Why Write?

Originally, I created this blog to document my trip to India. Upon my return, I realized that I couldn't shake the writing bug.
So, feel free to read about my adventures in India and stay tuned for my traveling updates!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Foreign Propositions

There are certain things about living in the Middle East that a Western woman will never get used to, one of them is the fact that men think they can "buy you." Over the past six months, I have mentally recorded each of these encounters and have even given names to each of my perpetrators. I used to be afraid of these confrontations. Now, each time I am propositioned, it makes me stronger, more defiant, and aware of my surroundings. I am no longer shocked by these men's suggestions. However, I have decided it's time to expose the truth. Here is the catalog of my encounters. I have broken them down into two categories, “One Time Offenders” and “Common Offenders.”

One Time Offenders

Danny Zuko (from Grease):
While walking back to my car at a convenient store, this man proceeded to pull along side of my car. He asked if I "needed a ride." He continued to haggle me by suggesting, "I can take you anywhere you need to go." Even after I got into my vechicle he waited along side of my car. I shoed him out of the way and drove off. Sure buddy! I really need a ride! LAME!

Donald Trump:
This guy was a real charmer. After I left McDonalds, he had the audacity to ask me, "HOW MUCH?" I must confess, I had already had a long week at work and was not in the mood. This one got a vicious answer and I spurted back repeatedly in a booming voice, "I AM NOT A PROSTITUTE!!!" At least this one apologized. Like he could afford me anyway! Ha!

This scrawny man tried to convince me that I was a princess. "Pick Me" "Pick Me" "Pick ME" he kept saying.
 Dude! Calm yourself!
Mr. Chivalry:
This charmer paid for my meal at KFC. I should have known not to accept favors. He gave me his business card and said, "please call me, I am free tonight."

Car Stalker #1:
This past summer my bloody car broke down so I had to walk to and from work. One day, this guy pulled along side of me in his car and asked, "How much?" I didn't respond and kept walking forward. Then he tried a different approach, "Do you need a ride?" I told him to bug off!
 I had to walk with him pestering me like that for an entire block!
Car Stalker #2:
This time, I was walking to the grocery store to get some milk. FYI, If I am going to walk somewhere by myself, I always take the busiest streets. However, on this day, even the crowded streets didn't keep me from harm. Same type of situation, this guy sees me while driving down the street. He slows his car down and propositioned me. This guy wouldn't give it up so I yelled at him, "LEAVE ME ALONE." Finally, he drove off. The creep was still looking at me from his rear view mirror.

Common Offenders
(too many to count)
Taxi Drivers:
These guys aren't really taxi drivers. They pull up and ask if I "need a ride." As if?
Are you Russian?:
I have gotten this line a few times. Guys ask me if I'm a Russian hooker. I guess I do have blonde hair and my grandmother was Ukrainian. I can see how they would get confused.
Giggling School Boys:
Here’s a shout out to all of the Pakistani and Indian Men. They see me and start whispering and pointing in my direction. Often I hear giggles as they stare my way. They remind me of little boys. Luckily, these types of men never approach me!
Whistle in the Wind:
These are the type of men who will slow down, roll down their car windows, and whistle at me while I am walking down the street. It even happens at stoplights when I am in the safety of my car. Just the other day, I caught a group of policemen, riding in their work vehicle, smiling, winking, and waving at me. Seriously! What's with these people? It's irritating! 

The Truth of the Matter

My friend Jody, AKA Joseph, thinks that someone will one day make a book out of my crazy travel adventures! Who knows? Maybe he's correct! Between my personal life and my travels, I certainly have enough drama to make a best seller!

Now to my friends and family reading this from back home. Please don't worry about me. I don't walk around in mini skirts and I don't show any cleavage (not that I have it anyway). But, you get the picture, I dress modestly. I have learned to fend for myself over here. With everything going on back in "America," I often wonder if I am in a safer location than you guys??! 

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Grinch Who Stole Christmas!

Oh Christmas, how I love thee! Honestly, I love everything about you!  I love you for the energy that you emulate. I love you for your food. I love you for your music and holiday cheer. I love you for your craft projects and decorating ideas.
I love you because you make me feel young again and that is surely something I never want to forget.

