Friday was the holy day so I figured not a lot would go on. I took another long walk and mostly hung around my room. I did drop off notes for Lorna and Kara to see if they wanted to have dinner. Lorna already had plans so I went with Kara. She has firmly decided to leave and is just waiting until they give our passports back from processing. We went to the mall (again) because she wanted to look for souvenirs to take home. Christmas shopping is going to be a blast. We ate in the food court and I learned that there really is no food that I’m going to miss. At the Marina Mall food court alone there’s a Burger King, a Sbarro and a Popeye’s Chicken, plus Chinese, Indian and an ice cream place called London Dairy. Then we walked around looking at the festivities. Those displays I took pictures of? They use those on Fridays. There were Whirling Dervishes, singing and guys giving out little cups of coffee from huge ornate carafes strapped to their backs. There was also one guy throwing little pots and another guy who would write your name in Arabic calligraphy, which is how I ended up with my name in Arabic.
Saturday they were going to drove us out to Al Ain to look at our housing. After how upset everyone seemed to be about the Abu Dhabi housing, I went into prepared to be a little disappointed. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined how fabulous the housing would be! They are putting us all in brand new buildings together. We can’t go find our own housing and I really can’t imagine finding anything better on my own. We were driven to a couple of buildings. Everyone crowded into the first floor apartments so I went upstairs. All the apartments upstairs were three bedrooms so I went back to the first floor. Those apartments were two bedrooms. Beautiful, huge, marble floors and big windows, but two bedrooms. Singles and married no kids were supposed to have one bedroom. So I hunted down the guy who was our guide and asked him. He said singles and married with no kids would have the two bedrooms on the first floor and the families with kids would get the three bedroom places. Now given, that third bedroom is maid’s quarters with no windows, but it does have a separate bathroom. Not totally ideal, but not bad. (This didn’t stop people from complaining though.) The buildings are also secure and there’s a little market in the middle of the complex. Going in next door is a five star hotel and a shopping center. Yeeeeaaahh.
(In the picture of the bedroom doors, the walls aren’t really blue. I had the flash on by accident.)
I’m really glad we’re all going to be living together and I don’t think a lot of my fellow teachers understand how valuable that is. We’re going to be living with a group of people who are all in the same boat as we are. We’ll be able to carpool to work and share information. I can’t wait to find out which place is mine so I can start getting furniture and stuff.
Then as we were leaving I leaned over to my seatmate and said, “What’s up with the chain link fence and the razor wire running along the road?” She didn’t know, but someone else said it was Oman. I’m going to be living across the street from Oman.