Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Play Day in South Dakota

Here it is, our reward for zooming across the US, we gave ourself a break – one day to play, and we are right where we want to be, in Wall, South Dakota, from where we will go straight into some of the most dramatic scenery the world has to offer, the South Dakota Badlands.

The Badlands Loop was amazing. Few other tourists, but all blown away by the scenery and the displays. It probably took us longer than it needed to, but we were having such a good time. Many people were camping, and pulling long campers- there are many many spots for any kind of camper.

Then on to Hot Springs, with a few stops on the way, starting with Reptile Gardens, for AdventureMan. They have amazing displays, some very expert shows, and some of the fattest snakes I have ever seen. Here are some of the fat prairie dogs:

Then on to Mt. Rushmore, which is very impressive:

Then we took winding scenic highway 16 south, through the forests, and meadows full of amazing game; pronghorns, buffalo, and deer.

We took our time, stopping to watch the buffalo roam, enjoying the wonderful scenery. When we got to Hot Springs, we checked into the Red River Rock Resort and Spa, found our beautiful room, but still had time for one more special thing before our early evening massages – so we hurried to the Mammoth Museum, Wooo HOOOOO!

We had a great guide, Kelly, who kept the group informed and entertained, and my friends, this museum is totally awesome. Several years ago a developer began bulldozing this site for a housing development, but stopped immediately when he started unearthing these huge bones. With amazing vision, the city constructed a building to protect the site, which continues to be excavated, a little more every year. The museum is huge, and all the bones are still in their original locations, just partially excavated so we can see how they lay.

Kelly explained how mammoths used to come for the sweet grass growing around the edge of this sinkhole, then they would fall in and couldn’t get out. They have found many many skeletons of mammoths – and other animals – going down as far as they have been able to measure.

This museum is worth a trip – to South Dakota, and to Hot Springs. Our hotel and our massages were just a bonus, but this museum – this museum was the prize.


Then back to our room for our wonderful massages, getting rid of the stresses and strains of four straight days of driving, and a quiet evening as relaxed as limp noodles.

August 31, 2010 Posted by | Adventure, Beauty, ExPat Life, Geography / Maps, Public Art, Travel | 7 Comments

Fat Tuesday and Beads

“That’s not tinsel, Mom,” my son said, “They’re beads. People throw them during the Mardi Gras parade, and they stick in the trees. And it’s not Shrove Tuesday, it’s Fat Tuesday, here in Pensacola.”

Oh.

Today I needed to do a couple trips downtown and so I looked closely at all the colorful objects sparkling in the trees after the Mardi Gras parades. Yep. He was right. Beads.

It is still cold in Pensacola. The temperature as I was driving around this morning was just above freezing. But it is cold – and clear – and sunny, and those beads sparkle in the sunlight.

Tonight we are having Jambalaya for Fat Tuesday, the night before Lent starts. I have little Q sleeping next to me. Life is sweet in Pensacola. :-)

February 17, 2010 Posted by | Adventure, Arts & Handicrafts, Community, Cultural, Florida, Living Conditions, Public Art | , , | Leave a comment

Doha Sunset

When I lived in Kuwait, every day I was thrilled by the sun coming up over the horizon. I never got tired of it.

Today, thanks be to God, I was out when the sun started getting low in the sky, and the colors have added dimensions – what a treat.

Some views of Doha at sunset:

November 25, 2009 Posted by | Beauty, Doha, Family Issues, Friends & Friendship, Public Art, Qatar | | 5 Comments

Brass Band Concert Tomorrow, Suq Al Waqif

Thanks, Grammy! If you have ever had an interest in exploring the Souqs, now is the time. The weather is perfect, nights are breezy and warm but not hot, there are a zillion good restaurants to choose from, AND tomorrow night is a very cool concert:

November 18, 2009 Posted by | Adventure, Arts & Handicrafts, Community, Doha, Eating Out, Entertainment, Events, ExPat Life, Living Conditions, Public Art, Qatar | Leave a comment

More Jewels from the Doha Museum of Islamic Art

More guests, and another trip to the Doha Museum of Islamic Art. I never tire of the place. Most of all, when I walk in, I just take a deep breath, breathe in the serenity.

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It doesn’t hurt that there is also a wonderful, clean ladies room.

