12.11.2013 - 12.11.2013
Chris Corcoran, Chaz's boss' wife, has emailed me to welcome me back to Abu Dhabi. This year Chaz and I have arranged a cell phone for me (remember our fiasco of trying to do that last year?) and she calls to arrange a lunch out together on Wednesday. She has several errands to run and I look forward to tagging along.
She picks me up around 11:00 on Wednesday and it's wonderful to see her again. Steve, her husband, is former military and Chris has a very easy way about her, perhaps born from years of forming quick friendships on military bases - very relaxed and I'm immediately at ease as we catch up on the happenings of the past year in our lives. While we haven't met each other's families we ask and relate about our children and travels in the past year.
Her first stop is to a pottery shop run by several French women. She met them at a bazaar and had placed a few special orders that were now ready to pick up. Their shop is within a home and after a couple of phone calls to clarify directions (remember no addresses in Abu Dhabi!) we park at a local mosque and one of the women is standing at the end of a driveway to wave us over. Inside is a spacious home with large rooms - in one there is a long table where 4 or 5 women surrounding it are painting pottery. Two women take us into another room where they bring out items they have for sale as well as Chris' special order. I am immediately intrigued by their pottery - stark white plates of all shapes and sizes, tea cups, coffee cups and ornaments. I end up buying a large round platter painted with stylized camels and two smaller plates with desert scenes on them. I also buy a set of Arabian coffee cups, very small almost thimble sized cups, that Arabs serve their strong coffee in. I chose a set with names of different spices on each one and small pictures as well. I'm emboldened to try my high school French and am delighted when once compliments me on my accent, although my brain feels like mush when I try to conjure up a few sentences. But they are gracious and it's fun!
Next Chris heads to the port area of Abu Dhabi. She and Steve have ordered a teak bar from an Indian importer. It has arrived but they are having alterations made to it. It's a free standing building with 2 floors of furniture stacked end to end. Chris' piece is in the lower floor where they are removing a wine rack on one side and installing shelves and a door. It's very pretty with brass tacks and decorations. Chris also chooses three bar stools from the inventory - there are not three that match, so she chooses one large to put behind the bar and two matching to place in front of the bar.
It's already 1:00 and we decide to have lunch close to our compounds. Chris and Steve live next door to Chaz's compound. We head to Nathalie's, a small deli shop inside an office building where we can sit outside. The weather has been absolutely beautiful since I arrived - high 70's to low 80's during the day and mid 60's at night. Occasionally the winds have been strong which creates dusty swirls everywhere and hazy horizons. But today it is mild and extremely pleasant. We look inside at the salads on daily special and choose three: a watermelon with feta, orzo with asparagus and peppers, and green salad with pecans and tomato. It is delicious with portions generous enough to take half home in a "take-away box". All meals are leisurely affairs in Abu Dhabi. We sit down around 1:15 and after eating followed by coffee for Chris and tea for me it's now after 3:00. I arrive home just minutes before Chaz - Wednesday is his long day, arriving home around 4:00 rather than 3:00 as on other days.
Tomorrow Chaz is taking a sick day and we're travelling to Al Ain, the desert oasis town of Abu Dhabi. We're staying one night and have a day of sightseeing planned!