Posts Tagged ‘Emirates Air’

Conneticut, Vermont, Massechussettes, and onto the Winter Olympics in Vancouver

March 1, 2010

So as you were reading in my last post I was now in Waltham ,  to attend the premiere of Gary’s sister-in-law Jeanne Taylor Shapiro’s cinematic debut.  The Shapiro’s house however was in a town named Bolton not that far from Worcester where Gary and I had stopped in at a bar which was having an event which seemed to be a nineteen twenties dress up party musical evening (and also when we saw the sign for the Holy Cross versus Army hockey game which we would later attend).

We were not originally going to stay over but having escaped winter storms in both the mid south and the midwest by making tracks I advised Gary we better leave early to go north of the deluge as to almost totally avoid it.  After a late night arrival and a little reading and a little tough breathing in the morning I enjoyed my first ever pistachio bagel.  Then after conversation with the filmmaker and her spouse we raced over to Waltham to see the film.  Most of the cast attended and the response was ecstatic it was a tour de force of mood, the light dwindling in the late summers caress of lost early love of the dream disappearing into the bitter~sweetness of what is yet to come and perhaps it is or was a bit more Fitzgerldian then what we are used to from a  Hemingway interpretation,  but, there is still a  lot of Greenberg mixed in.

On the way back I had my eye on the hockey game and in my mind with that Holy cross there was a cross burning on the hill a flaming beacon bringing me forth towards the arena and blazing in my presence.  After the screening where the three boys who had played the brothers in the film and their cousin ruled their roost as did Taylor Shapiro and as the cast and crew posed for photographs.  Then soon it was time for the lunch at the Tapas restaurant nearby, where, this blogger had Duck in pomegranate sauce and artichoke fritters.

When we got back Gary brought me over to Walden pond long ago the home of the naturalist and writer Henry David Thoreau and we surveyed as much of it as we could upon this frigid day.

On the way back to NYC  we had it perfectly timed to stop at Holy Cross to see the hockey game which was a little into the first period when we arrived.   Though the game was a decisive victory by the cadets  learned that Bob Cousy and Tom Heinson were holy cross alumni and much more later about the Healy brothers (one of whom was the first african american president of a US university (Georgetown) and had the famous hall named after him there.

Then I was home for a few days before I traveled to a motel 6 in Connecticut to watch the opening ceremonies of the Vancouver winter games.  I arrived early at the motel and with the few hours to kill ventured to see some of the sites that i had watch on the Mystic seaport tourist television program broadcast as part of the cable formatting in the room that this traveler had watched through many updates over the years.

The first stop was the Lyman Allyn art museum in New London or thereabouts really this museum was new to me as was going past the United states Coast Guard academy nearby.  here there were lots of regional and older American paintings as well as a survey of modern and contemporary art including that of Wilfredo Lam the Afro-Cuban painter who combined Cubism, surrealism, and magical realism at different times and counted Picasso among his compatriots in Montmartre.

Then this venturer went over to the Nuclear sub base and museum in Groton, Connecticut to see the museum and the historic Nautilus which is docked their permanantly。  Also Nyc tour wise I was able to learn about the Bushnell submersible developed by a Connecticut man andthe aborted attempt tosink  Admiral Howe`s flagship in New York harbor authorized by General George and executed by another Connecticut man, Ezra Lee. Next this motel room bound tv viewer went over to have the buffet (where they serve New England clam chowder) everyday at  Foxwoods.

So then finally after checking all my suff on the internet at the simulated apple store (with apple products but not owned by apple used apples not rotten to the core) conveniently just off the casino floor this television watcher to be drove back to the motel six somewhere in the vicinity of  Flanders and Niantic.Approximately four years prior this blogger had made it to Torino and the one event (besides the opening ceremony wich included a performance by Pavarotti which turned out to be his last) he had seen had been the luge (both one man and two man in the gold medal races), tickets had been available and the motto of the games had been “Passion Lives Here“  most had to work.   Nothing had ever been more exciting more fast the aerodynamic sits the blades on the ice the sliders moving faster then the eye could see a line of chroma blazing only to reappear and zip out of sight once again the swiss and Austrians slinging cow bells the tightly packed crowds the surge the mountain air the multiple cappucinos the executives from U.S steel explaining the corporate sponsorship of the metal edges used for the sport– but now these games opened with a acknowledgement of the first nations chiefs as equals to other world leaders but also the death in a practice run of a young Georgian luger named Nodar.   The luge run would not be the same the start was lowered to where the women’s race began and I could not make it there for soon I was headed with my oft named friend Neil to a farmer`s confrence in Burlington ,Vermont.

It was a long drive to Burlington , much longer than I had thought.  I had passed the sign for the ferry across Lake Champlain several times on the way back and forth to Montreal but this was the first time that this blogger would be here.  The conference which Neil would be attending (he wants to start a farm) with I tagging along would be at the University of Vermont.  Upon arriving it was almost as if a Japanese wrestling match sumotaneous he was at the bus station but couldn’t wait so he told me what hill to drie up to find him where.