Every time we are there, we see something new and wonderful, something that was there, but we hadn’t noticed before. Here are some things I saw this time:

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October 15, 2009 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Customer Service, Doha, ExPat Life, Living Conditions, Public Art, Qatar | 4 Comments

Doha Museum of Islamic Art Wins Coveted Award

What I love the most about this award is that it takes into account the usage of local materials. It’s also something I love about The Pearl development; all those buildings and villas built on the rubble carted away from earlier demolition projects and turned into reclaimed land. :-) Re-cycling to the max!

Museum of Islamic Art bags architecture award
Web posted at: 10/6/2009 1:19:1
Source ::: The PENINSULA

Dubai: Museum of Islamic Art in Doha was awarded “Overall Project of the Year” at the 2nd Annual Middle East Architect Awards.

Qatar Museums Authority (QMA) was presented with the award, for the Museum of Islamic Art – Doha, at a ceremony hosted by the Middle East Architect magazine.

The annual ceremony is the most prestigious event dedicated to recognise outstanding architectural projects in the region.

The Museum of Islamic Art was chosen for its traditional design principles that use indigenous materials and processes and integrates them with contemporary technology to create familiar, functional and environmentally sustainable architecture.

Accepting the award on behalf of QMA, Omar Chaikhouni, Manager of Public Relations and Information said: “We are delighted and honoured to be recognised as the top overall project in 2009 among all the nominees from the region. The Middle East Architect awards ceremony is a great initiative and we wish it all the success in years to come.”

Organised by ITP Business Publishing, the lavish awards ceremony took place at the Westin Dubai with the presence of more than 200 leading professionals from the region’s architecture industry, including architects, developers, service providers, contractors and building owners.

The 2nd Annual Middle East Architect Awards set out to raise the profile of the industry and reward and recognise those that have made significant contributions to its development.

Ten awards were presented at the ceremony in categories that covered a number of fields, from infrastructure project of the year to mixed-use development of the year, and from engineering firm of the year to architect of the year.

The winners were judged by a panel of experts, which consisted of industry-leading academics, architects and engineers from around the Middle East.

October 6, 2009 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Building, Character, Community, Cultural, Doha, News, Public Art, Qatar | 3 Comments

Slow Saturday; Yousef’s Take in Fisherman Skyline Photo

I LOVE what Yousef did. It’s a slow Saturday, nothing much going on. If you want a crack at this photo, take it. Play with it. Send it back to me, show us what you’ve done. Keep it clean. :-)

Yousef:
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is that a WOW or what?

So . . . I don’t have all these tools. Go for it. The shot is in the Eid morning photos you will find here so have some fun with it.

September 26, 2009 Posted by | Adventure, Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Blogging, Photos, Public Art | Leave a comment

Sunset on Sunset Avenue

I arrived in Seattle just in time. My dearest, oldest friend’s father died as I was en route, and the service was this week. On a cold and dreary day, fortunately I had a dark dress with me, and I quickly ran and bought stockings, which are so irrelevant in the heat and humidity of August in Doha, and so necessary for a relatively formal occasion in Seattle.

Last night, we got together and walked, something we have done through the years, and then grabbed a bite to eat. We walked along Sunset Avenue, in Edmonds, just as the sun was setting.

In one of the yards, we saw this wonderful tarted-up piece of driftwood:

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The light was glorious:
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August 31, 2009 Posted by | Beauty, Exercise, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Friends & Friendship, Interconnected, Living Conditions, Public Art, Seattle, Travel | 2 Comments

Doha Museum of Islamic Art, Take 4

I can’t let friends or family come to Doha without a trip to the serene beauty of the Doha Museum of Islamic Art. Little Diamond was content to view the exhibits at her own speed, so I visited a few of my favorite friends:

I never tire of spending time with Iznik Tiles

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There is an Iranian piece that bowls me over with its beauty
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And I just have this thing for light fixtures. This is a mosque lamp, and I think it is Turkish

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But oh, look at the interior of the museum itself:

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There is a breathtaking view of the Corniche Skyline from the spot where, on the map, they say the coffee shop should be. It really needs a coffee shop there. The restrooms are immaculate, the gift shop has lovely items, the exhibits are lush and beautiful, but you need a place to sit and think about what you’ve seen, compare notes, recharge so you can go back and take another look at something you are wondering about. It really, really needs that coffee shop.

July 21, 2009 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Building, Community, Cultural, Doha, Entertainment, ExPat Life, Living Conditions, Public Art, Qatar | , | 9 Comments

Souq Al Waqif and The Tajine

I can’t let Little Diamond leave Doha without one more visit to the Souk al Waqif. She used to go with me in the old days, when the souk was really really really HOT, and stuffy, and even a little dirty, and the pathways were dark and potholed, so you could easily trip or fall down. Some people I would take loved the place, some didn’t want to set foot inside. It was considered dangerous, and off limits to the military folk.

