Friday, February 18, 2011


 Freshly washed, waxed, and detailed.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Musandam, Oman

We ventured north into the country of Oman last weekend. The destination, the Musandam Peninsula. We woke at 4 AM on Friday, drove to Dubai, and were picked up by our driver at 6 AM. By 10 AM we were on a traditional wooden dhow boat for a six hour tour of the Fjords. The entire peninsula consists of mountains of rock with steep cliffs dropping into crystal clear, tourquoise water. There were schools of dolphins and brightly colored tropical fish everywhere. By the time we make our next trip to Musandam, we should (Insha'Allah) be PADI certified scuba divers.

After the dhow boat ride, another boat took us to the harbor outside the fishing village of Khasab. There, we boarded a 115 foot sailboat for dinner and over night accomodation in one of the eight state rooms. Besides the four staff members, we had the whole boat to ourselves. A perfect meal and a perfect sunset made for a perfect kick off to a romantic Valentine's Day.

Friday, February 4, 2011


For Aaron's last days in the UAE, we took him to Dubai. No trip to the Middle East is complete without seeing Abu Dhabi's sister city. It was great to finally have some visitors and a really fun week. Anyone and everyone is welcome to come for a visit any time. Until then...

Skyscrapers along Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai.

View of the Dubai Marina from our hotel balcony.

The Jumeirah Beach Residences in the Dubai Marina.

The beach out in front of our hotel.

The Fountain inside the Dubai Mall.

Lunch at a sidewalk cafe overlooking the Dubai Fountain.

Drinks at the One and Only Hotel Rooftop.

Overlooking the Dubai Marina from the Rooftop.

View of the Palm Jumeirah from the Rooftop.

Dinner at Madinat Jumeirah with friends.

After dinner boat ride on an Arabic Abra.

The Burj Al Arab Hotel from the Abra.

Burj Khalifa - At The Top

The world's fastest elevator took us from the ground to the 124th floor of the world's tallest building at a speed of 59 feet per second. The Burj Khalifa (named after the President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi) is 160 stories and 2,716.5 feet in height. The observation deck is named At The Top, but as it is only on the 124th floor, it's not really at the top. Still, the view is impressive. But, from that height, you can really get a sense of the toll the recession took on Dubai. As a city, Dubai had some lofty goals and expectations, as can be seen in these photos. The vacant lots around the Burj Khalifa represent stalled projects and only one of the World Islands off the coast have been developed. Dubai is still impressive in its grandeur and a fun place to visit.

Burj Khalifa

Emirates Palace

More grandiose and oppulent than the one shown in Sex and the City 2; the real Emirates Palace is over the top and the perfect symbol of Abu Dhabi. We stopped by one evening for coffee and dessert on the beach.

Kayaking in the Mangroves

Abu Dhabi may be a desert city, but along its coastline are 5,600 acres of natural mangrove forests and the best way to experience the mangroves is by kayak. Aaron and Jessica hired a guide and rented a kayak one afternoon and went out exploring. There's such a stark contrast between all the construction occuring in the City and the peaceful nature of the mangroves. It's hard to beleive that these two facets of Abu Dhabi are occuring in harmony of each other. Most of the mangrove forests are on the eastern side of Abu Dhabi Island, about a block from our villa. Our proximity to the mangrove forests and the kayak launch has us considering the purchase of our own kayaks.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is the eighth largest mosque in the world and the largest mosque in the UAE. It can accomodate 40,000 worshippers under its 82 domes and holds the world record for The Largest Carpet and The Lagest Chandelier. Women are asked to wear the traditional Muslim Abaya as a sign of respect.

Desert Safari

Brian's brother Aaron was our first visitor in Abu Dhabi and we spent a week showing him around Abu Dhabi and Dubai. One of our first outings was a desert safari complete with dune bashing in a 4x4, a trip to a camel farm to sample fresh camel milk, sand boarding, camel rides, dinner around a camp fire, and an after dinner toke on a traditional Arabic shisha pipe.