Can you recall the blissful reminder of the years gone by? You know, when life was simple and everything made sense? Oh how I love the fury of events leading up to Christmas. Colorful trees decorated with handmade popcorn garlands. Festive lights. Maddening Christmas cookie sessions. Holiday parties. Extended family gathering together to sing carols. Pollyanna gift exchanges. I can remember every detail as if it were yesterday. Just the thought of you, dear Christmas, fills me with true happiness and joy.

What about this one? Do you remember the pure agony of trying to fall to sleep on Christmas Eve? You know, those sleepless nights where your excited heart couldn't seem to find rest?  "What will I get this year?" you would ask yourself.
All the world knows that it's nearly impossible to sleep on Christmas Eve!

Most importantly, Christmas, you remind me of everything important in life; family and friends! Wasn't it just yesterday that my family celebrated this holiday in one location? Sigh. This year my Dad is in Hong Kong, I'm in Bahrain, and the rest of the family is in Colorado. But, I can't dwell on such things. I may have caved and allowed myself five minutes of nostalgic memories but it's time to plod forward.

Even though I love you dearly Christmas, I have decided to boycott you this year! 

I haven't purchased any gifts.  I don't have a Christmas tree. I didn't make any Christmas cards and I haven't written a Christmas newsletter. No church to go to on Christmas Eve in this Muslim country.

Somehow, my roommate has convinced me to cook a Christmas dinner with him. How did that happen? How did I find myself if the role of hosting a dinner party? Our other roommate is in Scotland and she is the "queen of the kitchen." We will miss her skills dearly in the kitchen and will have to make do on our own.

It's funny because I wanted to sit at home and avoid Christmas altogether. I guess I thought it would be too painful to participate.  I have been joking with my friends that I feel like Scrooge this year because of my lack of Christmas spirit.

What's a Christmas Junkie to do in a foreign land? 
Well, I'll tell you. As this will be my first "non-traditional" Christmas away from my family, I want to do it in style. Therefore, I have decided to spend my day dressed as, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas! Yep! I have the whole costume lined up! Green tights, long, creepy nails, and green hair dye. I'm going for the look of," Sassy Grinch" so I won't be painting my face green. I even have a Santa corset to top it off.

Stay tuned for my adventures as the Grinch Who Stole Christmas!

PS-For my followers, I will be writing the final entry of Car Bodies and Batteries soon! As of late, my work and personal life has gotten the best of me!!!!

This is How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Friday, December 21, 2012

Car Batteries and Body Bags-Part 3

So, where did we leave off last? Yes, that's right. Miss Amy was in a taxi cab riding out to the town of Sitra. She arrived right before the store closed. In she entered, with determination written all over her face. She navigated her way through the language barrier and managed to purchase a shinny new car battery. This small triumph caused her to stroll back to the taxi with a look of pride on her face. She had done it! It almost felt like Christmas! Or, so she thought.

Miss Amy brought the battery home and called up her friend for help. Together, they attempted to install the battery. The only problem was the clerk had sold them the wrong battery model. The terminals were on the wrong side of the car battery!!! Chalk it up to miscommunication??? More phone calls, more delays, and it became evident that this ordeal was far from over. The bloody store was closed for the next four days and Miss Amy had to wait for what seemed like an eternity for a chance to exchange the car battery!

The time finally arrived when she could take a second trip out to Sitra. This time, she brought her trusted friend along for company. It was a smart move on her part because the store did not have the correct battery. They learned from the sales clerk that they would have to venture further into the town of Sitra to a different shop. The clerk advised Miss Amy and her "accomplice" that American's NEVER go there!  But they were desperate! At this point Miss Amy had been without a vehicle for almost two weeks. Desperate times call for desperate measures, isn't that what they say?

They got directions, thanked the clerk, and continued their journey into the unknown. They carried on down the crowded streets with cars honking and dealt with deathly long stop lights. They passed a round about, then another, and then another. They passed an armored vehicle with a policeman perched on the roof, holding a machine gun!  Continuing further down the road only ensured that more armored vehicles were present. Miss Amy and her friend tried not to stare and they whispered to the heavens, a prayer of safety.

