What a great time I am having in the UAE! The weather has been unbelievably pleasant for the desert and the opportunities for me even more unbelievable. The 14 ½ hour flight was uneventful except for having to sit next to a hillbilly in overalls who told me about the many times his kid had the colic. Now that’s a topic you want to discuss over processed chicken in cellophane!!!!!!!!
Actually, no matter who is sitting next to you on such a long flight, you simply know better than to start up a lengthy conversation. That is a long time to sit and …sleep with a stranger (that is another whole flying story). I have known people who got married in less time than this latest flight took.
But now that I am here, it couldn’t get better. The owner of the first school is affiliated with the royal family so the other team chair and I were invited for coffee and dates at the home of one of the princesses, or sheikhas as they are called in the Emirates. The first meeting went so well that she invited us to join her at her farm the next day after work.
The farm is in the middle of the desert, but surprisingly it had some greenery that her mother had planted years ago. So after a huge meal of native dishes, that was set using china and silver and gold flatwear in a room built from palm trees with a sand floor, we were treated to a camel ride. Yep, my second time on a camel, and this launch wasn’t any easier than the first. Actually it was more difficult. I believe I prefer the two humps over one. (If you had told me 10 years ago that I would be blogging about camel humps, I would have told you that you were crazy—never say never!).
Then came an even scarier adventure—four wheeling on the sand dunes with the princess. Just me and her, bouncing over the Arabian Desert. She drove and I held on to the vehicle for dear life. She told me it made her feel free; I told her it made me feel vulnerable. She seemed sort of lonely, and glad to have a visitor. I guess it is hard being a princess. We drove for more than an hour seeing the horses, camels, chickens, turkeys, goats and sheep that belong to her family… and then we bounced again over the 30 and 40 foot dunes. I was glad it was a relatively cool day because I was sweating enough from the nervousness. No wonder these people pray five times a day!!