Friday, 28 October 2016

P is for Pia

It's been a busy day today. We had to get up just as early as we do on a school day, to get ready and set off to Dubai. It suited really well that the Keys were going to try and get on a flight from Dubai in the morning, as I was taking Lucas up there for a Rugby League game anyway.
The Keys luckily managed to get on their flight just fine; but Lucas and his team unfortunately lost against the Dubai Exiles.

After the long drive back to Abu Dhabi we made a quick change and headed down to Yas Beach. Pia was having her Farewell Party there today, and a group of her friends had met up for the afternoon, and some sundowners.
Unfortunately Nathan had SIM, but the kids and I went and had a great time.

The temperature in the afternoons now is absolutely perfect and we got to enjoy such a stunning sunset. It was really lovely. (I'm still just ignoring the fact that she is leaving in a few days...)

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Keys and Watsons

On Tuesday Nathan got back from Frankfurt early morning, and just after he was home, Dave arrived from Shanghai (well, via London and Dubai..!). They both had a little sleep, kids got home early from school and got to play with their friends in the afternoon; and in the evening we all went to the F1 circuit for a stroll around the track.

During my tourist guide course I learned many things that I didn't know before. For example that the circuit is built in the shape of a caracal, a pistol they used in the old days here in the UAE. Also that every grandstand is covered, and the tents were inspired by the bedouin tents. All in line with connecting the past with the present, as they do in so many places here.

There is a shortcut option, but we did the whole thing. Kids did really well.

Yesterday we had a day at the Fairmont. Lovey to lazy around in the sun.

This week has gone by too fast!
Today the Keys will do Ferrari World while the kids are at school. I have Zumba and Nathan is off to the SIM. Tonight they'll come along to the kids' rugby practice; they sure get to see many different sides of Abu Dhabi living!

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

I did it!!

This week it was time for all of us in the Tourist Guide course to be put through the test. After a long week of training last week, this Monday and Tuesday were both final exam days.
Monday started in the bus. I was lucky enough to go on as third person, so after my turn (I got the Corniche and the Landmark) I could just sit back and relax for the rest of the tour. I actually got to listen to the others rather than sit and frantically try to prepare for my turn.

After lunch we did the oral presentations. We had been given a list of 40 Abu Dhabi subjects we were to be able to present. One tourism information item, and one culture and heritage subject. They got given out at random, and we had three minutes to present each subject in front of the group. Here's my Turkish friend Ayçe, talking about the history of the oil industry in Abu Dhabi:

I was so lucky to manage to avoid the few subjects I was unsure of and instead I got to talk about Arabian Coffee, the Date Palm, Yas Waterworld and Zayed Sports City. Easy peasy!

We didn't get any results after the first day.
Tuesday morning we were back to sit the written exam of 100 questions, and after that we got to anxiously wait the results. We all got called back in one by one, and found out our fate.

Quite a few got "Fail" actually. All of them for messing up their bus exam, which seemed to be the bit the examiners really focused on the most. A few of the "fails" were rather surprising, so all of us ended up getting really nervous while waiting our turn. The atmosphere in the waiting area was tense!

But - I passed!
I am now an officially licensed Tourist Guide in Abu Dhabi! Yay me!

It's been over 20 years since I last worked as a tour guide (by the way --- OMG how time flies!!), but I guess some of it was still there. It certainly feels like I've come full circle, and gone back to my roots! It's been a long, tough training to get through; especially since it had been a while I had been focusing, concentrating and learning at that pace... - but now I just can't wait to get started! Wii-hoo!

Look who's here!

As they were going to fly stand by tickets, we didn't know until the very last minute if they were going to come or not - but they did! Look!

Unfortunately the Thursday evening flights were too full, so they didn't make it here in time to join us for the Friday Brunch, but they came Friday evening and we had a fun Saturday together before the school week started again for our kids.
We took them to the Marina Mall to burn some energy off at the new Bounce:

Anna and I met in Horsham just after Linnea was born. Cameron is actually just three months older than Linnea, but he's rather tall..! Maya has just turned 8.

On Sunday while our kids were at school we went to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. It really is a must when you visit Abu Dhabi, but also it was a good practice for me before the two exams I was going to have on the Monday.

A new favourite shot for me - look at the reflection... This place is so absolutely stunning...

Since I was there last time they had replaced all the abayas! Now they were a lot more colourful!

Sunday afternoon after school we took them out into the desert for a little bit of a sand experience. We saw some camels on the way there, played in the dunes and enjoyed the sunset.

Our plan was to have our dinner out there in the dunes, but I had brought along one of those disposable BBQs that apparently was too old, so we couldn't get it to light up...

... so dinner had to be enjoyed back home in the kitchen instead! Ah well!


Monday I had my exam, so Anna and the kids spent their day at the Yas Beach while our kids were at school, and after we had all met up back home again we took a little evening trip to Yas Mall.
We wanted to show them the Rogos rollercoaster restaurant which is always a hit with kids:

Monday, 24 October 2016

366 in 2016 - September

Linnea's Birthday Brunch

The birthday girl and I in the taxi:

Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, of course!

We had decided to go for a Friday Brunch on Linnea's birthday. Mainly to celebrate her of course and we all love our brunching, but it was also going to be Pia & co's last Friday Brunch, and - we were expecting visitors from the UK to arrive in the morning, so we were going to introducing them to Abu Dhabi the best way we know!
They didn't arrive until in the evening though, so in the end it was just the Hybholts and us.