Friday, July 15, 2016

Montana Trip


I just had the most wonderful vacation to Montana! Best of all was the 1:1 time I got with everyone, including the big people! 
Sunday was Missoula Marathon and Half Marathon. I'll go back next year for the full, it was that much fun! I was excited to achieve my personal best time in the half of 2:21:21.  It was so fun to have the kiddos there cheering me on across the finish!


Monday we combed hair, had pedicures and then my brother and I had supper with our friend Somer.  


Tuesday I was treated to an 8 hand massage, went kayaking, and that night I went to Kalispell to see a PA who used to work with me in Yakima.  


Wednesday we went for a hike up in Glacier Park.  Over and over I thought: this sure beats working!!





Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Foot fingers

Random Bali memory I just happened to remember last night ~
When I took the yoga class, the instructor kept saying "Reach for your foot fingers."  That's how they describe toes in English. :-)

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Dubai

Dubai, Dubai - oh how I've dreamed of Dubai!  I have been intrigued by this city since I first heard of it, way back in college.  I've always wanted to see the Burj Al Arab hotel, the world's (self-proclaimed) only seven star hotel, and I wanted to see their malls with ski areas and aquariums, and all that good stuff.  When I made my flight reservations, I managed to add a 23 hour layover so I could go out and explore.
One thing I hadn't counted on was how BIG this city is.  I knew it had a lot of tall buildings and an easy to use Metro, but I couldn't very accurately predict on the map just how spread out things were.  In retrospect, my list was pretty ambitious.  I only got about half of it done.  Oh well - I just have to go back!
I'll dedicate one post just to the crowning experience: High Tea at the Burj Al Arab SkyView bar.

I took a ride from the airport to the hotel in this special pink-roofed taxi, which is reserved just for women passengers and the driver is a woman wearing a pink headscarf.

My delightfully RED room!  What a pleasant surprise!



First thing after showering and sleeping at my hotel was to go to the Jumeirah Mosque.  I have a few friends that are Muslim and I learned a fair amount about Islam in one of my college classes, but I have forgotten a lot and in this day & climate, I figured it would be interesting to learn from them about their religion and lifestyle.  The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding offers a tour of this mosque at 10AM called Open Doors, Open Minds.
Here, this beautiful tour guide walked us through all sorts of things, including their washing ("ablution") process before entering the mosque, why they take off their shoes, and then she proceeded to explain everything we saw in the mosque.  Her fellow tour guide demonstrated their prayer ritual, and then she opened it up for questions, no topics were off limits.  It was fascinating, humorous, informative, and it really did open my mind.  I'm glad I went.  I'm also a smidgen jealous that I have to get dressed and comb my hair because wow, those ladies have it made! ;-)
This was all very pleasing for a slightly OCD person like me!

She's not smiling in this picture but she was beautiful

Our guide standing up to demonstrate

Volunteers also doing the washing process

Taking off shoes and heading in

Shoes baking in the hot sun. I was smart and put mine in the shade!

Inside the mosque, which was thankfully air conditioned!

Purpose of the dome? Acoustics!  I'm sure there are far grander mosques but it reminded me a smidgen of St. Peter's in the Vatican. Just a smidgen. Gold, domes, stained glass, and art.

The pretty red borrowed headscarves

Demonstrating the Burqa.  She had a great sense of humor and said, "I know what you're thinking when you see this.  Eew, scary!" :-)

Prayer clock.  The timing is all based on the sun.

The other guide about to demonstrate the prayer steps.

Picture of pilgrims at Mecca.  







It was a good sized tour!  This was a Wednesday.

Rocking my Mickey Mouse scarf as a head covering :-)



Back outside. This was the walkway to the visitor's center.

Last chance to borrow one of their outfits.

The doors are now shut...

Doesn't this just remind you of a fondant covered cake?

Minaret

Front of mosque.  I kept thinking of cake, which meant it was time to go to my next destination: High Tea.  But first, I'd need something to pay for it with...

Oh no, out of order!  The Gold-dispensing ATM was down :-(  Luckily I have my trusty plastic~
Off to the hotel I go.
Burj Al Arab - shaped like a sail


Jumeriah Beach Hotel -shaped like a wave

Fleet of luxury cars (Bentleys, Rolls Royce) to pick up hotel guests.
Mosaic in the lobby

Fun rainbow fountain with jumping water









Looking up inside the lobby.  I expected gold but not the additional touches of color.




In case your forgot your dazzlers at home~






I'll admit this was kind of nice!  I can imagine in the heat of summer, this is even nicer :-)

Keep out, smelly boys!  Men are fined if they are in there.




My next stop: Burj Khalifa.  World's Tallest Building at the moment :-)





Walkway to Dubai Mall from Metro

Mini model of the building.  I went to the 148th floor, then down to 125 and 124.  You can go outside on the 148th and 124th floors.




Sort of a selfie in the reflective surface

With my little bag of goodies from Burj Al Arab

Now that I've been there, I realize I don't have to be quite so covered up!  Luckily the skirt is bamboo and ultra comfortable!

Views from the top

Mall fountains
Construction in the distance





A little on the smoggy side...

Unmistakable Burj Al Arab in the distance


Looking up the Burj Khalifa


Sun setting over the Persian Gulf

This shows the walkway from the gold-topped Metro station to the mall.  It was a trek!


124th floor

This perfect little Swiss family all in designer duds


Dubai Mall fountains. Twice as grand as the ones in front of Bellagio, I believe.  I never got to watch them from the ground, so that's also on the to do list for next time.
One last view down before I head down to the ground so I can make it to the Gold Souk.
The bottom picture is the Dubai Mall - HUGE!  I didn't even have time to peep in a single store.

Metro nearest the Gold Souk.  It was historically a fishing village so the artwork depicts fishing scenes.

Oh my! Really?

Can you say bling?!







Overall, I really enjoyed Dubai.  Yes, it is hot.  Yes, it is really spread out and getting around takes a long time.  But I felt very safe there.  I felt like I got special treatment as a woman, not lesser treatment.  I felt perfectly safe walking through the Gold Souk alone at 9PM, I felt safe taking taxis, etc etc.  In some ways it reminded me of Vegas because it's so over the top, but without the sleaze.  There were flowers along the roads, things were neat and tidy (and like Vegas, it's because of the hard work of people who don't make a whole lot of money), and very modern in the places I got a chance to see.  It's a global, diverse city and pretty interesting.  I would go back...in December!