Ali Camp
Choo-choo-train sign

Middle East » Jordan » North » Amman March 28th 2014

I have lived in the Middle East for almost two years now, but coming to Jordan is the first time I feel like I dove headfirst into Arabic culture. From start to finish. First was the plane ride from Doha. I was seated near the back of the plane wear a Qatari man was traveling with his hooded falcon. A falcon!! Not in a cage! Just chillin... Apparently he was $26,000 and one of only five falcons that can catch a certain type of bird, so he was going on a hunting trip to Jordan. Then we arrived at Queen Alia International Airport - not too shabby. But it was funny to see that the many lines for Jordanians far exceed the three small lines for all other nationalities - this is one of the first ... read more
Arabic Dinner with Friends
Downtown Amman
Queen Alia International Airport

Europe » Czech Republic » Prague March 16th 2014

"I know you can be overwhelmed and you can be underwhelmed.... but can you ever just be whelmed?" "I think you can in Europe..." Who would have ever thought that quote (any guesses from what movie?) would enter my existence? But I think that pretty much sums up my experience. I actually waited this long to write this final Prague blog (combined days 3 & 4, which is unusual for me) because I left the city feeling dejected. Wow - that was difficult to write, but yes, this is my final impression of Prague. How unfortunate! This is a city that I've longed to see for years! That my friends long to see or one they love! A truly beautiful city with fantastic people. I read on trip advisor some recommendations from a woman who claimed ... read more
Took a walk around Prague my last night there
Powder Tower
Rainy day

Europe » Czech Republic » Prague March 14th 2014

Well, I'm not going out at night and going crazy here. I'm too old and too tired! :) This morning I was so looking forward to my trip to Kutna Hora - it is about an hour bus ride southeast of Prague and contains a huge cathedral and a "Bone Church". The multiple guides I looked at said it was a daily trip at 10am and to look for the green umbrella. I saw the closest thing that looked like a green umbrella at 9:40 and approached her - she said "Oh, we don't do that trip today. Come back tomorrow at 11." What the.... ? I was mad, but didn't know what to do because i had my day planned with that in mind. I wandered around the Old Town Square, ignoring the many many ... read more
St Vitus Cathedral
Prague Castle

Europe » Czech Republic » Prague March 13th 2014

"Americans are all fat!" This was the answer Jana Dolezalova, an exchange student, gave to our 12-grade economics teacher when he asked what her first impression of America was. She didn't make a lot of friends that day... And my first impression of Czech, well, it really has nothing to do with the girth of its citizens. However, I'm seeing a lot of pot-bellies when I expected to see leggy models. Hmmm.... At least I know why: Beer. Nowadays, since I don't drink much anymore after living in the Middle East for almost two years, one beer and I'm done. But I've heard incredible things about the various Bohemian beers and judging by the number of pubs, I have my choice. So, I need to make these beers worth it. I won't go into the details ... read more
Tyn Cathedral
Honey Lager
Hotel Friday room

Middle East » United Arab Emirates » Dubai March 1st 2014

Saturday, we slept in a little bit then headed down to Abu Dhabi for another fun day. I was just discussing with Jamie regarding activities here. There is a LOT to do in Dubai and this area in general, but it can get expensive. Look at Friday: Burj Khalifa - 125 AED, Lunch - 50 AED, Shopping (!?!?), Cooking class - 300AED, VIP Movie - 100AED. That's one day. However, aside from gas and a minimal park fee, and dinner, Saturday was almost free! Jamie was kind enough to drive us all to Abu Dhabi for the Red Bull Air Race. We thought it started at 2pm, but it turns out that was the start time for Friday; on Saturday, the start time was 4:30. Emirates Palace - Free So, we caught a cab and headed ... read more
Tina and Melinda at Emirates Palace
Gold Machine at Emirates Palace
Red Bull Air Race

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