The day that I had my health screening (Tuesday), I went with two other people from Atlanta to Carrefour. That was an interesting cab ride. Mohammad (from Bangladesh) was our cab driver. He told me that my hair was pretty, then asked was it my “original” hair. Clearly, a language barrier again because we had a hard time communicating with him. But he was really nice because after he dropped us off (about 30 minutes from the hotel) he said he would come back and get us if we called. However, on the way back he ran up on a curb because he was too busy trying to have a conversation with me. Too funny, but I already knew that they drive kind of crazy around here. During our cab ride Mohammad also stopped for gas, but he did give us food during our trip because it was time to break the fast. He also said that he would pick us up whenever we needed a taxi (FYI-he charged us less when he took us back to the hotel.
I am really fascinated by the way women dress and are treated. It is truly a learning experience.
On Tuesday, we took a trip to IKEA and spent 4 hrs. “trying” out the furniture. The experience getting the taxi ride over was comical because there were taxis outside the hotel (Maybachs, BMWs, etc.), but they said they would call for a taxi. So we asked what was the difference. We were told that the hotel taxis were 30 AEDs, whereas the called taxi was 10 AEDs. So we were like, hey let’s take the Maybach to IKEA. But when the taxi pulled up it was a Chevrolet. Ummm, another language barrier that was the 30 AEDs taxi, so we stuck with the 10 AEDs Toyota taxi. Anyone who knows me knows I don’t do American cars.
While at IKEA picking out furniture, it was funny because the other 3 LTs that I was with all loved the same furniture that I liked. We said our apartments are all going to look the same, just in different locations. LOL. Also, at IKEA I heard the call to prayer for the first time. It was different than I expected. There was a man singing a song in Arabic and not just an alarm.
On, Tuesday evening, I was finally sleepy (my average is about 3 hrs. per night and no naps during the day). However, my group was scheduled to be in the lobby at 8:30 p.m. to go get fingerprinted. Long story short, we finally made it back to the hotel at 2 a.m. So much for trying to get some sleep.
I’ve been real frustrated because I am having problems working my VPN. So after several e-mails back in forth with my VPN provider, On Wednesday, I found out that I didn’t need the router, I should have purchased a different (and cheaper) version so it can download on my computer automatically. So after trying to make a online purchase, getting locked out of my bank account, 40 minutes and 100 AEDs later to make an international call to Wells Fargo I got my VPN to work…but only for a day. Now it’s not working and I’m in the process of e-mailing back and forth again. So sad. I want to use my MajicJack and Skype.
Wednesday was a chill day. I got a few hours asleep during the day, but of course none at night. So is today (Friday), since it is there Sabbath. We figured there wouldn’t be anything opened. Also, it is Ramadan, and everything is already on a different schedule. Most store hours now are from about 10/11 a.m-1:30/2 p.m. and they reopen around 8 and stay opened to around 1 or 2 a.m.
On Thursday we took a shuttle into the city and took the Big Bus tour. The tour started at Abu Dhabi Mall and went to several historical sites, Souks, hotels, Marina Mall, Corniche Beach and the Grand Mosque. We didn’t get off during the tour because we started late and it was too hot. I expected the heat, but not the humidity. It is worse than Atlanta.
I still continue to meet different people. That’s probably the problem too; we all stay up until about 12/1/2 a.m. talking. Obviously we are all having a hard time adjusting to the time. And once I’m in my room, I am playing on my computer, my only connection to the other side, until my VPN is working properly. But I am enjoying the conversations.
The cost of living “seems” to be low when buying certain items. The other day at the “LTs” restaurant, I purchased an oriental salad and a Coke for 21 AEDs (roughly 5.73) and that included the service charge and tourism fee.
Really wish some of the LTs will stop complaining and enjoy the ride!