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Friday, October 31, 2008

Road Trip in the Middle East

After my horse riding lesson last week I came home and quickly packed all our stuff for our trip to Dubai by car. Hubby worked and needed to sleep that afternoon. After I got everything together minus the kitchen sink I also needed to sleep after my early rise and since baby was knocked out I also joined the slumber party. Well when I woke up, it was almost 3pm so woke up hubby and we quickly packed the car and off we went by 4.30pm. We drove towards the Omani-UAE border and we were there by about 8pm.
The Oman side of the border is really nice and well organised. They have this huge building that you drive through but if you want you can park your car and go inside to use the toilets, order a pizza or have a cup of coffee and buy some necessities in the little shop there. This time around it didn't take long to get our passports stamped as I think they now have the Samoan passport in the system. I saw one guy add it to his poster for future reference. We always have problems with my passport because it's a rare one and usually people have never heard of Samoa....yawn sigh...same story over and over I'm so over it.
We got to our friends' place at 9.40 that evening and Tau was ready to play for a bit after being holed up in the car for such a long time. So he played with Kerry for a bit before I put him to bed. He slept well that evening.
The next day we went to IKEA at the Dubai Festival City. Our first time there and we really needed some shelving to organze our mess here at home. So hours later we emerged with shelves and other small things for Tau. The ride home was hectic as it was rush hour in Dubai and our GPS does not take into account all the road changes in Dubai within the last month!
Eventually we got home at 7pm and went off to Clara's for a bbq. Our friend Nick from Abu Dhabi was there with his parents visiting from Australia. It was great to catch up with Clara, Dan and their families once again. For some reason I thought Nick's folks were elderly, so I was shocked to meet this young fit looking couple. Nick's Mom had been baking all day so after the lovely bbq we proceeded to eat the pies and chocolate cake that was there. The pies reminded me of home and the pies there. It was delicious.
The next day we set off to Abu Dhabi via the Emirates Mall to buy presents. Once again the GPS was driving us nuts and called up Heather to guide us to their house. As we were confusing each other about where we were in the end Heather suggested that we stay where we were and she'll come guide us to her house. So that we did. 15 minutes later we were at Heather and Finian's house. It was lovely to meet little Jameson whom Heather was carrying when we last visited in March. They were also excited to meet Tau whom I was carrying then too. Rowan is the sweetest big brother as he doted over Jameson. He was also very cute with Tau which was just sweet. Tau and I went straight to sleep because Tau didn't sleep much the night before. I think it being a different house he gets restless.
We missed out on a bbq at F & Heather's friends' as I was just too tired. Enjoyed the food though that Heather was kind enough to bring back for me. Went to bed and was determined to stay put at home the next day to give Tau a break from the car seat.
We slept in and got up and lazed around all day. It's just very relaxing at F & H's it's just wonderful there. Hubby was determined to watch the NPC final between Wellington and Canterbury which Welly hubby's dismay. As the two fathers were worse for wear from the beers they put away the night before, we didn't have breakfast till about midday! Needless to say when we did it was yummy. Bacon and eggs with baked beans...yummyyyyy.
That evening we watched the sun set over the desert while sipping champagne in the front yard, pushing the babies in the prams while hubby kicked the ball around with Ronan and Finian was busy with the roast in the bbq out back and going in and out of the house to chill our drinks. Five star service it was. I was so a weird way it felt like being on a beach in Samoa watching the sun set and just being at peace. It was just beautiful out there.
That night we enjoyed the fruit of Finian's labour at the bbq

And the horse go giddi-up

We've been really busy in the past week. Last week on Wednesday I rode a horse properly for the first time in my life. The only time I can remember ever riding a horse was back in the village when I was very little. As the road to the plantations ran along our land we always witnessed the villagers going up to their plantations and sometimes on their horses. So one day I waited on the road and asked one passerby if I could ride on his horse. The only saddle on that thing was an old brown cloth sack for coconuts. I must have been 9 or 10. Anyway that's the only memory I have of riding a horse until last week.
My friend Nicole who is the closest thing to an animal whisperer I know, had found out about the horse riding classes in Qurum and asked me to come along.
"It would be fun," she said. Her enthusiasm was contagious and the next thing I knew, I was up at 6.30am on a Wednesday morning with my son in tow (to stay with Nicole's sitter) while we go off to ride the horses.
So we get there and met other ladies. Three have experience with horses including my friend and there was one other lady and myself who were real beginners.
Anita the trainer said hello and showed us which horse to lead to the paddock. It was funny because I had no idea which rope or rein to grab in order to lead the horse. I told the trainer so, so she came and undid the knot from the fence and showed me what to do. I quickly asked her how to turn it left and right when I'm on it and she laughed and said, "that's what I'm about to show you once you're on the horses." Ha ha I thought I'd just be told it and I'm cool. My biggest fear to do with horses is falling off them. We lead our horses into the riding paddock and one by one Anita let us mount the horses using a mounting steps. I was excited but also concentrating on relaxing. I had it in my head that the horse can smell fear so I should relax and communicate this to the animal. Needless to say I was a bit stiff to begin with while trying to 'relax'. 20 minutes into the lesson I felt good. I was still a bit worried about falling off but I was enjoying the actual ride. It helped that the trainer kept reassuring me that I had the right posture which was good for a first timer.
We rode around in the paddock while learning how to hold and control the reins "literally". The next thing I knew the lesson was over and we were told to dismount. It was good fun but I was determined to learn more so I could enjoy the experience of riding a horse. I went again yesterday and that was good too so I'm looking forward to next week and would love to trot and see how that goes. I've banished the falling off the horse bit from my mind so I could just make the most of the lessons and riding.

During the lessons all I could think of were the lines to do with horse...'you can take the horse to the water... and one from Tofiga and Ete(Samoan/NZ comedians) and the horse go giddi-up.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

October update

My hubby had his birthday two days ago. I had ordered little gadgets from the UK of little choppers that one can fly around in the lounge. Wow these things are amazing. They actually do fly lol. And they're small so they don't cause any damage to anything. Needless to say hubby enjoys his little toys and I'm glad. Tau will be four months soon and he's growing fast. He's a big boy. Tall and lean. He can hold up his head on his own for a long while now but now he tries to sit up on his own. When we have him leaning against us he pushes his head foward trying to sit up. He's very strong. He's rolled over a couple of time from tummy to back and vice versa. He likes to suck on a little soft sheep toy. He likes to suck his fingers too a lot. He smiles a lot and laughs too when we manage to get him started. I play with him and sometime he just wants to be on his own so I put him in his cot and turn on his fancy mobile that keeps him entertained for hours. He loves the outdoors so I take him for walks in the late afternoons when it's not too warm and we also go to our friends' garden to hang out. He's eating well and loves to socialize. When we go to our friends for dinner he won't sleep he'll stay up to hang out with the adults. Better go he needs some attention.