Where was at the U of V and soon we walked across the street from a large church where they were ending one program and setting up for nother to a question and answer session across the street which was followed by a Vermont farmers celebration cake with heavy icing of which I but not he took part.  After this event which took place in a wonderful wood paneled room which had a hemispherical like shape we talked in the hallway with a man who built and sold moveable greenhouses.  Then I (we) had the first of many cups of Green Mountain Coffee which almost seems to be the official Java of the state ( as is Ben & Jerry the ice cream).

Then we walked across the street and Neil said some senators would be talking (and who knew) and now the whole church was filled as it was both of Vermont’s United States Senators (Patrick Leahy(D) and Bernie Sanders (I) but caucuses like Joe Lieberman with the Democrats and was as a congressman the first socialist ever elected to the US House and is also a former mayor of Burlington) as well as Vermont’s lone United States congressman and lo and behold the United states Secretary of Agriculture, former Iowa governor and presidential candidate Tom Vilsack.

this was the Vermont farmers annual meeting and much of the crowd was interested in this issues pertaining to independent and small family farmers versus huge agri business.  They bombarded the affable Vilsack with questions and suggestions and one angry man screamed at him about the Yankee nuclear power plant and perhaps got questions by the  some feds.

Next it was time to do something else and Neil wanted to go to a young farmers event after a meal and some lectures in University of Vermont classrooms on subjects like the future of soil and farm rehabilitation camps.  Still I ate more apples but played it easy on the coffee after a health screening indicated that perhaps I should.

There was a main area in alarge building on campus which featured vendors selling things such as live worms and beekeeping paraphernalia, and meanwhile there were members of the Vermont secessionist movement in the abound (they even have their own Vermont republic flag).  Free ice cream was being given away while sing along guitar music was being played.

The first night we had to stay in the nearby town of St. Alban’s because everything in Burlington was seemingly booked.  First we got the hotel and then we went back to Burlington for a young farmers party where we partook of various refreshments and saw a film about the move to get young people to return to farming.  This was in a multi story building in Burlington on the second floor while on the first floor there was an exhibition opening about the video game in contemporary art (but it was mostly ho hum).

I had wanted to see the University of Vermont Art museum while there but it was closed on this weekend.  Seeing lake Champlain was lovely and now this blogger felt relaxed enough after finally getting all his mileage points from Emirates air posted to his Continental account to book his flight to the winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia with a stopover to help a friend and a friend of this friend with an art escapade and to see the CIty by the Bay to which he had never been before.

Meanwhile somewhere whereabouts on the way back into Burlington from St Alban’s this writer and his friend stopped at the Goodwill store and this blogger got a pair of Paul & Shark linen yellow pants for $5 and a Helly Hansen suit for a similar price.

Meanwhile this blogger had heard an advertisement for the Von Trapp family lodge and was determined to stop there for what turned out to be breakfast in Stowe in the snow on the way out of town.

Meanwhile in town the second morning we were there and the first to eat together we ate in the Blue bird cafe which had many fattening things grown by local farmers but also some healthy choices in lovely wood surroundings and a pleasurable if not expensive breakfast.

So now back this traveler already had his ticket to Vancouver and now made his way to the airport and even got to San Fransisco on a cloudy day (so the Golden Gate from the sky would and the city by the bay from the heavens would not be seen on this day but the views later of Washington state and Vancouver as approached from the Ocean would be magnificent) early and was able to catch an earlier flight by sprinting through the airport once his continental flight was done and his United from SF to Vancouver was to begin.  On the flight a lovely couple from Canada on their way back from Florida and the Caribbean made for great company and thought the flight was delayed some wine freebies were given up for it and so the trip proceeded well.

Once in Vancouver he was very happy that he had made it there he was amazed by the massive Indian sculptures there from the Tribes today called the First Nations (including the one that is on the Canadian twenty dollar bill as he would find out later thought this one done by a single artist)

"First Nations" Airport Sculpture

This blogger then made his way furhter throught he airport while stopping to take photos of  the arriving olympic airways and worked   to change his flight to stay longer and then began to find out how to navigate his way down to the Olympics themselves in other words Canada Hockey Place.  So he took the train and switched at the appropriate station and then came out by the entrance to the arena and there he had two hot dogs acquired with the loonies and the toonies which had ben tips for him as a double decker tour guide over the years as well as some given to him by tour guide Traci and tour guide Steve.

Soon somebody said that if I wanted tickets that someone was selling them right over there.  And the price was great sixty dollars for what turned out to have been a $200 dollar face value seat in a luxury box for Sweden versus Germany in the opening round robin.  The luxury box was lovely and even came with pitchers of ice water with lime refilled and refreshing   The game was mostly lackluster and a 2-0 win for the swedes but the colorful crowd of Scandinavians and supporters dressed in blue and yellow was a delight.

