Saturday Evening on the Bund

August 17, 2014

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

pearl tower lit at night

After a laze about Saturday, we headed out in the evening to explore. We took the metro train to Nanjing Road. It is a popular pedestrianized street between the Bund and the People’s Square. We walked the length of it and back again.

store display of pork jerky

We were happy to find a shop selling bakkwa. It was quite pricey, but we had some anyway.

After walking the length of Nanjing Street, we joined the crowd heading for the Bund. The street between the two isn’t pedestrianized all the way, but it might as well be. On the right side was a sea of people walking to the Bund and on the left was a sea of people walking back from the Bund and a few cars managed to squeeze in between.

The Bund is along the side of the river. We found a place to sit and people watch for a while. There are many people to watch. Surprisingly, we did not find the crowds oppressive or annoying. Everyone is just out for a stroll and polite. The weather was cooperative as well. It was not very humid and the temperature actually goes down after sunset here, unlike the UAE where it goes up.

We headed to the Captain Bar on the roof of the Captain Hostel. It has a great view if you are early enough or lucky enough to find a seat on the deck. We sat inside and had a pleasant dinner.

By the time we made it back to the metro stop, they were locking up for the night, so we had to find alternative transportation. There was a lot of competition for taxis, so DaddyBird opted for Uber. We were picked up within just a few minutes and had a very pleasant ride home. (It is so relaxing to ride in a car that isn’t traveling at the speed of sound. I don’t miss 120+ kph.)

All the photos – click here.


Breakfast Food Tour

August 10, 2014

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

Chinese crepe

I was awake for a few hours in the middle of the night and then drowsed back off. This is not abnormal, so it isn’t just jet lag. I woke up to find that DaddyBird was dressed and was waking me just to tell me he was off for the breakfast food tour. My brain had to kick into gear fast to decide if I was going to roll over or scramble to go along. My feet are shot from the last four weeks or so. This was a tough decision. I opted to push my poor feet further than they want to go so that I wouldn’t miss out.

The tour is conducted through UnTour Shanghai.

bowls of noodles

It was all very delicious. The path of the tour went through the former French concession which is very beautiful.

For all the photos, click here.




Ni Hao Shanghai

August 9, 2014

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

Shanghai skyscrapers seen from the river

We have arrived in Shanghai, safe and sound. The cats were on the same flight. In retrospect, I would not recommend this. It would have been better if they had departed a couple of days after us. We touched down in the late afternoon and were taken directly to our apartment. In the evening, just about the time we are thinking of calling it a day (because I needed to get up first thing in the morning and head off to new staff orientation), we get a communication from our pet relocation agent that there is a problem with Oliver and she is heading to the airport to find out what his condition is. Long story short, our agent was at the airport after midnight having a vet called in to take care of Oliver and he spent the rest of the night under observation and getting medical treatment. Meanwhile, I laid awake most of the night worrying about him. The happy ending is that he survived. Both cats were moved to quarantine and are cooling their heels there for a few more days.

white cat on a metal surface with completely dilated eyes

This is not the face of a happy cat. Poor thing.

We have a lovely little apartment. It is an older building. We are on the second floor. There are two other newbie teachers living in the same building. Our apartment is located in a neighborhood that seems to be “gated.” Outside the gate, along the street is a park. We look out our windows and we see the trees of the park, hear music in the mornings, and see people doing tai chi.

view out the window obscured by trees

We have two bedrooms, a smaller room for an office, living room, bathroom, two enclosed balconies, and a kitchen the size of a postage stamp. (Been there, done that.)

The cidadas are in full “bloom” currently and are astonishingly loud. It is currently raining. We are loving the green, wet, living world we now live in.

Traffic is interesting, but nothing compared to the reckless driving of the United Arab Emirates. Everyone just seems to patiently navigate around each other with a small amount of horn honking. Pedestrians step out and trust that they won’t be run down. Most of the time, it works out. Bicyclists, scooters, and motorcycles travel down the sidewalk, honking at pedestrians. It is a short distance from our apartment to the school, so I may just get a bicycle. The school provides a bus to transport us to work, so I will get there one way or another.

For more photos, click here.


2012 in Retrospective

August 2, 2014

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

2012 was a year of exploring the UAE, especially our new home Fujairah.

close up of a camel - head, neck and hump

Early 2013 involved a day trip to Ras Al Khaimah to visit the Pearl Museum. Original post here.

We enjoyed the Sharjah Light Festival. The fire display at the Blue Souk park was amazing. That is a tough act to follow.

Other activities on our list were the Bithnah Fort, the Bidyah Mosque, Sharjah Archaeology Museum, Arabian Wildlife Centre, Dubai Museum and Creek, Emirates Airlines International Festival of Literature, and Al Ain Jahli Fort.

