Yes, we still are in Abu Dhabi and yes we intend to keep writing our blog. And yes we know, it’s been way too long for a posting!
We can’t believe we have been back in Abu Dhabi for almost 3 months. After a wonderful, busy summer in DC, Michigan, and Cape Cod seeing family and friends, it was hard to leave the U.S. But, with the impending visit of the GE chairman to the region and my teaching at a new university, – New York Institute of Technology – we were quickly quite engaged in our lives back here.
As Tim prepared for the CEO visit, I was able to join him for 4 days in Istanbul. We stayed on the Bosphorus Strait with an endless parade of ferries, sailboats, and motorboats. I took my coffee and newspaper out to a chair on the water each morning and pretended to read while I really just gazed at the water and all the activity. We also visited the historic and cultural sites like an underground Roman cistern,
Takkim Square and a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Hagia Sophia was amazing – we spent a whole morning there. The gold, glittering mosaics alone are worth the visit.
A few weeks later, Tim chaired a panel at the World Energy Conference in Daegu, South Korea, so I tagged along. The timing of the conference conveniently coincided with the Eid holiday in the UAE, so I didn’t miss any of my classes. The holiday celebrates the sparing of the sacrifice of Abraham’s son Isaac. Story sounds familiar right? I’ve seen that one depicted on the baptistery doors in Florence.
There were over 7,000 delegates and hangers-on at the WEC, so they had many activities in addition to the conference.
I went on a walking tour of the old city of Daegu, the 3rd largest city in South Korea and home to Samsung. Samsung started as a noodle business, with a trademark of noodles in a star shape. The star shape was included in Samsung’s logo until recently, as a reminder of it’s humble past. I also went to a UNESCO world heritage village site from the 500’s AD.
It was home to two clans, with the wealthier people living at the top of the hillside in highly carved, wooden structures and the poorer people living at the bottom of the hill in rice- thatched mud huts.
One day we both headed up to Mt. Palgongsan. We started with a tour of the Dongwhasa Temple compound, which includes the tallest Buddha statue in the world along with wooden prayer halls, complete with chanting monks.
We among the few westerners.
After visting the temple, we took a cable car up half way up the 3,000 foot mountain, had a hot noodle lunch and then hiked to DongBong peak. From the top, we looked back over the valley and the city of Daegu, and back toward the temple and the Buddha. It was early October with the first hints of fall reds and yellows. What a pleasant site for our color-starved eyes.
Beyond the travel, we are re-settling in here in Abu Dhabi. We continue to sail and race at the club, having moved to a faster, newer boat. We haven’t flipped it yet, so we think we are doing well. I raced in a weekend match race on the corniche with a group of 4 other sailors from our club. Match racing is where two boats sail against each other on a fairly short course. The tactics and fouling and protests before and during the race were more than I could understand. I just flew the jib and spinnaker and let our helmsman figure out the rest. We came in 2nd, behind the UAE boat skippered by an emirati who went to the Olympics. We won about $1,300 for our club. Pretty amazing!
This is a link to a video of my match racing. I am in the boat with the skipper in a blue shirt. It is super long, but gives a feel for the waterfront, the buildings, etc. If you stay through the end, you will see me on the podium…the only woman there!
We continue to be fascinated with the birds in the UAE. From our balcony, we have seen oyster catchers, stilts (very cute), whimbrels, plovers and all sorts of herons. A few weeks ago, we went on an Emirate Natural History group bird watching trip. The trip started here at our Eastern Mangroves, continued over to a park in the middle of the Abu Dhabi island and finished on the Western Corniche area. The group was the right amount of “wow! That’s a pretty bird…what is that!” to –“look at the white cheeked bulbul there in the tree”. It was perfect for us. We saw over 30 new birds.
We do plan to write more and more frequently.