Finally, they arrived at the shop. The transaction was painless. Thus, they exited the shop, just a little after dark. As they retraced their steps they noticed a few changes in their surroundings. The number of armored vehicles had increased! Now, in addition to armored vehicles, there were police cars stationed along side of the road. The bright twirling, flashing lights, gave off the appearance of tacky Christmas lights . "What in the world was going on?" Miss Amy thought to herself.

Just as they were navigating their way through the last round about, a frightful scene appeared before their very eyes, one in which Miss Amy will NEVER forget! Off to the right, perched at the top of a sand dune, were eight armored vehicles! Located in front of each vehicle was a policemen, holding a shield, and sporting a pointed machine gun! The beaming lights of the vehicles cast ominous shadows on the cars passing by. Upon closer examination, Miss Amy noticed that at the feet of each policeman was a black body bag!!!

Yes, eight armored vehicles, eight policemen, and eight body bags, all lined up on the side of the road! Now that's a recipe for nightmares!

So, you will be happy to know that Miss Amy was finally able to get her car up and running again! She learned how to install a car battery and now considers herself an expert on such things. If your car ever breaks down in Bahrain, you know who to call!

Car Batteries and Body Bags-Part 1

Car Batteries and Body Bags-Part 2

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Lunch Break in Iran?

Who doesn't enjoy eating lunch, right? If you are at all like Miss Amy, a lover of food, you look forward to kicking back, slipping your shoes off, and eating something delicious during your lunch break at work. Miss Amy is the type of person who starts thinking about lunch within an hour of her arrival to work. Her co-workers often chide her for being able to eat like a man. But Miss Amy is from Dutch ancestry and we all know how they like good food, especially cheese and chocolate.

So one Thursday in November, Miss Amy set about her normal schedule. Having stayed up a little too late the previous night, she arrived to work without her lunch bag, which had fortuitously been left on the kitchen counter at home.

Like clockwork, the lunch hour arrived and she was food-less and ravenous. As a teacher of English in Bahrain, Miss Amy found herself rotating back and forth between two tutoring centers. On this particular Thursday, the monumental day that she forgot her lunch, she happened to be at the remote center, located near the Saudi Arabian border. 

Surely, she concluded, if she ventured into the nearby walled village, she would be able to find a suitable place to appease her appetite. This is how she found herself in her car, headed away from the safety of the tutoring center, alone. 

As she drove down the narrow, half hazardous, unpaved streets, she noted the black flags flying from each doorway, ominously reminding her that it was the week of Ashura, which marks the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali (the grandson of the Prophet Mohammad). In the Islamic religion, there are two sects, Shias and Sunnis. After speaking with her students, Miss Amy had discovered that Ashura is solely celebrated by the Shi’a population. In some countries, like Bahrain, this holiday is often observed by self mutilation, as a way to avenge the death of Husayn, the last true blood line to the Prophet Mohammad. The black flags posted on every corner, signaled to Amy that she was entering a Shi’a neighborhood and it was clear that the people of this village were in mourning. 

Spurred on by her growling stomach, she carried on down the narrow street in search of food. She located a sorry looking cafe with a sign that read “Hot Burger” and concluded that this was no time to think about gourmet food; it was simply “business.” This was going to be, “as good as it would get.” 

She parked the car, locked the door, and strolled up to the cafe take-out window. The man at the counter, stared at Miss Amy with wide, buggy eyes. She concluded that little eye contact would be best and she thanked the heavens that she had worn a long skirt that day.  After several attempts of asking for a menu, she was given a crinkled looking sheet of paper with words written in Arabic and English. She placed her order, or so she thought, and was shooed inside to wait. 

Shocked to see that she had been issued into a small waiting area with a frontal view of the kitchen, she waited. And she waited. And she waited. One, two, three men came in after her. All of them seemed to know what they were doing. Order, wait, get your food. Feeling her stomach growling, she sighed a simple sigh of frustration. Why was no one looking at her? Why wasn’t the cook saying something like, “your order will be next.” 