At Canada Hockey Place Swedes Face off against the Germans

After This I needed to find the bus station which was right nearby a walk away though I took the Train one stopped and past the provincial pavilions glowing in the dark there I went and bought a bus ticket to Edmonton and a Train Ticket return through The Canadian Rockies on Via Rail.

Meanwhile I had seen brightly lit structures including one which said Sochi world which upon walking back turned out to be the Russian pavilion highlighting the next city to host the winter games Sochi, Russia.

Sochi World Looking FoRward to the next Winter Games

So now I walked back to them bus and rail tickets in hand (or pocket) and found the Russian Pavillion (Sochi World) closed but many Russians in the abound. So now I walked across and went to a bunch of pavilions with time on my hands about four hours including the crowded Quebec building

The Quebec Pavilion

which included an electric house concert

Quebec House Party

and some acrobatic act (beers were about ten dollars and I abstained) next I made it into the Saskatchewan Pavillion but when it cam to posing with a Mountie this blogger balked.  I saw the Canadian hockey Pavillion it was a hundred some odd dollars to eat and drink all day there and this was not what I came to do get fat at a sporting event and also did not put this on my calendar.  meanwhile the line to enter the Ontario pavilion was to long and so I headed for Chinatown.

This was lovely and the thought of the Canadian Western frontier mixed with Chinese design tickled my designs on the exotic inside my mind.  The streetlights with the maple leaves on the red Chinese shade for prosperity especially did it for this blogger.  After passing on a first dining choice I found an astoundingly colorful place

Vancouver Chinatown

where I had some seafood soup and who knows I cannot remember but it was good.  Here this traveler watched more of the early olympics and then headed off for the bus.  The wait for the bus in the mixed train and bus terminal seemed like forever but I was there way before the hour recommended that one should be.  I had taken minimal bags so I was minimal maintenance and passed the time having Coke refills at McDonald’s.

Once on the bus I headed straight back for the twenty four hour ride.  I was in the three seater by the bathroom next to a Mexican man with a seat in between.  I also talked to the man in front of me who also turned out to be Mexican as well so I introduced the two Mexicans who bonded so the first left the adjacent seat to me and joined the other so then I could sleep.

Sleep I did and woke for good early the next morning still in British Columbia but not yet in the high Rockies, though here they came.  These were the most amazing peaks I had seen since the ranges is like the Remarkables on the South Island of New Zealand.  We went through them for most of the day before traveling along the Albertan prairie at night.  At the stopover to change buses  in Calgary there was quite a show as some ridiculous type street-walker kept walking and taking the attention away from the butch security guard set up to check people before getting on the bus.  Then when on the bus to Edmonton for an early morning arrival there was a mildly drunk chatty Indian Canadian chic who had met some guy from the oil services center and she wouldn’t shut up or stop moving around.  When I arrived in Edmonton this blogger went right across the street and checked into the nearest  hotel (across the street), which turned out to be a dive.  The next morning after spending the breakfast voucher plus at A&W back at the bus terminal on multiple hash browns and orange juices I took my stuff and made for the West Edmonton Mall hopefully to stay at the West Edmonton Mall Inn where I had stayed once before in 2003 in hopes of getting a whole big shopping mall novel done.  I got directions left the dive and made it over there to scope out my surroundings and make plans to play horsey later.

I went to the apple store therein and checked email and flight plans had spring rolls at the Vietnamese restaurant on the theme eatery mall road Bourbon street which had moved across the hall from my last visit earlier in the decade and then walked outside and across a main access road to the West Mall inn to find that there rooms were about $200 a night. So I called and called to the Comfort Inn downtown and made a reservation there. Next I returned to the mall to check out the large water slide park.  Then at some point I returned to the apple store and read on wikipedia that Emillio lavazza the head of Lavazza coffee had die and then went to a middle of the mall hallway expresso cafe and had a dopio in his honor (trying to remember all the Italian art fairs and Venetian visits where finishing an Italian  shopping mall poem was to supposed to be to be all about my business).

Meanwhile once  I got tot the hotel in downtown Edmonton this tired traveler began to settle in for the next couple of nights doing yoga by the pool watching the winter olympics on the television, and going to the sauna.  His room looked right out on the great atrium which seemed just out of biosphere with the pool several floors down but tiers of rooms looking out on the space rising. There was a Chinese restaraunt in the lobby named Bird’s Nest of Beijing which I could tell right off the bat just was going to be excellent.  When eventuallyl I returned for lunch on my last day in town this bloogger remembers having the sauteed bok choi and  a spicy Mongolian lamb dish (though the memory of the meal is now  hazy but at the time all of the wonderful food was well explained by the affable and and informative owner maitre d what have you who made the establishment such an unepectedly  charming place).

While in town I took the time to go over to the brand new home of the Art Gallery of Alberta, a geometric freast done by a one time acolyte of Frank Gherys but now creative force of his own, Randall Stout.

