Friday, February 26, 2010

Losing Control

The good news is, I've got the remote con back for my projector. The bad news is, it took me all evening to check the last place I would look...

Today was a bit of a wash. My partner in crime was in Dubai trawling for jobs, so I really didn't have anything exciting to do today. I went to church for the first time this week in the Mormonmobile. Yes, that's right: the Mormonmobile. One of the plethora of Mormon RAKESS teachers decided it would be a GREAT idea for us to engage one of the school vans to take us to church and back every Friday. I'll admit it has its good sides - like the fact that we leave (approximately) a half hour after the meetings end, rather than, oh, two hours, and it only costs 15 dirhams each. But on the other hand, I'm enclosed with even more people but less legroom. Oh, and I spent the entire ride back entertaining the Heusners' three year-old. Sometimes the fact that every child loves me can be a burden. However, since I had to teach Sunday School this week and didn't have the money to rent a car or take a taxi, I took - for the first time in my life - the church bus.

I should have started reading my next lesson when I got home. Socrates once told me that the elder Vigliotti girl is too smart to be Mormon, and while I disagree because I've known some fricking smart Mormon kids, she is definitely going to keep me on my toes. But no - I got home and went to the computer, where I'd downloaded the first episode of the last season of Lost, got it on the memory stick, and plugged it into the projector, only to realize I had no idea where my remote con was. I started to turn the living room upside down, but I was lethargic in spite of the fact that I slept through sacrament meeting. Also, I was fasting, and as the locals will tell you, sleep is a great way to make the experience more pleasant! So I slept about two hours this afternoon, and woke up to look around for the remote again, and, failing to find it, went in search of food and a few things from Carrefour.

One of the things was alternatives to "fizzy drinks." I keep failing to give them up, but I'm going to try again. Don't ask why. I like coke. Maybe I'll just become a social drinker - I'll go on my Thursday night binges once a week. I kind of like that idea. In the meantime, I've got Tang. Orange tang for the nostalgia of it and fresh baked crybabies in my great-mom's house as a child, although I was pleasantly surprised to find that it comes in mango and pineapple and I think one other flavor, as well.

The other thing was ice cream, which seems to have survived in spite of the fact that I forgot to put it away for...uhmmmm...two hours after I got home. I finally gave up on finding the remote and managed to manually load Lost. Five minutes before the end, Socrates called me back and so I had to restart it since I haven't figured out how to pause or fast-forward the damn thing manually, and let it play through again until it got to the right spot. Then I started looking for the remote again, incidentally finding the ice cream was sitting on the counter. I was upending furniture, which apparently involves me tripping backwards over my upside-down end table (again, I found myself cursing the fact that no one was there to be amused by it and/or be in awe of the fact that I managed to do so gracefully and with a minimum of self-damage - MAD NINJA SKILLS!!!) when my eye landed on the bag of cheetos I munched on throughout my sick day, and I thought, "Surely not." Surely so. There on top of the cheetos was my remote con, a little cheesy but none the worse for wear. Yeah. That's what my day has been like.

Yesterday I had my first sick day in five years. I probably could have toughed it out, but I didn't. Sometimes you just need to stay home and take care of yourself. So I did, and it was good.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Masalaam

This morning saw me sending the Evil One off to the Dubai airport in a bright pink taxi with a female Romanian driver. This afternoon saw me dragging my sick ass out of bed long enough to take the money she didn't have on her downstairs for her driver. Yes, I am now sad as well as sick.

It was a really good weekend, so good that come Saturday night I found myself having the Back-In-RAK blues again. I got turned around a lot, but Evil and Socrates both have excellent map reading skills, so we always got where we needed to be, although consequently I did spend a lot on SALIK tolls. We went to church and she got to experience white people giving talks again (ie, longer than 5 minutes), Filipinos singing along softly to a solo intermediate hymn, and MY fabulous youth Sunday school lesson (honestly? probably the most enjoyable calling I've had in a very long time). We went from there to Dubai Mall where we met Socrates (probably the most disorienting, surreal moment during my travels abroad...seeing Evil in a foreign land I've gotten used to, but having two completely unrelated yet significantly important individuals from different eras in my life meet up as if it ain't no thang in a mall in Dubai??? A small bit trippy, teacher, to say the least).
We returned our Burj Khalifa tickets (grr), had lunch,
experienced the wonders of a North American level bookstore in the reading desert that is Arabia, and went on our merry way to see the Palm Jumeirah...or to drive out to Atlantis, take a look around, see the lobby's Chihuly, and walk past the guard onto the back veranda...or rather, I did, Socrates failed the "pretend you belong here" test by incorrectly answering that most crucial of questions, "Are you staying at the hotel?" (he who hesitate is lost!), and the Evil One didn't even try. We met up again later for dinner and attempted to go out dancing or something, but the music at Long's "School Disco" was not the 80's pop tunes advertised in Time Out and somebody had jetlag, so we left Socrates to his own devices sometime around midnight.

We got up and did some shopping at the Mall of the Emirates where Socrates met us before we departed for RAK (via Festival City - I needed frames from IKEA, and I promised Evil Gourmet Burgers for lunch). The rental, Socrates' Mazda 3 from last fall, was making some interesting sounds and motions, but when he popped into the gas station for drinks just past Sharjah, I made Evil say a prayer (I also made her bless the food last night - as she pointed out, I have been making her say the prayers for most of our long association), and we made it home okay, even with the pit stop at Spinney's for ingredients for Greek night. Returning the car was a bit of drama - at first the woman checking it over had the wrong sheet, and I panicked a little bit because she thought the scratches and dings were my fault. Also, I had a lot of SALIK tolls from driving up and down Sheikh Zayed and over the Garhoud bridge so much...made me miss staying in Mankhool and taking taxis. But all in all, a good time.

Yesterday I was not feeling well, and when Stephanie suggested I leave as soon as my classes were finished, I complied. And when I got home, I chose to do my resting at the beach with Evil. In fact, the beach was so restful that we decided to cancel my little dinner party, eat a late lunch, and have Greek for dinner all by ourselves, and on our sunset walk back from Hilton, we had to agree that this had been an excellent plan. We spent quite a bit of time sitting in my living room, reading our separate books. This probably seems like a boring way to spend time together, but it's just the way we are. Actually, all of our girlfriends have been known to do this from time to time; I think it's one of the reasons we all get along so well. Later I made moussaka, dolmades, tzatziki, and Greek salad, which turned out to be a lot of food for two people, and I anticipate eating it for the rest of the week (oh, darn). And, eventually, it was time for bed, and now, after an afternoon of sleeping, vomiting, and diarrhea, it is time for the same. And all I can say is, Evil better bid on somewhere this go-round that I can get a job teaching, because it would be FANTASTIC to have the dynamic duo in action year-round, although I'm not sure anywhere in the world is ready for it.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Glinda comes to Kiamo Ko

I'm at the Dubai airport. While the international adventures of the Great One and the Evil One (part three) have not quite yet begun, my adventures for the night are well under way (go ahead...ask me about Socrates' powers of distraction). At any rate, it promises to be a great weekend, but blogging on Giancarlo is taxing my patience so I'm gonna wrap this up.