I must say that I love to travel. Nothing excites me more than thinking about a holiday, journey, adventure, excursion, outing, or trip. This is a biggie and has been long in the making, but I still find it hard to believe that I am here in the United Arab Emirites. I was hired in March by the Abu Dhabi Education Council to teach English to 10th-12th grade girls. I arrived on August 4th, 2011, with 65 other LT’s (Licensed Teachers), and I will start teaching in September. We don’t know which region of this tiny country we will be sent to, the school where we will be teaching, in some cases the grade, but I think there is a great deal of excitement in the air at the 5 star Yas Hotel.

When we left the plane we were met by two lovely women from Nirvana Travel who organized us, gave us our visas, led us to eye scans, then on through passport control to security to baggage claim. I managed to bring Daddy and half a Betos breakfast burrito through wiith no questions. I was told to not get my luggage of the carousel but to get one of the baggage handlers to do it. Hmmmmmmm, hard to a feminist. Walking out into the night at 10:30, the humidity enveloped me like a hot, wet embrace and my hair grew two sizes larger. Loaded into mini buses for the ride to the Yas then into a room for cold wash cloths and juice and room keys and luggage sorting and up to a room with a bed and a shower. Phew!!!!

Abu Dhabi marks the 39th country I have been lucky enough to visit and I plan on fully exploring the region I am in. But first there is a lot to learn and do to acclimate to my new life and one of the first challenges is that I arrived during Ramadan. During the holy month store hours are truncated, there is no eating or drinking in public from sunrise to sunset,  and it is good form to dress very conservatively. This was an issue to day when 10 LT’s hailed taxis and headed to the mall to buy some groceries. We fully expected the money exchange to be open but it is shut till 8pm. Thankfully a new friend, Melissa, lent me 100 Dirhams, 27USD. I was able to get enough food so that I don’t need to actually eat at this 5 star hotel.

The Yas has been open 3 years and has a Grand Prix race track right beside/through it. There is a 10k run in November on the track and I want to run it. It is very quiet now due to Ramadan and that is a blessing. The Marina is right outside my window and that is also shut. I have been waking up very early for me and going to the gym. I have to go before it officially is staffed at 6:30am as I only have Chacos and am not allowed to use them on the tread mill. The breakfast buffet is plentiful with the only drawback being beef bacon. Not much of a drawback! Fresh fruit, salad, yogurt, 10 kinds of danish, pancakes, toast, eggs, baked beans, potatoes, juice, jam, beef bacon, and decaf! YUM!

Cheers!

View from my balcony.

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