Monday, November 27, 2006

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow.

Well what a busy month November has been, the time has flown by and Christmas is almost upon us.Jacob spent Halloween as Harry Potter and had a wonderful evening at the Dolphin Center with his friends, playing games and trick or treating
We began the month with Jacob’s first ever camping trip. With Ramadan behinds us and a few days off work for Eid. We picked up a tent, loaded up the 4x4 and set off to the beach with friends. Arriving in the late afternoon, we parked the cars on the sand and set about putting up our new tents, and after much head scratching finally had somewhere to sleep before the sun totally disappeared. So a BBQ, champagne, G&T, and the odd glass of vino topped off a stunning night under the stars, with not a drop of light pollution to be seen. The following morning found James relaxing in the sea (on purpose) floating on his back, watching the sun rise over the distant horizon and listening to the gentle lapping of the waves against the shore.
On packing up the cars later that morning, we managed to bog down both of them in the sand, because we failed to deflate our tires prior to attempting to moving off. Much, digging, pushing and towing ensued before we were finally both free and on our way back home. Red faces all round, still at least we weren’t the only ones!
The following weekend was a much awaited ‘long’ weekend in Dubai. After arranging road passes for the family we packed up the Durango and headed West, on reflection it might have been worth buying a map prior to our departure. Even so, heading west proved to be right and we didn’t get lost once during the four and a half hour road trip. How on earth did we keep Jacob occupied for so long a journey? Fortunately James had remembered that we had a 6” LCD screen knocking about the house, as one does, and with the help of some cables, a soldering iron, an ipod and some general know how, Jacob had his own in flight movie system! We converted a load of his dvds so that they could be stored and played back on the ipod, so all he had to do was request his next movie. It was funny to listen to Jacob interacting with Little Einstein’s, headphones on, unaware of his own vocal volume.
As we left Oman with its’ rugged mountains we headed into the UAE and the landscape change to sand dunes, first orange, then tan and finally pale cream. Dubai loomed out of the afternoon haze after an hours drive, a maze of skyscrapers, tower cranes and construction. There is something like a quarter of the worlds tower cranes in use in Dubai, and to see the skyline you can certainly believe it.
We found our friends house without too much trouble, and after a short respite headed out for our first port of call, a place so secret that Jacob had no idea what was to befall him!
Ski Dubai!!! This is the first (and only) indoor ski resort in the Middle East and has skiing, snowboarding and tobogganing, or just playing in the snow ( ). We kitted up and walked into temperatures of minus two degrees, what a wonderful feeling!!!! We played in the snow caverns, had snowball fights and slid down slopes on a toboggan, all of us had a whale of a time.
So to top that, the following day all the boys went off to Wild Wadi water park (, whilst Becky and Nicole went to the Mall of the Emirates for some retail therapy. At first Jacob was a little unsure of what to make of it all, but after a couple of rides and a progression of small slides, he was calling the shots and going on higher and higher slides and more adventurous rides.
That night we headed over to the rugby club for bonfire night, it was not quite the fifth of November, but close enough. For those of you not of an English persuasion, this is the time we celebrate the attempted blowing up of Parliament back in 1605, odd I know but we are English (see for more info).
Jacob loved the bonfire experience and the fireworks that followed some time later, before we all retired to our beds weary from a very long and busy day.
Our last full day in Dubai was spent at the shops stocking up on the necessaries and a trip to IKEA which filled the car close to bursting and then, the following morning it was time to head back to Muscat. After a fond farewell to our friends we headed off in search of a petrol station. It is odd that a nation founded on oil should be so devoid of petrol stations!!!!!!!!!!!! After forty minutes of searching and running on vapors we stumbled upon one purely by chance, be still my beating heart. It was with palpable relief that we headed off with a full tank and the traffic of Dubai behind us.
Later in the month Oman had National Day, which celebrates the building of a modern state, and as part of this the British school required the children to dress according to different nations traditional costumes. Jacob’s year had the honour to celebrate the Omani nation, which meant a traditional dishdasha and the embroidered kummar hat, whilst I’m sure Jacob would have loved a khanjar (ceremonial knife) to finish off the ensemble, I don’t think the school would have been too impressed.
Becky then attended the school assembly where Jacob and the rest of his year paraded on the stage and sang “I’d like to teach the world to sing”.
After a busy first half on the month we have taken it a bit easy, as next week is December, and that means not only will Christmas be upon us but also Jacob’s birthday, two black tie “Do’s” and New Years!!!!!! Busy, Busy, Busy…………….
P.S. if anyone was wondering, our team of six won the quiz night on our very first outing. For our penance we will have to set the questions for the next quiz.