Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ready to fly

I'm typing this in the airport lounge, one of the perks of flying business class or better. Things have been pretty hectic --ok, totally chaotic -- the past few weeks and I know I will look back on this and think "How did I do all that?" Won't be the first time. But the checks are all in the mail (Michael, Norman . . .) and I am ready to relax. I spend so many wonderful hours with my family and friends these past weeks that I have the warmest of feelings now. Or maybe it's the Aviation martini I had with my sister-in-law Robin. Anyway here are a couple of photos from the Moroccan dinner celebration on Saturday. Nicole and I belly danced, and I got a fez because we were celebrating my going away. Everyone else in the place were celebrating birthdays.

Nicole and I held our own with the belly dancer.
Brian, my son, and granddaughter Kailyn

 I was hoping to get a chance to edit Mark's comments but they just called my flight so here they are. See you next time!

I will insert photos later . . .

Mark's 3rd week

Abu Dhabi, so much new stuff, people and places to master, I’m finally learning some of what is going on and getting comfortable. I’m no longer nervous about driving. I jet around town like the taxis, find my way around town just fine, know how to slam on the brakes when the lights start to change, avoid Emirate drivers, park in the most amazing of spots and find my way to work in the unbelievably thick morning fog. I wonder how Anne is going to adjust to my driving here. She white knuckles it driving with me in Gardnerville.

Work is going well too. This is how I understand how work works. My employer is DynCorp. They operate under a subcontract from Al Taif Technical Services. BTW - I just found out ‘Al’ roughly means ‘the’ and ‘Taif’ means rainbow. I need to watch what I say in this blog but Dana and I had to work hard to contain ourselves when we heard the translation of Taif. The photo above shows me in my company shirt with the Al Taif’company logo above the pocket in my sterile living room. You can’t see it but the gear sector logo looks kind of rainbowish.

This rainbow stuff reminds me of the Rainbow Sheikh. No connection to Al Taif but this member of the royal family is amazing. I got this from Wikipedia

·         He has one of the largest car collections in the world at over 200 cars and trucks which are stored in a pyramid that he built

The Rainbow Sheikh's Power Wagon
·         He constructed the world's largest truck; a replica of a classic Dodge Power Wagon, eight times the size of the original, with four bedrooms inside the cab and bed. The vehicle moves, and weighs over 50 tons.

·         In 1983 he acquired seven Mercedes 500 SELs, one for each day of the week, which are painted in the colors of the rainbow complete with matching interior. The vehicles also have gun racks on the inside with M16 rifles painted to match the cars.

 This site has some info on his giant jeep http://jalopnik.com/5509865/middle+eastern-chuck-norris-builds-worlds-largest-jeep. Google “Rainbow Sheikh” for more.

Getting back to work…Al Taif is a division of Mubadala Development Corporation, a company headed by Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan or… Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan for short. Unless they have a title you address Arabs, and everyone else in this country, by their first name only. If appropriate they have a title like Sheikh, pronounced "shake" over here. The ‘bin’ in Arabic names means ‘son’. So Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan is a son of Zayed, the much loved father of modern UAE who built the world’s largest mosque (the photo shows the view from my apt of the mosque behind some buildings) and most everything here in Abu Dhabi judging from names like Port Zayed, Zayed Bridge, Zayed University ad infiniteum and the grandson of Sultan Al Nahyan, the father of Zayed. Their tribe is Al Nahyan.

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