The New Art Gallery of Alberta Building by Randall Stout

Here there were exhibits of Goyas , etchings, works by Degas, and a survey of the work of the Candain portrait photographer Yousef Karsh.

Also playing in Edmonton was the dramady I Google myself (which I frequently do) but time had run out for me here. I went over to the chateau like Fairmont hotel at some point for the last time this traveler was in Edmonton he had been given an icy once over there.

The Fairmont, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

The next morning it was time to go on VIA rail back through the rockies after a trip on the prarie through to Vancouver.  The train was late inleaving and this writer thought this would reduce the time we had in the national park in Jaspar (but this fear later turned out to be unfounded).  The wait in the depot listening to a coupole carry on about having had their home robbed as they went on and on about all the places they went or were going to.

Meanwhile once on the train Isnared the fared four across seats let my stuff there and as the train was underway made my way for the dining car (while scoping out the bubble domed observation car as well).  Once ther I was seated there for breakfast with a young woman just back form a stint in South Africa who had done a degree in journalism before traveling abroad.  This done I settled in the watch the long haul through the Albertan prarie to the foothills of the rockies and our late day stop for about an hour in Jaspar ( a town which lies inside a national park)-One thing I did to sharpen my skill as we trekked along was to notate all the differnet things we saw as differntiated nouns so as to build up the use of the words to describe things later (and partially erase the  going around and around on the bus which I partially counteract by even citing that experience here).

On the way in once we hit the Rockies Mount Robson, the highest peak in the range

Mount Robson fromthe Observation Train Car on Via Rail

was pointed out and observed by most including moi.  Further along once the national park was entered a large group of big horn sheep was cited and announced and fast enough this blogger snapped a photo of the herd.

 

Big Horned Sheep on the Rocks

So once in Jaspar the town within the park thought told elk would graze by the train depot there were none there upon this day.  I was feeling like a traveler filling up time on the open road and seeing a bread store this blogger went wild and  got two , including the Hawaiin pineapple bread and then there was no need for the overpriced gourmet diner with assigned seating for singles in the dining car.

Meanwhile as time went on this tourist became obsessed even more than he had been with sighting a moose.  This person asked many about other moose sightings and sat and sought out the site of a moose or moose site.  Finally a man who had been studying a detailed map of the area as we coursed along back country rivers said there was a moose see him and I looked and then he said across the river and then he was gone and he inferred that he had heard the train and got up or perhaps now after long reflection and making the joke over and over on my Nyc tours that this is museum mile named that for the abundance of cultural institutions which like to display things otherwise known as museums including the mooseum the moose see him and that comes from this now perhaps there was really a moose and perhaps he was leading me on and laughing to his wife somewhere else- but then later they called everybody over to the freight car where a wildcat caretaker had to lion cubs about seven weeks old in the fold being transported back to his compound and which we were allowed to hold and this beat a moose with a two of cubs.

Lion Cub on Vancouver Bound Via Rail Train

So after this I though the day had been complete and lay across the four seats across and slept.  Upon waking the moutians were sparse and soon we were back in Vancouver and this traveler had the day to spare.   Being that the train station was(is) in the same building as the bus station this blogger decided to go to Whistler which was easily accessed from there and arranged to then metro it to the airport to sleep there in advance of his flight to San Francisco the next day.

So ticket in hand this voyage went back to the provincial pavilion park with the intent of arriving with an hour a spare to go by bus along the famous sea to sky highway to the olympic alpine village of Whistler.

On the bus he met a local biologist who specialized in fish and past Squamish and the beautiful vistas along the road now well traveled. Upon arriving in Whistler he checked out when the medal ceremonies would be investigated the village got in on the media computers and attended to drinking at the Slovenia hospitality suite at the Whistler Westin.

meanwhile much of the enjoyment this writer had inteneded to partak of was to be the high flying dynamics of the luge.  Unfortunately the practice run for the mens single was a scen to tragedy plus this itinerant typer could not leave in tiem to make it there.  Though when in Whistler he was able to sign the condolence book for the Young Georgian slider

Nodar Kumaritashvilli Memorial and Condolence Book

Nodar Kumaritashvilli Condolence Book

Still walking around this blogger passed the injured U.S skier T. J Knight hosting a tv spot and eventually made it to the media center at the Whistler Westin and then went onto to crash the Slovenian Hospitality suite where he  had more than one hearty Eastern European Brew and very nice chicken dinner.  Later he waited on line to get into the medal ceremony , took some picture of mounties

Mountie

, danced sang” tonights gonna be a good a night” with Norwegian revelers

Norwegians

and saw among other the German two man bobsled team

Crowned German and Russian Bobsled Duos

and the Austrian ski jump team receive their medals

Austrian Ski Jumpers Wolfgang Loitzl, Thomas Morgenstern, Gregor Schlierenzauer and Andreas Kofler, receiving their olympic gold medals

.  Nervous about making it back to the last bus to go back to Vanocuver from Whistler to make it to the airport to fly to San Francisco the next morn he left early during the time that the Austrian team took off their snow hats to show off their locks blonde and otherwise to go aslong with their gold medals which look liked warped compact discs and missed the concert by Devo, but, able to convince those on line with him to allow him to hold his space to run up to briefly catch the group on one of the many large video screens.