Finally, the light bulb went on, “I am a woman.” And this simple conclusion sent her racing out of the cafe, back to the safety of her car. The workers, probably not quite sure what to do, simply had ignored her because she was a woman and they could not serve her food! 

She abandoned all hopes of getting lunch and switched gears to “getting out of dodge.” Miss Amy, shaken by her cafe experience, made a wrong turn, and then another wrong turn. Each turn somehow led her deeper and deeper into the village. She passed an Iranian mosque. She passed frisky looking teenage boys moseying down the side walk. She passed several women, with pots of food in their hands. 

At this point, she lost all sense of direction and found herself stuck in the middle of a traffic jam. Cars were coming at her at all sides and people were crowded on the street corners. Panic rose in her throat and she cursed the fact that she was a white, female, lost in a Shi’a village. 

Not entirely immune to dangerous situations, she reminded herself of the time her well water was poisoned, while living in Haiti. Miss Amy and her roommate at the time, were cooped up in their house for two days, with armed guards outside. They waited until the police could catch the culprit, a disgruntled grounds keeper who had been fired six months prior. Surely, she thought to herself, if she had survived that experience, she could get through this as well. 
Just when all hope seemed lost, a man dressed in a white throbe, took control of the traffic dilemma. He parted the sea of cars, like Moses did when he parted the Red Sea and pointed Miss Amy in the right direction. All eyes were on her at this moment and she tried to give a friendly wave as she exited the scene.  After a few more turns and plenty of horn honking (not on Miss Amy’s part), she found herself on a familiar road, leading her back to work. No food. A bit shaken up. Starving! But, she had survived! Lesson learned: ALWAYS PACK YOUR LUNCH OR YOU COULD WIND UP IN IRAN! 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Car Batteries and Body Bags-Part 2

The clerk, eager to help, called Miss Amy a taxi as he shooed her towards the seedy looking couch in the hotel lobby. Being a proper lady and all, she cringed at the unsightly stains that had made their home on the sorry looking upholstery.

Finally, she found herself driving back to work in the sweet safety of a taxi cab. As she gazed out the window at her surroundings, she fumed at the fact that her “significant other” had left her behind to go on a vacation without her. "Where was he when she needed him the most" she thought to herself? Many thoughts plagued her fragile mind during that fifteen minute drive, like “Would a man who truly loves his woman, leave her in the Middle East by herself for a month?” I should think NOT! More on that later.

Miss Amy eventually arrived back to work, frazzled, dazed, and dripping in sweat. She was frustrated that her India visa mission had failed. It was a miracle that she made it through the rest of the day without falling apart. Unfortunately, Miss Amy’s car troubles were far from over. With the help of her friend, they concluded that the car battery needed to be replaced.

She tried desperately to keep her spirits up. Having little contact with the outside world, besides work, she spent the next five days car-less, cooped up in the house, and lonely. Being trapped in the house was a little too much for a bubbly people person like herself. Looking back, she probably had a little too much time on her hands to dwell on the fact that her significant other had pretty much abandoned her to go on his "solo" month long vacation. He had told her they couldn't afford it and that she would "ruin his vacation." Meanwhile, he proceeded to squander his money on partying and purchasing semi automatic weapons. 

Over the phone he told her things like, "She was irresponsible in the way she was handling the car situation and that she was making a big deal out of nothing." Once, while he was away, Miss Amy called him because she had gotten lost on her drive home from work (prior to the car breaking down). Miss Amy had gotten stuck in a traffic jam and there were tire burning protests on either side of the road. She was scared. He responded by saying, "Don't call me for stuff like this, I can't help you." So, in addition to being stuck in the house, feeling lonely, and lacking support; now, she had the car situation to deal with!  It was a little too much to handle for Miss Amy.

The only thing that kept her going through one of the most difficult months of her life was her upcoming trip to India where she planned on freeing herself of all bad energy.