Our summer trip was to Singapore. The sights and food were wonderful.

Near the end of the year, life took an unexpected turn when my mother died. I traveled home for the memorial service and time with my family.

I got my fair share of jet lag, because we traveled in December for Christmas with DaddyBird’s family.


2011 in Retrospective

July 30, 2014

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

Hagia Sophia, Istanbul Turkey

2011 began with a two week trip to Istanbul, Turkey. This was one of our most enjoyable and amazing vacations.

cultural preservation area

Later in the Spring, we visited Abu Dhabi for a day and went to the heritage center.

two actors and camera operating director

DaddyBird had a supporting role in an independent film. Unfortunately, we’ve never seen the end product. I will be eternally curious.

father and daughter

June brought the high school graduation of BabyBird and a trip to North Carolina to celebrate this milestone with her.

two high piles of cardboard boxes with cats on top

There was no summer trip to exotic places due to a job change that required a move to another town. This was a ridiculously stressful situation and we survived it only through the kindness and help of good friends.

library books

My new job began with cataloging every book in the library. It took a year to finish because I also had to prepare and facilitate weekly activities for students.

historic Arab fort

We took a day trip up Wadi Hayl to the Hayl fort. This is where the Fujairah ruling family lived dating back to 1830 CE.

inside of a public transport train

We rode the new metro Green Line.

Arab man riding a horse carrying the nation's flag

A celebration of local history and culture was held at the beach park.

flooded city street

It was a rainy winter.

restored old Arab fort

We explored Bithnah Fort from the outside.

people sitting on a carpeted floor

We got the opportunity to share Fujairah with visiting authors who were attending the Sharjah International Book Fair. We introduced them to mandi (meat and rice meal), Fujairah Fort, and the bull butting competition.

restored old Arab fort

It was the 40th anniversary of the formation of the United Arab Emirates, so there were more celebrations extending through the whole month.

tailor measuring a customer

DaddyBird was fitted for new kandoorahs.

man in Arab garb

Now he can fit right in.

Arab man balancing a sword

The celebrations included a month long sword competition.

city square in old town Athens, the Parthenon in the distance

Christmas was spent in Athens, Greece. For me it was a “bucket list” sort of trip.

Greek ruins on side of mountain

We took a day trip to Delphi, which I highly recommend.


And we were back in Dubai in time for our traditional fish at Bu Qtair restaurant followed by Burj Al Arab fireworks.


2010 in Retrospective

July 26, 2014

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

twin skyscraper buildings

We vacationed in Kuala Lumpur. We only spent 6 days there which was not long enough. It was our first time leaving the cats at home while we traveled, so we kept it short.

Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur was an interesting combination of old and new, tropical and urban.

Some construction projects in Dubai continued, some slowed, and some stopped until further notice. The Dubai Metro train continued as the completion dates were extended more than once. The red line opened in September and the green line stretched into 2011.

elevated metro train

We attended a few bull butting competitions in Fujairah.

two bulls butting heads

Dubai continued to supply amusing sites and wonders.

industrial area with foam sculptures including the statue of liberty

The Burj Khalifa opened in January, but we waited until the crowds died down a bit before going up to the observation deck for a look around.

observation deck

Ford Middle East had a promotional event involving test drives. I rode as a passenger with a professional driver doing figure 8s at high speed. Thankful for the helmet since my head kept banging against the door.

woman wearing driving helmet

Dubia traffic continued to provide sites and wonders. I’m certain this vehicle wasn’t designed for street travel and passengers.

landscaping tractor with three men riding on it

We drove out to Al Ain to explore some of the historical sites.

round Arab style fort with single round tower

Above is the Hili Fort in Al Ain. Below is the date grove next to it.

date tree grove

We drove up Jebel Hafeet to see the sunset.

a 4000 foot mountain on the horizon

When one goes to a mall in Dubai, one never knows what will happen. DaddyBird got to hold a falcon for the first time.

man holding a hooded falcon

We went to the Dubai camel racetrack to see a race.

camels kneeling behind the starting line waiting for their turn

Christmas eve was spent with friends at Bu Qtair with Christmas crackers and fun.

people opening Christmas crackers

New Year’s eve was also spent at Bu Qtair followed by the Burj Arab fireworks.



Blast From the Past

July 9, 2014

Posted by Kanga. Please do not reblog.

Alcohol License

Here’s a little souvenir I came across today while sorting the clutter of my life. Each Emirate handles alcohol differently. Some conservative, some liberal. Dubai requires an alcohol license for purchasing alcohol in the well hidden liquor stores. All one needed was a “letter of no objection” from one’s employer and, of course, payment of a fee. No one asked to see it other than the liquor store clerks and we didn’t bother to renew it. One can buy alcohol in other emirates without a license, so why bother?


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