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Friday, November 12, 2010

Day 51, Sunday - Abu Dhabi to Al Ain

Moataz picked me up around 8:30am and we drove to Al Ain, to the United Arab Emirates University where I will be staying for the next couple of days.

The drive to Al Ain
This really entailed us driving round for about four hours, less than half of which was getting from Abu Dhabi to Al Ain as most of it was spent figuring out where I was supposed to go. Turns out it is a really big university with separate men’s and women’s campuses and housing areas. I was in a separate area known as the “Residential College” or “Maqam” which is not really that close to the “New Campus” but they have buses which take the girls every half hour.

The afternoon was spent settling into my room. Which means… time for more random thoughts from Isabelle (because I know you love them).

1. I saw my first live camel today (since the ones you could ride in Petra) on the drive to Al Ain! It was sitting in the bed of a truck with its head looking out over the cabin. I really wish I had been quick enough to take a picture, but we passed by them too fast.

2. A very popular drink in the Middle East is Laban, which is like halfway between yogurt and milk. Tastes like yogurt, but is drinkable.

3. Fish is a very popular food item here. It is served in the majority of the meals I have eaten, particularly in Oman.

4. There are a lot of really big cars here, basically everyone owns an SUV of some sort. Even Porsche has made one (I don’t think it exists in the States, has anyone seen one there?).

5. Almost everyone in the Gulf countries and Jordan has a house maid, sometimes two, and sometimes a driver. They are typically Asian or Indian.

6. The maids and cooks here at the university call you “Darling” and I think it is cute. :)

7. The girls at the university are really nice and friendly.

8. I am not all that short here, relatively speaking.

9. Funny English picture #1

10. Funny English picture #2

In the evening, I went to dinner at the cafeteria. After getting my food and sitting down, a girl came over and introduced herself. She asked me where I was from, but as I had just taken a big bite of my sandwich (that has to be some cosmic rule of timing or something) I couldn’t answer right away. She asked if I was Middle Eastern, I shook my head. She asked if I was Australian, I shook my head. She asked if I was European, I shook my head. By this point I was able to swallow and tell her that I was American.

She welcomed me and asked if I was a student so I told her I was just visiting. She said if I wanted or needed anything just to ask any of the girls. I ate the rest of my sandwich and then decided to go over and sit with her and some other girls.

There were seven girls at the table and I asked them where they were from and what their majors were. One of the girls was Pakistani, the others were Omani or Emirati. They asked about me and when I told them my name was Bella they said “Oh?! And where is Edward?” I laughed because that is the first time anyone has said that, although I guess I shouldn't be surprised as I know they have thought it. I got the same reaction later on from another girl as well.

I told them where I was staying in case they wanted to come visit.

On my way out, another girl came walking up behind me and said hello. She asked if I was French. We got chatting and I found out she is from Oman. I told her I had just come from there and so we sat outside and talked for a while.

Back in my room, one of the girls from the dining hall stopped by to say hi, she is the one from Pakistan. We were chatting at my door, mostly because I don’t have any chairs in my room, and the girl from across the hall came over to say hi as well. She was curious to meet me as she had never met an American before. We all talked for a while and then we went back to our rooms.

A little while later, the girl from across the hall came by with another girl from Oman who had heard about me and wanted to meet me. We talked for a while until it was pretty late and time for bed.

It looks like I won’t have a shortage of people to talk to. :)


  1. are there any closets in your room to hang clothes? Loved all your input. Grandma

  2. I love the maps - how do you make them?

  3. I like the funny English pictures :)

  4. @Anonymous - Some times I have closets and sometimes I don't. The only place I fully unpacked was Kuwait.

    @David - Thanks! I got a map through Google Images and then used Microsoft Paint for the lines. Which reminds me... Disclaimer: I do not own Microsoft or Microsoft Office or Microsoft Paint. I also do not own Googe or Google Images or the maps, which may be subject to copyright, or the countries depicted by them. Just to be clear. :)

    @Amanda - Me too. :)