So the bus ride back was swift having been almost the very first passenger to board and soon i was back at the bus station .  Next I simply walked across to the street to the rapid transit station and mad it back to the airport as the train filled with hordes of Olympic hockey fans coming out of the stadium.  Once at he airport I made a survey of the  Tribal sculptures in the terminal and then mad it over to a Starbucks couch where I slept.

The next morning after ana rdous trip through customs this travler boarded the flight and this time coming into the bay area saw the Golden Gate Bridge and what he thought to be Alcatraz. California here he came, California here he was.

Advertisements

Onto Dubai Again Never Go Backwards Against Time

September 11, 2009

Well so the weather had had it out for me and so it was to be for the beginning of the trip to the U.A.E.  The stewardess from Seville on the plane the fabulously appointed Emirates air jet reminded me that it was humid in August in this Emirate and so it was .  When I got off the plane this far going goer had to catch his breath and was not even set up to enjoy the passport control semi inquisistion on the way in.  The new airport had been finished since last August’s visit and the columns were glittering schmaltz like the nightime sky in the plane I had just left when the onboard lights had been turned off.   No problem, I picked up my bag which had been checked through and went to the hotel office which was in a new space coughing {and another tourist a  woman said “are you sure you don’t have the h141?’ and “who let you in?” I wanted to return in question for the anwer- but I am on my best behaivior in the Emirates and just booked my stay at the hotel Delman again and I was off (though my Emerati currency which I had left over from my prior was not enough and I covered it in dollars)}.

I checked into a nice room and dropped down it was the middle of the night and turned on the BBC to hear an endless tape loop about the elections in Afghanistan (which is very poppylated) and the possibly to be released Libyan Al Megrahi).  A Longines watch which I got after many years it had been ticking in a bucket on top of pennies and other small increments of America currency had been stopping and  and first I had to change the time in Frankfurt and then in Dubai and so now I sped it ahead and and when I went  too far I spun it  it back and it broke and then I found a small earing on the floor which might have been a diamond (but probably not and thought that the genie must have spoken).

I slept all night and got to breakfest late so the lady let me on that day dine for free (love the chicken sausages).  I went back up and continued to watch the tape loop and read the gulf news which I had picked up in the lobby where the free Arabian coffee from last time was now gone.

Finally late in the afternoon I gathered my ambition and my stregnth and cabbed it over to the new Mall of Dubai and immediately sat down set  on penning my “Emirates shopping mall poem” picking a seating area where a whole admix of foriegn nationals rested and socialized.  There was an aquarium here but somehow seeing Arabs in robes and bhurkas staring at sealife when I had seen people staring at it other endless aquazones did not pull me in and it would only be another day until I would see Russians pondering other fish at the Atlantis on the man made Island sandbar Jumeriah palm as it is  known.

Meanwhile I had to do what I always do nowadays immediatley try to repurchase whatever item I had just lost or ruined on ebay so as not to loose my loose grip on my momentarily self-created identity.  I was successful; and purchased a 1963 longines watch with gold numbers which now that Iam in posession of it surely as it stopped running almost immediately seems to be a fake (will email the seller through ebay after this blogging which means soon who then assured me it only had to be shaked to work and so it is true and that after all I bought it “as is” and so it just needs to be wound or motion stimulated).

But before going to the computer store and staying on one of their laptops for hours I saw an ellipse above a  Roberto Cavali store and wouldn’t go into until I had gone all the way round without going backwards which meant having a macchiato at twelve  o’clock in mall atrium pedestrian placement time  before descending into the second rate Versace’s outpost and explaining that I was only a browser which did not light up their eyes.  I did not go backwards before completing a circle because I realized that the lesson now was never to go backwards against time.

Later I left saw the Burj al Dubai against the nightitme sky  getting a cab from the long line of taxis parked next to the Galleries Lafayette  department store and went back to the hotel blogged and went back to my room and watched the news.

The next day I got up had breakfest again went back to the room booked a trip the following day to the Eastern Emirates of the U.A.E and the Omani enclave within their grasp went back to sleep got up later and went over to the Atlantis Resort hotel theme park attraction on Jumerah Palm island which I had practised visiting by visiting the Atlantis on Paradise Island in what was it April (not to mention watching the most expensive fireworks in history which went along with its’ gala opening over and over on  youtube where the fans and strands of pyrotechnics went along with the shape of the mega deposits of sand dumped back into the sea which eroded their forefather stones shells to begin with first).