Okay, on with the story folks! Miss Amy continued her mission to find a car battery. She made an excursion to the mall to search for a car battery. Surely Carrefour would have one? They sell everything under the sun. Right? Negative. No car batteries there! She followed every possible lead her work friends gave her. But her efforts to find a place that sold batteries were in vain as the shops were either closed for the holiday or the person on the other end of the phone did not understand English.

Eventually, after five long days of phone calls, she found a place that sold car batteries. On her day off, she took a long, costly, 45 minute taxi drive out to the town of Sitra. American’s are advised to steer clear of this often shady town. But, at this point, Miss Amy would have sold her kidney to have her car up and running again. 

To be continued

Car Batteries and Body Bags-Part 1

Friday, November 23, 2012

Car Batteries and Body Bags-Part 1

There once was a girl name Miss Amy.  And one day miss Amy's car broke down. Now, in normal circumstances, this might seem like an ordinary everyday type of problem. But, Miss Amy lived in Bahrain, a Middle Eastern country near Saudi Arabia. And her car broke down, during the scorching month of August. It gets so hot during the summer that one literally gets drenched in sweat the moment they step out the door. Eating ice cream cones outside, impossible. Morning stroll around the block, torturous. And don't even think about wearing makeup because it will melt off your face before you can say butter and biscuits.

Bahrain is a predominately Muslim country and the month of August not only marks the hottest month on the calendar but it also marks the celebration of Ramadan. During this time the country comes to a standstill and most of the stores are closed until sunset. Miss Amy found it difficult to do much during that time and she spent an awful amount of time indoors. Most of the restaurants are closed until sundown. You can't eat out. The bars are locked up. You can't drink water in public. And forget about chewing gum in public or you will get deathly stares from the locals. 

So, one blissful day in August, Miss Amy ventured out into the sweltering heat during her lunch break at work. Her mission? To apply for an Indian visa at the Indian Embassy. Forgetting that complications could possibly arise due to the holiday, she set out makeup-less in search of the Embassy. She parked her car. Check. She locked the car door. Check.  And she proceeded to the Embassy doors, excitement rising as she thought about her upcoming trip to India. As she got closer to the entryway, she noticed that the gates were locked. Disappointed, she squinted to read the notice on the embassy doors that stated the office was closed due to the holiday. Strike one for Ramadan.

As she walked back to her car, she sadly concluded that her trip would have to be postponed to allow time for the visa approval. While deep in thought, she went through the motions of unlocking the car door, throwing her bag in the bag seat out of habit, and pushing the keys into the ignition. The only thing that awoke her from her thoughts was the fact that the car wasn't starting, She held her breath, shrugged her shoulders, and told herself that it must be her imagination. After several unsuccessful attempts to start the car, her fears became a reality. It was time for Miss Amy to face the cold hard facts; her car had died. 

Not quite sure what to do, as she felt panic rising in her heart, she called the taxi company she had previously entered into her phone for emergencies. The voice on the phone sounded sleepy as he informed her that there were no working taxis due to the holiday. "Okay." She thought in her mind, strike two for Ramadan. So, she did the only thing a girl could do in that moment…start walking. Mind you, she was wearing her work clothes and high heels. Sweat drenched down her face as she started walking back to work which was a few miles away. While walking, she was propositioned by an Arab man. "As if?" She thought to herself. Walking outside in the Middle East has its own complications. Men seem to think they can buy anything, including a professional looking woman, sweating to death, and walking outside in the 130 degree weather. Strike three for Ramadan. 

Eventually, she found herself out of breath, desperate, and at the doorstep of a shabby hotel. In she walked, relieved to be in the presence of air-conditioning. She rushed to the desk clerk and proceeded to sputter, "PLEASE HELP ME."

To be continued…

Car Batteries and Body Bags- Part 2
Car Batteries and Body Bags-Part 3

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Kissed the Girls and made HER cry

I have met some real characters during my nine months of traveling. In some ways I feel like I have seen the best and the worst of mankind. Unfortunately, one theme that stands out is the number of men who cheat on their wives while traveling abroad. And, the number that flirt dangerously close to disaster, is staggering. I apologize in advance if this post offends anyone as I may include some “choice” language while I retell some of my encounters. You may not like what I have to say but this is my blog and I have to get my thoughts out. These are the stories of the unfaithful. 

