Ras Al Khaimah

Our school year started off quite easily this year. We had two weeks with the students, then a whole week off for Eid. I have to say, since we just got back to the UAE, we weren’t super keen on jetting off again, so we planned a little staycation. The staycation consisted of one weekend in Ras Al Khaimah, one night in Dubai, several nights of relaxing and three nights of board games.

In other news, we have officially been to all seven emirates. Actually, we went to all seven last year, we just didn’t realize that we had driven through the two smallest ones on the way to Ras Al Khaimah (RAK).

RAK is the mountainous region of the UAE. Our dragon boat coach set our group up with a weekend in RAK consisting of rock climbing and canyoning with Challenging Adventures. They have a base camp with tents, and pool and the works. Since it is still summer, they set us up with an Air Conditioned room where eight of us crashed, but some of our group did sleep outside.

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Some members of our dragon boat team.

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My first attempt. Matt made it to the top of this one.

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Using the butt-then-feet method to shimmy myself up the crevice. Matt and I both made it to the top of this one!

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Almost to the top of the crevice.

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Canyoning. We hiked up. In the spots where we were right along the end, we used carabiners to hook into the mountain. 

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Once we made it to the top, we rappel down.  

I would highly recommend trying out the outdoor rock climbing. We both enjoyed it.

500 Miles (More like 5000)

Since this summer was our first full summer back in Canada we had a lot of things we wanted to see and do: music festivals, cabins, hiking, weddings etc. Couple the list with our newest goal of seeing a handful of Canada’s largest roadside attractions and you get this map!

Although it was less than 5000 miles it was quite a lot! I tried to calculate the exact amount, but got tired of using maps:)

Vacancy

We loved having two sets of wonderful guests visit last year. So I’ve decided to put out an all call. This could be yours for free! Come visit us!

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The Hiking Inukshuk

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We have done a few hiking trips in Jasper now, and the hiking inukshuk has become a symbol of the hike. As you meander along the trails, little inukshuks mark the way when the trail is hard to see. When you spot the inukshuks your heart is warmed with the thought: Yes! We’re still going the right way.

We can only assume the inukshuks have been built by fellow hikers, so once we even returned the favor by rebuilding a crucial fallen inukshuk in Fryatt Valley.

As a side note, how much did you love reading the word inukshuk 7 times in this post. If you are not from the North, or are not well versed in your Arctic landmark knowledge read up on the “real”Inukshuks. They’re pretty cool!

Fresh Air and Blue Skies

Hi Readers! I’m back. After a summer long blogging hiatus, we are back in Abu Dhabi. I took some blogging time off to collect some unforgettable summer memories to share with you. Without further ado, I present The Rocky Mountains.

A hiking trip was on the must do list in Canada, and it did not disappoint! It has been three years since we’ve been to the mountains. We looked forward to peace and quiet, a cold morning and of course…the hiking terrain. This was the first hike that we took the camera on, and boy did they turn out great. Part of me loves the feeling that only people who hike for three days get to see the nearly untouched and unseen landscape, but with pictures like these, it only seems fair to share.

Shout out to the photographer extraordinaire…Matthew

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I call this the Cliff of Insanity. (Princess Bride anyone?)

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Snow!!!

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In all of our travels so far, nowhere has beat the blue skies of Western Canada. Never take them for granted!

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The terrain on this first 10km of trail was very diverse. This section of shale was a killer both up and down!

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The Heat…

As an Albertan, It’s only appropriate that I post about the weather. It’s what we do. People keep saying that this spring has been much cooler than usual. To some extent I believe them, because it really doesn’t seem as hot as last June when we visited, or last August, but I think we are in full swing now…even Facebook warned me that it would be hot today!

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If you are wondering about the “Widespread Dust” we haven’t had a full fledged sand storm yet, but there have been a few very windy/dusty days.

I just had to chuckle. Never in my life did I think that 30 degrees would be the low! However, I’m sure people say the exact opposite about Edmonton! I guess you will never hear me say “Never in my life did I think -20 degrees would be the high!” The best of both worlds?

It will definitely reach 50 degrees sometime over the summer, but we will be enjoying the temperature Canadian summer when that happens!

Crafty!

Look what I made! All year I’ve been looking for a necklace holder, but I couldn’t find a single one!
So, I bought these wood pictures from Ikea and screwed in some hooks! I’m pretty tickled since this might be the most DIY thing I’ve ever done! Haha

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Jelly!

I’ve been working on a new hobby…habanero jelly. Have you ever spooned red pepper jelly over Boursin cheese and spread it on crackers? Well if not, you are missing out. Habanero jelly is just a spicier version of red pepper jelly. As this is my first preserving endeavor, it has been an adventure! I feel so professional reading tips, sterilizing everything and making notes each time to improve the recipe. However, there have been some hurdles…

  1. Pectin? Nowhere to be found. Thankfully, Matt’s mom brought some over from Canada. Next, how do you use pectin? It took me two tries…still not perfected.

In my first attempt at the recipe I may have added 4 to many whole habaneros, seeds included. It was face meltingly hot! But in the best way! I also didn’t add enough pectin, so it ended up being more of a syrup.

Well this didn’t deter me. Take two: got the pectin under control (maybe even too much.) And, I included no seeds in this batch. Low and behold…

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I still have some tweaking to do, but I have to say…I’m pretty tickled!

Sand Golfing

I have a new obsession that has somehow missed the blog. During winter this year, Matt and I golfed in a school tournament at the Al Ghazal Golf Club. It is a sand course! Instead of greens there are browns, and you carry a piece of turf to hit off of. Seriously, it is so fun! It’s not entirely different than regular golf, but it’s a bit novel. Be careful though, don’t get your cart stuck in the sand!

We took our most recent guests for a round of golf. It is a different spin on things you can do in the desert.

 

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My piece of turf

 

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More Visitors

David and Lori, some friends we left behind in Congo, came to visit at the start of May. It would be an understatement to say that we were very excited! It was just over a year ago when we came to Dubai from Congo and reveled in the accessible food, crazy architecture and shopping malls! We remember going to the grocery store and buying ridiculous items, just because we could. It was enjoyable watching from the other end this time. We laughed at our guests as they loaded five bags of potato chips (one of every kind) into the cart. But, hey, we get it.

Since fresh food is highly sought after in Congo, we had a great arrangement with our guests. We’d go to school, while they relax and tour. In the afternoon, they’d stop at the grocery store to plan for the evening meal. There are few people in this world who enjoy fine food as much as Matt and I. David and Lori fit the bill. We ate well!

On their trip we also visited a BBQ restaurant in Dubai and the highlight…Pearls by Michael Caine. A celebration of Lori’s birthday and our wedding, we enjoyed a night of luxury and fine dining!

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David and Lori…thanks for a wonderful week!