I would have gladly surrendered the dihrams to go sliding on aqua slides through whatever mythical land Sol Kerzner had transported to Arabian Shores had not my breathing made it impossible.  Instead Iwalked through watching Arabs and Russians scan the sealife before them and settled for a hugely overpriced cappucino at a  French Bistro and watched the endless parade of Russkis taking a summer break which for the Romans would be Ferrogosto when they come some of them and ride the double decker buses in Manhattan and make lots of noise and I say “Sotto Voce… Sotto Voce..” which of course I picked up from Tom Wolfe.

Afterwards  this blogger cabbed it over to the Mall of the Emirates where  he  had gone skiing on his first jaunt to the Emirates with the  initial intention of having a drink in the lobby bar of the Hotel Kempinski lobby bar and when he found there was really no such animal he settled for a thin blue and silver hotel pen to make peace with the experience.

Once inside he wandered around first stopping at the Virgin Mega Store (which while listening to Morbid on the music selection listening staion he renamed the forty virgin megastore “Virgin reccomends Virgins” but as we will hear a little later Virgin doesn’t necessarily reccomend seconds) for through the music he hoped to rev up his engines.  Soon he was off trying to fufill his goal of having lots of coffee in lots of places and he distinctly remembering the Cafe Havanna to the side of an escacaltor’s final landing and in sight of the ski hill construct of Ski Dubai he went over there for what he hoped would be strong Cuban Coffee. They had no bean from Castro’s farms but Turkish was on order and they were having a piece of cake and Java special from which the writer partook (here I am starting to sound like “”The Man for All Seasonings”).

Then he finally went up to the top level of the mall and down its one side stret to where he had marveled at a Dolce & Gabbana inmate fetish quote almost exactly a year ago and stopped at Ralph Lauren Polo to see the large Swoops and horses allover the shirts which surely made one look like a Target (and thought how he had left his own orange and yellow one which made him look like a leisure time road worker at home).

Later down at Borders he saw a  sign that Thaksin Shinawatra the exiled Prime Minister of Thailand would be doing a book signing there the following night which should be just after when he was returning from the tour of the Eastern Emirates and the Omani enclave and he resolved  to attend.

At some point he also inquired a the Thrifty car rental desk in the mall about renting a car which he found was rather easy but then decided would be against his better judgement as he was there alone and not feeling all that well at the time.

So again he cabbed it back to the hotel and heard some political mumbo jumbo about Pakistan (the driver said it was better to like everybody otherwise your throat might be cut in the morning).  So once back he relaxed for the early morning pickup which would be at the Taj Palace  (across from the Delman) where he had been picked up for the Desert Safari on the last visit last August last time.

I was picked up by a minivan which took  us (I and a few other tourists) to a roundup of minvans in a parking lot which eventually accounted for the 21 passengers who would be on the bus.  The tour guide was a pleasant if not intermittently swarmy Sri Lankan man who had all the attributes of the well documented over the ages confabulated tour guide persona( “when I was living working and scuba diving in the Maldives or the Seychelles…” perhaps) and he gave the tour in both English and German.  The tour would bring us to several of the Emirates including Sharjah, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, and as a bonus briefly into the Omani enclave.  Soon we were going across to Sarjah which is very close to Dubai and through something called a freezone the tour guide told us how it is much cheaper to live in this emirate than in Duabi but that it is dry no alchohol no alcohol that is even for tourists and if you get caught your not getting an appearance ticket you are going to jail.  He gave us the lowdown of how we would be traveling through which emirates and not that long later we were in Ras al-Khaimah for a “Friday Market’ whch are open on other days but friday but friday refers to the sabbath day kept in the muslim world friday is for they what Sunday is in the west or Saturday for Jews.

Bangaladeshi fruit stall owners descended on you as soon as your departed from the tour bus.. I immediatley chose a clump of lychees and had fun cracking their thin sells open devouring their flesh and discarding the pits.

We got back in and soon we were coming around past the source of Masafi bottled water which according to our tour guide was to paraphrase the Perrier of the UAE and saw all the largess the water company bestowed on their neighbors such as the small but ample Masafi stadium.     Then we came to some small mountains which were colored sort of a  hot desert muted red and got out to see smaples of rocks such as Mica and copper.  The tour guide enlightened this blogger as to Mica being used for solar panels and later back at the tour guide terminal “the man for all seasonings “..was astonished that they had besides black gold the source material for converting energy from the sun into power for humans and others as well.

Meanwhile I got to meet some of my fellow travelers as usual people on a layover or stopover here two Scots who were living in Lockerbie I was talking to this time who since they went away did not know that the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing had been released (though they such a deal might be in the offing).  They were flabbergasted as was much of the Western world but there seemed to be a lot of deal making going on and the real people living and dead seeemd as usual to somehow get lost.