Just today, while standing in the customs line in Chicago, I overheard a trio of NFL referees bantering back and forth about their “travels.” They talked of luggage blunders, unfamiliar hotels, and being apart from their families. Just when I was about to award these men imaginary points for being caring husbands, one of the referees stated, “Yeah, each night I travel is one less night I’m sleeping next to my wife’s “ass.” The other responded, “Well I MAY miss sleeping next to my wife’s “ass” but I have a substitute “ass” that I pay for to keep me company.” Oh boy, did I ever want to unleash my sailor’s mouth on these fellas. But I bit my tongue and gave them a long “squinty-eyed stare down.” 

Like I was saying earlier, I have met many people along the way. I’m not going to lie, I have had a number of men approach me with questionable intentions. I always tell them, “I’m taken.” The thing that has shocked me the most about these encounters are some the responses that I have gotten. A good number of men have replied by pointing to the band on their ring fingers while shrugging or saying something similar to, “That doesn’t mean we can’t have a good time.” Each time this happened, I couldn’t help but think of the women they left behind. You know, the ones who go to bed each night thinking of their husbands and looking forward to their return.   

And the worst part about it all, the part that saddens me the most, is this trail of unfaithfulness seems to have infected our men in uniform as well. It’s frustrating that many good men fall into this snare while serving in the military. Prostitutes are RAMPANT overseas and our men in uniform spend so much time away from their families that it’s an easy trap to fall into. Freedom really doesn’t come free especially when the families have to suffer. I am not trying to undermine their sacrifice for our country as I have a tremendous respect for their dedication and work ethic. But rather, I am sharing my real life experiences and I became weary and discouraged by the behavior that I witnessed. I truly wish I could go back to the time when I was blissfully unaware of how the world really works. I would give just about anything to go back into the safety of my rosy little bubble. 

Now if you are still reading this blog post, I’m sure you are wondering about the women who cheat? I know they are out there; but I didn’t encounter any. In my opinion, this cross-cultural dilemma seems to be mainly a male epidemic. Don’t get me wrong. Not all men cheat. There are still some good ones out there. For example, I had an interesting discussion with an Israeli man on this very topic. He is married with two children and he chooses to stay in his hotel room while his colleagues see traveling as a license to go out and sleep with prostitutes or hook up with the women they meet at the bars.  My response to his disclosure was less than lady like and I know I used a few choice words in retaliation against these men. He stopped me from my verbal fury as he said, “Amy, it’s not the cheating that makes this so bad, it’s the loss of intimacy that these men will encounter with their wives as a result of their choices.” Well I say, a HUGE props to the men who stay faithful and DOWN with the ones who don’t! 

Monday, September 24, 2012

9 Months and 7 Countries Later…


Tomorrow marks the final leg of my tour around the globe! I began my trip in Colorado, flew across the Atlantic Ocean, and simply kept heading East. Crossing over the Pacific Ocean in route to Colorado, will officially make this a 360° trek across the world map. 9 months and 7 countries later and I will finally be setting foot on American soil! The funny thing about this trip is none of it was truly planned, life just happened and I rolled with the punches.

Highlights include sipping champagne atop of the world’s tallest building, camping in the Sahara desert, riding the Marrakech express, and kissing a few camels. I watched my twin brother’s tear up the football field in Dubai, witnessed the Taj Mahal, attended an Islamic wedding, and hiked the islands of Hong Kong. Not to mention that I navigated my way through tire burning protests and lived in a country where the American flag was burned just miles from my house!
An extended visit to see my lover, one summer teaching job in Bahrain, a travel blog, and two graduate classes later, and I’m coming “HOME.” 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Mistake I Hope You Never Make

Lord help us all, or me for that matter! 

On my way back to the States, I decided to feed my travel bug by making a pit stop to see my Dad in Hong Kong. While in route, I committed the traveler's worst crime. I left my wheely bag on the airplane. Yep, I'm guilty! Unfortunately, this luggage blunder cost me an additional 16 hours at the Qatar airport.

