Sunday, December 19, 2010

She's Here! (Day 5)

Our weekend in Ras al Khaimah was pretty outstanding.


With the sheiks.
Clockwise from the top left: the late Papa Zayed (beloved founder of the UAE); Sheik Khalifa (President of UAE and current Sheik of Abu Dhabi); Sheik Mohamad (Vice President of UAE and Sheik of Dubai); the late Sheik Saqr (Sheik of Ras Al Khaimah*; Sheik Saud (the current Sheik of Ras Al Khaimah)**; Sheik Mohamad (Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi)

My former vice-principal and her husband may be some of the kindest people I've ever met. They are welcoming, fun-loving, thoughtful, generous, and absolute aces in the arena of hospitality.

After a breakfast of pancakes and special mountain honey, we headed off to the market to buy
fish for our big Friday meal.




When the menfolk went to the mosque around 1:00, the ladies started cooking. S. grilled the fish, I chopped up the salad, and together with the maid, we made two different types of rice. By the time they came back, we were ready to sit together on the living room floor and eat (and eat and eat!).

Z helps me figure out if I need to add more salt to our Arabic salad.

In the late afternoon we headed out to the desert for a picnic. (Yes, I know--we're eating again! We pretty much ate all weekend.)


We stopped en route to visit some camels.

We also took a spin on the boys' "daraja" or dirt bikes.


M and I after our turn.


A giving Caitlin the bike basics.


M posing after the picnic.

The day also included several games of Uno, shopping at the old souk, a trip to the beach, and trying more traditional Arabic treats like uber sweet date pudding and thick, milky, red-seed syrup. It was late by the time we built a fire and sat around eating dinner under the stars. Although we started with some bonfire story-telling, the entertainment quickly turned to joke-telling. Not sure if I can remember the last time I laughed so hard. Maybe you had to be there, but we all found these and these and these to be irresistibly funny.

-m.

* Sheik Saqr passed away in October; at his death, he was the "longest-serving ruler" in the world
**Want to read about a coup attempt? Head here to get the scoop on the non-violent tussle between Sheik Saud and Sheik Khaled.

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