Finally, we came down out of the mountains and were on the coast and the Emirates had enclaves and it was explained that before oil Sarjah was perhaps the most powerful enirate and thus they had land allover the place so we shuttled betwen Sarjah, the Omani enclave , and then Fujairah.  The company had said bring your passport because sometimes the Omani officials will check it (but not in this instance) though this part of Oman is not contigous to the main nation.  We past around a lot of traffic circles with Dolphins and sharks , and magic lamps during the coastal part of the tour and the visit to Oman was very brief and there was really nothing to signify that I had been to Oman other than that this tourist was told that he was now in Oman.

Later in Fujairah we visited a hotel called Sandy Beach on the Indian Ocean for lunch and for swimming.  I decided not to eat and enjoy the pool and do yoga moves while floating and this loosened my muscles and all of a sudden I felt sort of alright and an Austrailian woman told me why didn’t I also visit my hotel pool (which at the Delman is on the roof).

I swam in the pool heard more Russians in the abound and also took a dip into the Indian Ocan here in the lagoon  even thought they told me there was a Rea Algae alert.

This was sort of the zenith of the tour though we later visited what was said to be the oldest mosque in the UAE later (but only the outside for the inside was reserved for Muslims only) and past a sand spit out into the sea island supposedly inspired by those big jobs in Dubai but it hadn’t really been developed and just looked a little bit like Robert Smithson’s spiral Jetty in sand.

When it was time to get off the bus I asked the guide to let me off perhaps at the mall of the Emirates and he told me to get off at the Alcazar hotel and cab it over there (which brought back the palace in Seville the  image of seen so many years before by these eyes in Andalucia was still fresh after talking to the stewardess on the flight in from Frankfurt).  so I did walked around saw a giant black doorman and copies of the famous horses wandered around outside and looked at the Persian Gulf and then cabbed it over to meet Mr.  Thaskin the exiled Prime minister of Thailand.

In the meantime it was a bit early and I walked the mall going by the free date promotion from Royal Crown (dates) and enjoying them and wlaking through some prefume stores to choose a new emblmatic fragrance to savor and this trips’ winner was La Nuit De L’Homme by Yves Saint Laurent (which is apparently not available in the U.S yet).

So after browsing one store which had moving sidewalks running through it like an airport and seating also evoking a terminal this mall historian made his way back to Borders and found that the Prime Minister was late and meanwhile one seemingly prominent Emirati asked for my table in the cafe for his group was large and I of course obliged.  This writer made his way to the seating area and met a French woman who had lived in Thailand and some Fillipinas whom he had thought were Thai but later found out were Fillipinas.

Eventually the former Prime Minister and ex-owner of the Manchester United Football squad arrived and and was quite pleasant greeting the small crowd as several including I stood up to shake his hand.  I had purchased his book (published in the U.A.E) earlier as to have it signed and after he iterated how he had performed an economic miracle in the formenr Siam and that he could do the same for the world if the planet just let him (via putting capital in the hands of individuals on a mass scale and encouraging them to seek wealth as if to paraphrase ) he signed my copy.  I asked him to sign my copy in Thai  as well(as he had for several Thais in attendance) and since I was not Thai he did not do so.  He and the the large security guard behind me thanked this this blogger and he was back off into the precincts of the mall.

The next day he slept the entire day only emerging for meal once this in this 24 hour period and that was  had at a neighboring hotel and then  he to tried to go to the Palazzo Versace on Dubai Creek that he’s been reading about back in the States but to no avail after calling some palce named Versailles he googled and saw that it was still under construction so he returned to his room to rest for the next days journey to Abu Dhabi.  Later I found out that there was a Roberto Cavlai restaraunt/nightclub in the Emirate and this shopping mall poet wished that he known this all along.

So then this day being almost gone he went over to a neighboring hotel so as to have a different buffet including the highlight of lamb in  yogurt and though more expensive it was quite pleasant as beign in sight of a winding stone staircase where a fountain of water wound down around from and as if it were a snake I was charmed.

So briefly this blogger thought of making it over to the Marriot in two parts crossed by a skybridge but decided to rest.   He also inquired about making a bus to Abu Dhabi (since the only tours there as I forgot to inform you earlier in this posting were “a Capital City” on Wendesday which I had missed by a few hours even coming close to making  and though they had it listed as going out twice in the current economy it was going out once).  Meanwhile I had changed my room a day back as this guest was asked to voluntarirly surrender his room so it could become the place for prayer during Ramadan Kareem and in doing so he got the second of three free Breakfests which would be awarded to him during and after the trip plus a room discount.

So the next morning having been warned to take a large bus he got a ticket where the taxi dropped him off and it wound up being for a van where he should have taken the front seat but not moving fast enough got the next row back behind the driver and wound up sitting next to an Asian woman who took a handkerchief to avoid the smell fo what must have been Arabian foot or body odor which I didn’t smell much as the van made its way along the coast getting a view of the skyline and many projects underway in Dubai and then as we approached Abu Dhabi. There several large projects with some of the large unusal buildings which I had seen in pctures at architectural symposiums on the forthcoming architecture of the Emirates in Manhattan, such as the Yas Hotel, and Ferrari World  part of the Alador Corporation Yas Island development, The Capitol Gate Tower Hotel (supposedly to be when completed the worlds  tallest leaning Tower Hotel) and most impressively the new Alador headquarters itself which is a huge glass circle standing upright which in turn like a tetrahedron contributing to other shapes then in turn breaks back down into triangles.

