Saturday, September 22, 2012

Free Falling...

In my last blog I mentioned how I don't tell my family certain things in advance, but wait until after. Well, this was kind of like that. I did however inform my sister, since she has done this before...

I have been wanting to go sky diving forever, and that day had finally arrived!

Early metro ride...

Sleepy hubby

T and I, so excited!

Alas, we made it.

And somehow James and I ended up in the first group...

Nervous excited kisses...

Ready to get this show on the road!
My cd of photo's didn't come out, so here is James' jump photos:

I actually got motion sickness at this part. Good times.
James, still ecstatic...

And back on the ground.

Who's next?!?

Adrenaline junkies.

Oh, and Happy Cinco De Mayo!

Wish you were here...


Shh... I'll call you when I get back!

There are certain things I tell my family, and there are certain things I wait and say "hey, guess what I just did..."

Like bungy jumping when I was studying abroad in Mexico for example. I called the family immediately after because I wasn't sure if they would support me or try to talk me out of it. And my parents tends to take the side of safety, so I told everyone after...

Which leads me to my next travel.

Given the opportunity (and resources...) I would travel anywhere. Among the few "why?" places I would love to see are Antarctica, Afghanistan, Mongolia, China... I don't want to read about it, I want to see and experience it!

So you can imagine my answer when my boss said "Hey, how would you like to go to Bahrain for a week?"

Where do I sign up???

I was thrilled about this opportunity because since we have lived here I have heard of people having to travel to Bahrain, and I told James I would love if we had that chance.

So, after jumping through lots of hoops and lots of people helping me out with the legalities of official  travel to the Middle East, I was off!

Unsure experience number one:
I was traveling with two male co-workers and when we went through immigration, we were separated. They took my passport I was directed to sit over by a row of all women while the males went on. Hm. I was there for about 10 minutes when they called my name and I was allowed through. I still am not 100% on what happened there...

Everything else went smooth. 

A few days into the trip the guys decided I needed to see the mall. Smart men.

I didn't want to look too touristy, so I didn't take pics of the mall and all it's greatness, but I had to snap a pic of the bathroom!
Fancy bathroom.

Steak pot pie for dinner! Yum!
I realize (especially now) this is naive of me, but when I think of the Middle East I think of run down building and lots and lots of dust... and rubble. I know- too much TV, hah. I know Dubai and Abu Dhabi are crazy wealthy, so not quite sure why I still had this picture in my head...

Bahrain was a nice awakening. I can't even imagine Dubai! The buildings were so modern and neat looking... And they have more American food and store options than Italy!


Krispy Kreme
Good ol' Starbucks!

Unsure experience number two:
While we were enjoying a cup of Starbucks coffee (and I was able to buy my Bahrain Starbucks mug!) an alarm went off. No one was moving around, everyone stopped talking and looked around. I looked out into the walking areas of the mall and a security guard came out and stood in the middle. He looked very alert. Then there was a very loud wind sounding noise. No one spoke but everyone was looking around alertly. I just knew I was going to see men in uniform... But eventually the noise stopped, the alarm stopped, the guard left and all was normal. Except for my heart that had no idea whether to keep pounding or relax again. Another experience I am still not 100% about. I just might have to Google that...

Back on base I saw this sign:
Being in a conservative country, they have to have a civilian clothing policy. Pretty crazy.

Lunch in "American Alley":
Chili's, Burger King, Dairy Queen...

Yummy mint lemonade!

Appetizer - Pita and hummas. Oh yes.
 And finally, time to check out. I don't have too many pictures because we spent most of our time on base. Which makes sense seeing as it was a work trip...

But before we left, I had to capture the local attire:

I noticed more women than men wearing Burquas. Many males would wear pants and button ups.

Grand Mosque

Funny-ish story: I separated from the guys to use the free internet in the airport. When I returned everyone from that terminal seating area were gone and they were announcing the last call for that terminal. I quickly walk to the front to hand them my boarding pass to board when the attendant gives me an odd expression. Once I get close enough he asks "You are going to Pakistan?" 
Apparently, my terminal was changed and this flight was Pakistan bound.
I just smiled and told him maybe another time. He nodded and smiled back, probably not realizing I truly meant it.

Till Next Time...

"Hey Mom, guess where I just got back from!..."

This One's For Africa...

James and his Doctor go TAD to Spain a few times a year. His Dr and wife are only here for two years, so she always joins them on their TADs and they make the most of their time by visiting other nearby cities or countries- and most times they invite us to join. We always go when we can, and this time we were off to MOROCCO!

I didn't know much about Morocco, and well I still don't really, but it was a great experience and different from what I expected of my first trip to Africa.

View of the city of Tangier

The group on our tour. the city is in the background but the sun has faded it out...

The other side of the Atlantic Ocean!

The most important thing on James list for Morocco was to ride a camel, so we jumped at our first opportunity. I think it was  like $3 to ride. So cheap!

All Aboard...

Hellooo up there...
I didn't ride because I wasn't dressed for the occasion.
While it would have been fun, I rode a camel years ago when CLC hosted a community day so I didn't mind missing out this time.
I just wanted to pet her and she yelled at me. Bully.

No worries, I forced her to be my friend.

And he's off...

James' unforgettable new buddy.

Yelling again. Ok ok, I'll take the hint...

Yelling at James - Like mother like daughter?

James wasn't having it...
Off to Grottes d'Hercules (Cave of Hercules) where it is believed that Hercules slept before attempting one of his twelve labours.     

View of the city outside of the cave.

The waves would crash up- and the people were just chillin....


Fancy House. I think it was some government official's home.
Time for food.

James and I love to experience local dishes.
Morocco was one of our favorites for food.
And each meal just seemed to get better!

Petit salad
For the Petit salad they bring out several different items and we all share. It was kind of a tease - but a worth while one!

Some orangey and chocolate deliciousness dessert!
Happy girl!

On the next day's tour we stopped by a rich man's house and we were able to check out some fancy cars. I know that description wasn't detailed, but I cannot remember the significance so just enjoy the cars...

I'll take this one...

More typical Moroccan food. Yay!

Another reason we loved eating out was because there was always live music!

Yummy Soup!

Another delicious salad for the table to share.

I'm with the band...

Main course - couscous, veggies and meat!

Tea time!

Enjoying the cute city.

More coastal pics. You can see the port and Espana behind us.

HUGE tree!

More yummy food.

Can't get enough tea!

Goodbye lovely Morocco!

Another country AND continent- check!

Til Next Time...