Iftar, Camels, Desert driving


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Middle East » United Arab Emirates » Dubai
August 7th 2012
Published: August 7th 2012EDIT THIS ENTRY

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Clockwise from top: pasta salad, hummus, okra salad, bitter gourd salad, crab salad, pineapple salad, lettuce w/ balsamic, dolmah, veggies, and waldorf salad.
First, let me warn you that this will be a long one - a lot happened in the last 24 hours. Fortunately, I got to take some good photos (of more food), with my amazing camera. Ivan came into my office yesterday and said, "Oh wow! You have a G12!" I looked around and said, "I do?" Haha! At least now I know what type of camera I own and that apparently it's amazing. Good job, Ventucky crew! He showed me some more features and could not stop raving about it. So, I realized I should make a better effort of getting to know the individual functions better.

I had an exciting job prospect today; I don't want to go into too much detail about the project, but I really hope we get it and that I will be the lead field geologist/engineer on it. After work, I took the metro to Media City, where I was to meet Jamie for iftar at 7. I got there early, and settled down in the lobby of the Radisson Blu Hotel to read my kindle. I had kind of hoped to wander around this different area of Dubai before meeting her, but
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Clockwise from top: Roasted potatoes, chicken tajine, falafel, rice, veggies, Koosa bi laban, fish salad thing.
a) it was way too hot, and b) they don't call it Media City for nothing: there is literally nothing but media businesses and hotels (with restaurants closed before 7 for Ramadan).

Miss "I have a coupon" arrived right on time, we got our reserved table, looked at each other and hit the buffet. Oh. My. God. There was soooo much food and it all looked so incredibly delicious. I decided I just had to try everything - how often do you go for iftar? - and blessed that all I had to eat all day was a granola bar and a cucumber salad. Speaking of salads, that was my entire first plate. If you will note the Salad Photo, many many types. Going clockwise from the top, were pasta salad, hummus (I put those first two together and it was good), okra salad, bitter gourd salad (my favorite on the plate), crab salad, pineapple salad, lettuce w/ balsamic vinegarette, Dolmah or stuffed grape leaves, cucumbers w/ peppers, and waldorf salad in the middle. Did I mention how yum this was???

I wanted seconds of a few of those things, but the main course called next. I will have to have Zenah tell me what some of these things were because they had specific names. Again, clockwise from the top was roasted potatoes, chicken tajine, falafel with sauce, rice, roasted vegetables, koosa bi laban (literally, "zucchini in yogurt", stuffed with ground beef and my favorite of the night - Zenah said this is like dolmah, only served warm and stuffed with meat) and some kind of fish with pine nuts (Zenah didn't think this was Arabic). There is another picture as we each had a kebab made to order and they delivered it to us when it was ready. I got the beef, which was good, but Jamie got the chicken, which was OHMYGOD good! Seriously, cooked perfectly, mouthwatering and great flavor. Apparently, this is called Shish Taouk.

For the desserts, there were way too many to choose from, and even though I took a lot, I didn't get them all. I am not usually a dessert eater, but I figured I would have to try at least a bit of each. Some of these desserts are ONLY made during Ramadan. Again, I will have to get Zenah to tell what each one is! I know Jamie,
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Clockwise from top: chocolate covered honeydew, Asabea' Zeinab, some Iranian dessert , baklava, Knafeh, and another Iranian dessert
had and recommended, Awamat (basically a doughnut ball) that she called a sugar bomb in your mouth - that was about the worst thing to tell me: no thanks! Again, clockwise from top: chocolate covered honeydew (from the chocolate fountain), some cookie thing called Asabea' Zeinab ("Zeinab's fingers"), some weird thing that I did NOT like (Zenah said this looked Iranian), a "retarded" baklava which was ok, Knafeh (cheese pastry soaked in syrup), and (another potentially Iranian dish) some sticky rice thingy... I wish I would have recorded the names of everything. Dang it! But I definitely know I'm not a dessert person as I was looking longingly at the fruit salad...

This morning, I met the two interns at our office and we had a driver take us on a site visit so I could show them the drilling process. It is a loooong drive to Khor Fakkan, and I tried to get them to talk early. They were pretty quiet though. I was happy because there were camels EVERYWHERE on the way out. Just grazing near the fences, kind of like cows. So cool. I also enjoy the fact that many cars here have a beeping function once you hit 120 km/hr, regardless of the speed limit. Apparently, once you hit 140 on some of these cars, there is a piercing beep that makes you want to rip your head off (or make you want to slow down so it stops).

I showed the boys the rock cut I had previously visited from afar and talked a little bit about what the project entailed. We drove through the mean streets of Khor Fakkan and I noticed this time that the taxis are yet another color. Dubai taxis are that beigey color with muliple colors for roofs (red, green, blue, yellow, pink). Abu Dhabi taxis are sleek and silver, very modern. Sharjah taxis are kind of a limey-yellow color. I haven't been in one, and I don't plan to, but they look similar to the Dubai taxis in set up.

We got to the site, after a bit of off roading, and I talked a little bit of how the drilling process works, the differences between sampling for soils and rock coring, and what the purposes of investigations are. I said if they had more questions they could also ask the drillers - I was
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view down on the two adjacent buildings from my balcony
a little jealous since most everyone was Pakistani so they all could communicate better than with me. I was lucky to understand the driller's name and that he had drilled to 16.5m. The rigs are very different from the ones back in the states, so I am also interested in some of the functions, but with my vast drilling experience, I could just focus and stare for a while and I got the general idea. We also noticed how much cooler it was here than in Dubai. They are nestled in this little bowl in the mountains right on the beach, so they get a good breeze. Definitely worse places to work! (Hey, anytime I don't have to worry about underground utilities, I'm a happy camper anyway).

After about an hour and a half, it was time to return to Dubai. On the way back I also got to see the numerous goats that populate the more mountainous areas, as well as a bunch of donkeys - my first time seeing them in the wild. I saw one from a distance and it was standing so still, I thought maybe it was like a statue or something. Just as
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Nice view, cool breeze - not too shabby
I'm wondering, I saw about 8 others trotting along the side of a house; they were perfectly grey with short black hair and black tail tips. Surprisingly cool. We also stopped at one of those veggie stands, though it was much smaller, so now crazy hard sellers coming after me. I just got two mangoes for 5 dirhams.


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A little off roading adventure on the way to the site


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