So after passing the offices for the Sorbonne UAE and letting off a afew voyagers we pulled into the central bus station which luckily was next to a shopping mall.  Having been out in the mall before Ramadan I had not really adventured out during the day during Ramadan since the last day I had  been out during  the day was the day before Ramadan.  But now here I was and all the food and drink places were closed but luckily a chocolate store was open and a Chienese woman though she wasn’t supposed to sneaked me a bottle of water in a shopping bag and I went upstairs and bought a book and a map and decided I would try to make heads or tails of where I was via the map and find Saadiyat Island where they are to be building the Guggenheim and the new Louvre respectively by Frank Ghehrys and Jean nouvel as well as a cultural center by Zaha Hadid and a museum dedicated to Abu Dhabi’s connection to the sea and its maritime history by Tado Ando.  So buying a bottle of water at a time and sustaining nasty looks I kept going with water gotten at groceries usally owned by Indians or Bangaladeshis I walked towards what I knew was the sea made one stop near a Marks & Spencers where a European big wig waltzed in and there was a sign for women and their drivers and tried to walked twoards the tower with what seemed to be a giant golf ball driven into cemtent onto it atop.  I got to the waterfront and across was the a beautiful  unharmed strech of beach where  could be worn the bhurkas made from materials which are suitable for swimming which I spied at the watersports store run by asians in the first mall by which I had been let off.

Meanwhile before I had gotten to the waterfront and its tiled esplanade this writer had stopped at a Jewelry souk to see if the tiny earing he had found in his hotel the room which had been surrendered to become the prayer place for hotel guests during Ramadan Kareem was worth anything and the jeweler used a device and renedered a decision that it was not.  But here I am on the espalanade and I took out dihram coins and risked having a coke which was flavored by lemon and sat by fountains and doused myself in water and kept walking and then saw the fishing boats which the photographer Daniela Sessa had taken pictures of which she had shown me while we were all involved in our would be tour guide limousine buisness disaster.

So then I made all the way down walked over saw a funny building project saw it was for a private concern and then walked back across again another highway and wound up in the vegtable market which was supposed to be across from the island where they are to build the museums as well as the Persian Gulf campus of NYU and the shoreline was still blocked and so I kept walking and wound up in a freight storage area where a sign threatened that if you used an unoccupied space for your own cargo and it was found out it would be removed and there was a health clinic within these grounds and then this blogger decided he would not be able to gain sight of what he wanted to see and there was no bridge and so he walked back to a corner back by the main road and no cab would pick him up guessing due to the undesirable location in which he was standing and he might have tried to make it over to the Emirates Palace which he hadn’t seen but he was tired and when from afar he saw a cab driver who had pulled up to an onion seller’s location he made small talk and arranged for a voyage back to the main main bus station to go back to Dubai.

He was lucky and got a back seat on a big bus and when he got back he got juice and water and in the cab he got the cab driver asked him what country he was from? andf he said the us and why? because here it is ramadan and we do not drink water in public you can do what you want in a hotel room and so I drank not another sip got to my hotel and gave him no tip.

This was very well the end of the trip (I thought about walking over to the marriot but did not) then I emailed my freind and fellow tour guide Max Naegeli that I had met Thaskin the former prime minister of thailand and he said to get him a present from Dubai and I decided to oblige since he had gotten me a series of trinkets from Siam where once we had had mango pizza and I had said  that things were what they were and a leaf had fallen on me in the outdoor courtyard of a cafe.   I decided to go to the airport very early by prearranged transport van and after a night of sleeping had breakfest and prepared to depart.

Once at the airport I found out that I would be having a long layover in Switzerland and that probably  this traveler would need to get a hotel.   Meanwhile at the phone recharge station after buying Max a camel and shedding a few pounds he met a Indian Muslim man living in Saudi Arabia who explained marriage in his world and working in the kingdom.   Soon it was time to board and on the flight the movies did not work and the arm-rest for the exit-row seat fell down but I finally saw the sand Islands of the world formation of Dubai from the sky and the Swiss man next to me said that it would  “probably never be finished”

The World Islands of Dubai by Andreas Gursky

. Meanwhile I saw Saudi Arabia, followed by Jordan, Syria, and Turkey from up on high ( they flew in Saudi territory along the Iraqi border and never once went over into the latter’s air space as well as avoiding Lebanon and Israel did not exist on the onboard navigation screen and the area instead was marked with the word Gaza).  The Emirates air stewardess who sat in front of me during takeoff and landing was a beautiful Kenyan and we talked about that nation which I have always wanted to visit