(Large Tub of Nutella)
I will blame this crazy mishap on the man sitting next to me on the flight from Dubai to Qatar. Apparently, people in the Middle East don't adhere to the same airplane procedures as the rest of the world. Moments after we landed, everyone bopped out of their seats to grab their luggage. Mind you, the seat belt sign was still illuminated and the plane was still taxying down the runway. 

The man sitting to my right was in an awful rush to join the madness forming in the aisle. In a very loud voice he ordered me to, "Move!" I peered to my left and to my right, there was no where to go! The waving jazz hands appeared and he started shooing me towards the crowed isle, hands waving at me like I was a pesky animal. 

Flustered and preoccupied by the unpleasantries this man was inflicting upon me, I obeyed and fought for a place in the aisle. My routine, the one where I check my seat pocket 3 million times and feel around on the floor beneath me, was recklessly abandoned. Thus, I exited the plane without my luggage.

(Random photo of the baby changing room)
Unfortunately, I realized my mistake a little too late. Once you exit the plane there is no turning back. My pleas and cries to reboard the plane to get my luggage, fell on the deaf ears of the grounds crew. They informed me that it would take 3 hours for them to put the bag through the security process. I was given two options: leave at the scheduled time and file a baggage claim in Hong Kong (we all know how that would have turned out) OR stay at the airport for 16 hours until the next flight. 

I opted for the second option as my baby, aka my Apple computer, was nestled in the safety of my suitcase. You may laugh at my computer-baby comparison but it's no joke! My friends talk about giving birth to their children. Well, I joke about giving birth to a beautiful MAC! I wasn't about to leave my baby behind!!!

Two calling cards, multiple bars of chocolate, random photos of giant Nutella jars and baby changing stations, and four lattes later it was FINALLY time to board the plane.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Road Trip Gone South

Sophie and I set out for a little Arabian adventure.

This was just an ordinary road trip to get out of the city. Destination? Anywhere the wind would take us. We ate ice cream cones, kissed a few camels, and dipped our toes in the ocean, all the while keeping an eye out for that "perfect photo." With Tim McGraw blasting on the speakers and not a care in the world, how could life get any better? Little did we know that our "road trip" would eventually lead to disaster...

After visiting a camel farm, we decided to embark on the hour long journey south to see the famous Tree of Life, which is basically a huge tree growing in the middle of the baron desert. After the tour, which included driving around the tree and performing a photo shoot, we got OUR CAR STUCK in the sand. There was nothing but sand and oil rigs as far as the eye could see. Our efforts to push, dig, and finagle the car out of the sand was futile and only burrowed the wheels deeper and deeper into the sand. 

We gingerly guzzled the last drops of water from our water bottles and started trekking towards civilization, which appeared to be an industrial building about a mile away. With the Arab sun rays beating down upon our heads, the ominous thought that we might just die out there in the desert, crossed our minds. Just when all hope seemed lost, two locals in the form of tiny specks, appeared on the horizon with SHOVELS in hand! Help was on it's way! 

The local men, offered to help "dig us out." They shooed us to go sit in the car. Even though we felt guilty for sitting in the protection of the shaded vehicle, while the men were working, we gratefully accepted their offer. At this point, we were on the verge of heat exhaustion and feeling quite delusional. 

After about 15 minutes of digging, a white fan appeared on the dusty road. Knowing that we still needed more help, I got out of the car and started jumping up and down while yelling, "Over here, over here!" The men in the van, heard our cries for help, and they drove our way. Two husky American military men, out for a scenic drive like us, hopped out of their cars and joined the rescue crew!!! The local men abandoned their shovels and we all worked to pull our car out of the sand, with the aid of a sturdy rope and the strength of the van.

We were finally free! We waved goodbye to the hansdom military men as they drove off into the sunset. As we got back into our car, one of the local men, pointed towards his house, which resembled a tiny shack, and invited us for tea. Desperate to get back to the comfort of our own homes, we declined and went on our way. This may have been a "Road Trip Gone South," but we had an adventure!

This is our photo story...