“White people, no whipped cream…white people don’t like doughnuts!”

11 Sep

That was the third funniest thing I heard today. I’ll get to it in a minute. 

Before you take this journey, set the soundtrack to Bill Withers’ “You Try to Find a Love”. It’s so hot, you’ll understand almost how hot it is here in Abu Dhabi.  (No judgment if you don’t know the song–go get it! NOW!)

Aside-If you haven’t see the video for “Do or Die” by 30 Seconds to Mars, do it now. It’s a bit self-indulgent on the Jared Leto tip, but it’s also a deeply touching short film on cancer and the power of music. Amazing!

In an earlier blog, I stated the heat was a “dry heat” and not so bad. I lied. At night, the heat is like a hot, wet, hot, wool heat blanket. Which forces this digression…when I said the heat was dry, one of my more clever friends said, “…well, so is a blow torch…” I found that funny–the second funniest thing. Luckily, all of my friends are cleverererer than me. That’s why I like them. 

Wanna see how hot? Look at this…


Know what that is? Yes, it’s a crosswalk. SO WHAT, LEE!? Well, picture this…cars travel from left of frame through to the right of frame; and the bottom of the picture is actually graded lower than the top. See what I’m getting at? The road gets so hot that when cars drive over this crosswalk, their tires squish the paint upward…cool, huh? Which also means cars drive REALLY fast—which leads me to the first funniest thing I heard today. I was chatting with a friend who lives in Dubai (50 miles north of here), and we were talking about me getting a car. If you know me, you know I like cars and speed. So, I can’t wait to drive. She said, “…every time I get out of a car here, I kiss the ground!”  Isn’t that hilarious? No? Oh, yeah. By the way, she’s a skydive instructor…wait for it…yes! Irony is your friend…

Something else interesting and scary…



Ok, the quality stinks–leave it to me to take a life changing journey and rely on a cracked iPhone 4 camera (thanks Jobs!). Anyway, I’ve been here one day, and I can already read Arabic! Do you know what the sign says? If you don’t, find the youngest child you know, and show her. I’ll bet she knows what it says…scary, huh? Well done, Kroc family, diabetes and obesity have no cultural boundaries.  

I took a 2 1/2 hour walk and also saw Burger King, Subway, Pizza Hut, Gloria Jeans, Dunkin’ Donuts (no officers, there), Auntie Annie’s (only it’s Auntie Aliyah’s here–that’s a lie), and the sure sign the apocalypse is coming, Applebee’s. Yes, Applebee’s,, no babyback ribs, though. As for the walk; Dear Herr Birkenstock! How long before these things get comfortable!? Yeesh!

My favorite restaurant is below. 



Again, I’ve only been here one day, and someone has named a restaurant after my daughters. 

Here are some more pics…



This is Mushrif Mall. Stunning and HUGE. Four stories and anything and everything inside. Plus, a 3-story circular fish tank. I didn’t take a picture, because, I mean, who hasn’t seen that before? Duh! Oh, nice brickwork, yeah, that’s the street.

Here it is at night!



YO! Marquette Mall!? You see this!? Time to step up your game…

Views from the top of my temporary apartment during the day…




Now, at night…excuse the lame camera





If you can pick out the green lights…those are minarets from the mosques. The call to prayer five times a day is pretty powerful. There are designated prayer rooms in the mall, too…and in some parks. My apartment has a sticker on the ceiling pointing you in the correct direction for prayer…wanna see?



Cool! (Crown molding, you HGTV reno-philes!)

On a serious note…I was thinking about how much the ego can restrict our behavior, and how that reaction is a direct descendant of fear.  I was a sweaty mess on my walk. I wanted to go into a restaurant full of locals, but my ego told me I looked a mess and I shouldn’t embarrass myself like that. Silly, isn’t it.  There are millions of people here. NO ONE knows me, and my ego is still making decisions. Eventually, I want into the mall, and guess what? NO ONE cared. The ego is dangerous and will scare you out of experiences that could expand your horizons. Get out of your own way, and see and feel something new. Yes, it can be scary, but you are loved and you are special. What’s the saying?  “God has no grandchildren”? 

That’s it for now. I’ve got a health screening for work very early tomorrow, Ma’a salama for now. 

Oh, oh, oh, wait. The title. So, I stopped to get an iced coffee (from which I am now jittery with a 5;45am wake up) at a coffee shop. Check this out. NOT ONE of the people who has serviced me, building staff, taxi, servers, chefs, baristas, etc, is Emirati…all from somewhere else; Philippines, India, Saudi Arabia, Korea, Pakistan, you get the picture. So this coffee stop employed two Filipinos. As one put the top on my iced latte, he said to me, “No whipped cream, right?” I said, “Right! How did you know?” He said, and his partner joined in, “White people, no whipped cream…white people don’t like doughnuts.” In unison. like a sitcom.  I couldn’t help but crack up. They did, too. A good cap, to a great day. Ok, time for bed…

Tosbeho ‘ala khair…I might have messed that up. 

Love, Lee


10 Responses to ““White people, no whipped cream…white people don’t like doughnuts!””

  1. Bridgette September 11, 2013 at 8:23 pm #

    keep up the scoop.

  2. Toni September 11, 2013 at 9:00 pm #

    Sounds like you are really taking in the city and its people.

  3. Heather September 11, 2013 at 9:59 pm #

    You are just the right person to go and explore a new adventure and country. I don’t need to “google self confidence now”……I will just keep reading your blogs. You are self confidence and have a lot to teach everyone.

  4. Mary Stark September 11, 2013 at 10:29 pm #

    Lee it is so good to hear from you….. You will do great things I know. I am retired now but grandkids live with me part of the week. I volunteer at their school Marsh 2 days a week and it is wonderful….. Just what I needed. Someone told me “YOU CAN TAKE THE TEACHER OUT OF THE CLASSROOM BUT YOU CAN’T TAKE THE TEACHER OUT OF THE PERSON. KEEP IN TOUCH…. LOL, MARY

  5. Billy September 11, 2013 at 11:06 pm #

    Great blog, finally something to keep me off “FarmVille”! (Just kidding, do I seem like the “FarmVille” type?)
    Keep them coming, they give Amy and I something to talk about! Lol

  6. John Fitzgerald September 12, 2013 at 12:33 am #

    Good Luck in your Adventure Lee. I will let you know how Marq boys soccer team does after each game.

  7. Candy B September 12, 2013 at 3:10 am #

    Geez, Lee. I think I already see a book in the making here. Who knew you were so entertaining? Ok, so, yes. I knew. Keep the ego to the side so you can continue seeing what is in front of you. Keep writing. I love it!

  8. Charyl September 12, 2013 at 4:00 am #

    Thank you for the great armchair adventure. I am thrilled you are giving all of us an opportunity to travel with you to such a faraway place. I am looking forward to each new post.

  9. K.M.Bretl September 12, 2013 at 6:47 pm #

    Make sure you get out to the race track. . .

  10. Mary Zarantonello September 13, 2013 at 1:20 am #

    So happy for you and your new adventure. I am so happy that we will be able to share it with you. Be safe and can’t wait for the next Blog!!!

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