Sanded

Frankly, the Abu Dhabi teaching life can, on occasion, knock you out and drag you down. All expat teachers here arrive optimistic and ready to positively impact the education system. Ahemmm. OK. Let’s re-think that. Because as much as we want to give 110% every day, resources, time constraints, and various other obstacles prevent many from accomplishing their goals. So we work with what we have. Which, depending on the grade you teach and the school that employs you, can be attainable or just a shisha pipe dream. We all have good days and bad but, thankfully, the weekends here tend to make up for the headaches (along with the knowledge that I’m paying off my huge grad school bill.)

Many teachers hang out together, whether meeting up for pool time, happy hours, birthday celebrations, or meals eaten in good company. Everyone finds his or her niche. Sometimes you just need to break away and chill and I’m thankful to have people to explore cool places with.

Helllllllloooooo, beaches! For as much as I hate the gritty feel of sand, crunching shells under my feet, seaweed, and disgusting, aggressive little biting fish that swim in the shallow section of the ocean, I’m no stranger to beaches. Those of you who don’t hail from Chicago may not realize that our unbeatable city is situated on Lake Michigan, which totally puts us on the map of “best summer hangouts on Earth.” We’ll ignore the downside of winter for now since it’s not always easy to justify the daily scraping of car windshields, commuting over varying degrees of snow, ice, and potholes for five freezing months out of the year just to experience the few summer months of joy our awesome city has to offer. Some folks actually enjoy winter, but clearly I’m not that gal. But those glorious summer months make us forget time and again that we’re held captive to the wind, snow, and ice more than most of us would like to admit. My parents have also spent a good amount of time living in Florida over the past 30 years, so if I didn’t know beaches as a kid I’m certainly an expert after visiting the various homes they’ve occupied over the years. Also, my daughter Kate attends college in Grand Rapids, MI, so nobody needs to sell me on the benefits of driving up the west coast of The Mitten on a blistery 85 degree summer Saturday.

Not a fan of sand, I can’t believe how much I enjoyed my first excursion to Saadiyat Beach. Kate also abhors sand, but I’m telling you, this place is on my to-do list for her visit next month. As much as I don’t LOVE the sun- I don’t tan well, it’s tedious reading a book wearing sunglasses instead of readers- I enjoy a good cabana. And that’s close to what we got. For about a $20USD entrance fee to Saadiyat Beach (free if you don’t want any frills but I’m too old to scrimp) you get a lounge chair, umbrella, and the good graces of the Arabian sun. The guide checks your ticket and walks you to a designated spot where he sets up a table and chair under a large, in-ground umbrella; the space is yours for the day. Food and drinks are sold on-site but you can bring your own cooler. Heck, this is the UAE- people brought coffee and tea sets and served themselves right there on the beach. Chris and I spent the afternoon reading, listening to tunes, and wading in the Gulf. Bonus points for Saadiyat for being seaweed-free, crystal blue, and bathwater temps. What a recharge.
Saadiyat Beach
However, beaches aren’t only for daytime lounging. Last night, I went with some friends to a beach BBQ. They’ve been venturing out on Tuesday nights for several weeks now and invited me to join. And that’s how Andy finally made the blog. When I first began chronicling my adventures I wasn’t comfortable specifically naming people in case they didn’t want to be called out for their antics. Well, all that’s over now because I can’t tell the stories properly without setting the scene. Andy, our resident Scot, and his wife Danielle are awesome- they married shortly before arriving in Abu Dhabi and have been living a type of extended honeymoon (aside from work) ever since. They’re out and about all the time, planning activities, buying tickets to events, orchestrating road trips. Andy’s never at a loss for words as he’s a natural-born storyteller. Dani’s one of my favorite people here- she’s sweet as can be, has had me over for dinner (I’m semi-retired from cooking at this point) and will go anywhere, anytime- my kind of girl.

So right after work yesterday we headed out to the beach- me, Andy, Dani, and Dani’s dad Colin, who’s visiting this week. They prepared all the food for everyone while the people we met there brought the firewood, grills, etc. So basically I just tagged along- in general I’m up for doing my part but this time I got a free ride. We arrived at the beach and started off-roading to their standard meeting place. And then all of a sudden we were “sanded.” Stuck. Spinning our wheels, going nowhere fast. This is exactly why we weren’t allowed to park in the sand lot at the golf outing in Dubai last weekend- the attendant found us a special spot because he said our car couldn’t handle the sand. Now I believe him.

For blog purposes only, I wish I could say chaos ensued but fortunately for us an Emirati guy showed up two or three minutes after we stranded ourselves. Andy was digging out the tires and we were just about to shove the car mats underneath them for traction. The Emirati had a 4×4, which is typically what’s driven in the sand, so he tied a rope to the car and freed it within seconds. We proceeded to our site via a safer route and then enjoyed good food and conversation for several hours. Even a non sand-loving girl could get used to this.




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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Angela Hacke
    Nov 26, 2014 @ 16:19:20

    Sounds like an amazing beach! I am so jealous as we freeze in 18 degree cold and it is only November!

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    Reply

  2. Deb
    Nov 26, 2014 @ 19:41:10

    Hmmmm…I was just telling Tom that we need to plan a beach trip for our 20th anniversary…how long is the flight?

    Like

    Reply

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