I miss the scribes. I miss the shoemakers. I miss the little hardware stalls, where when I would ask for masonry nails, 3/4″, they would take me by my sleeve to the man who sold masonry nails. It was a sweet souk then.

It is a WOW souk now. Many of the vendors are the same, even though some have gone missing. There is still the canvas sailmaker, and the fishing supplies man, and the bird souk. There is still the HUGE kitchen souk, and I don’t mean it is a large store, I mean it is a store for giant people, who cook in pots the size that a grown man or woman – or both – could hide in!

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When we lived in Jordan, we used to be invited to feasts, Mensefs, a huge rice dish, served with goat most often, sometimes chicken, rarely lamb or mutton (sheep) if it was a really really special occasion on huge round trays. The trays in the Souk Al Waqif would probably serve twenty men at one time, they are so huge.

People say you can’t stop progress. When we lived in Doha the last time, the municipality put in meters for paid street parking. Qatteris were so outraged that the meters were ripped back out without ever being used. I wonder where all those hundreds of unused parking meters ended up?

Today there is a story in the paper about paid parking going in at the Souq al Waqif, and they quote five or six people who are wildly enthusiastic about the idea and all I can wonder is . . . where did they find people who would publicly say they were in favor of PAYING for parking that they always have had for free? The article says that now they will have less competition from large trucks, but when we are there at congested times, it is normal everyday SUV’s and family goat-trucks that are competing for the parking spaces. I wonder if the public perception has changed so much in five years that people are now openly praising paid parking?

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It isn’t costly. It’s going to be like 3QR – less than a dollar. It also isn’t covered, and when you park your car in the lot, it is hotter than anything you can imagine when you come out, even if it is only 0930 and only been sitting there for an hour. The best time to go is night, during these hot summer months, and even so – the place is hopping. Even on a week night, there are so many good restaurants down in the Souk al Waqif restaurant row that it is a go-to place for a dinner out.

We tried the Tagine, as we all like Moroccan Food.

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The greeting was warm, and the service was attentive.

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The food was excellent. Now I have an admission to make, one I have had to make frequently – I forgot to take a photo when the food was served, so all you can see is the mostly eaten remains. I am so sorry, sincerely sorry, but it smelled SO good, and we were SO hungry.

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We sat overlooking the souks. There is a wonderful terrace for outdoor dining, but it is just a little too hot and humid for us to enjoy eating outside right now. We can hardly wait for October, when those cooler breezes start blowing.

These are the pre-starter nibbles, delicious olives, a tangy spicy Harissa paste, and delicious fresh-baked bread that melts in your mouth:

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We ordered the mixed hot starters, which all disappeared before I thought to take a photo, and Little Diamond had the Addas (lentil) soup, also very good, also not photographed. We had the Moroccan Salad and Zaalouk, an eggplant/ tomato salad we adore. Yep. We were so hungry I forgot to take photos.

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AdventureMan ordered Chicken With Slim Bread because we had never heard of it before and it sounded interesting. It was good. He shared with me. :-) He also chose the CousCous with 7 Vegetables, because when we lived in Tunisia, we were told traditionally it was always supposed to have seven vegetables (and one was always squash, and there were always garbanzo beans, and there was always tomato, and pretty much always carrot – it was always a very vegetable-y dish). It doesn’t sound like we ordered that much, but it was so delicious, and so filling, that it there was food left over.

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The bill was reasonable. Wine and beer are not available, and that keeps the totals lower. We rolled ourselves back to the car, already planning our next trip to his delightful restaurant.

Once the sun goes down, the heat isn’t so bad. The Souq Al Waqif is so much fun at night. Everyone goes there – the locals, the expats, the tourists – it thrills my heart to see a public space so well loved, so well used. There are some very cool art spots going in, too!

One of my good friends told me there is a blog in Arabic that talks about searching for a restaurant I had written about in Mubarakiyya, only to find out it was in Doha. The blogger had invited guests. I felt so bad. So I will add this: WARNING WARNING THIS RESTAURANT IS IN DOHA, QATAR, NOT IN KUWAIT!

July 21, 2009 Posted by | Adventure, Beauty, Community, Customer Service, Doha, Eating Out, ExPat Life, Food, Living Conditions, Public Art, Qatar, Shopping | 1 Comment

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