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!

First Visitors! Happy 100!

WAIT! I need to add a second preface to this post. It’s my 100th post!!! Happy milestone blog! This blog has taken us through nearly three years, and approximately 9 countries!

I suck. Here I was nearly caught up on the blog…ready to tie up loose ends before some new visitors arrived…then I didn’t. Enjoy this blog post from weeks ago:

May 5:

On the “eve” of our second visitors, I’m finally getting around to posting about Matt’s parents’ trip to the Middle East. They visited us in February, and I have to say, they planned it right! Rather than spending a huge amount of time in the UAE, they flew to Dubai and spent the weekend with us, then spent the week in Jordan while we worked (apparently Jordan is wonderful!) then returned and spent another long weekend with us in Abu Dhabi. It worked well having time off to see them and check off a few Emirates as well.

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Fujairah Castle – I highly recommend this stop to castle buffs. It has the shape and charm of a castle, but no restrictions. ┬áDo you want to go up it the cute corner that is always blocked off in European castles? Do you want to look out the very top? You can! No roped off areas! Fujairah also has a cool museum. I enjoyed it anyway. Did you know the UAE has remains from the copper age, ancient glass and excavated grave sites? Although this country is new, the land has stories, and I’m guessing some untold stories.

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I’ve been waiting to take this picture since we arrived. The classic spice market photo! Love it! But I wanted to give a shout out to the multi-colored mix at the bottom. To us, it’s called “mild freshener.” If you are ever offered this delight after an Indian meal, take it! It’s a mix of sweet candy, fennel seed and other chewy delights. It is intended to serve the purpose of a apres-meal mint…but way more delicious!

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The Grand Mosque at the Golden Hour

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Inside the Grand Mosque lies the largest carpet in the world.

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Bites in Budapest

Although we only had 5 days, we squeezed in a wine tour and a food tour! The wine tour brought us out the the countryside to tour family cellars and vineyards. Great trip, good wines and tasty snacks. The countryside is so charming. I started to consider how I could get myself in the wine business so I could be a part of these adorable little villages.

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This old machine is used for crushing grapes. It is one of two left in Hungary. Apparently it still works, but is not used regularly.

On our food tour we walked through some beautiful parts of town and heard history about food and Budapest. One of my favorite parts of the city is the little statues and monuments around the city. I have no idea what they were for, but they were everyone. Budapest also has quite a hip scene. One section of town has been adding art murals to older buildings. They also have been turning ruined buildings into bars. The crumbling building and mismatched furniture gives a fun ambiance.

We had coffee across from one of the train stations seen below. The architect? Mr. Gustave Eiffel!

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On our own accord, we hit up some great spots that served up potato pancakes, chimney cakes, a delicious breakfast place with my favorite eggs benny, and, of course, mucho pork. Although it may be a bit taboo to say, I could have done with more vegetables in my life:)

But guys, guess what…we went to a MICHELIN STAR restaurant! This is extremely exciting news for us! Since Budapest is more affordable that much of Western Europe, so is their food. So, we could actually afford and meal at Onyx…for lunch:) Our food tour guide told us that the chef at Onyx is the best in Hungary. He apparently won a big award in Europe. We had a delicious three course meal with wine pairings. Bites included local Hungarian boar (mangalica), goulash, fresh water fish, quail eggs and two delicious desserts. We couldn’t decide which was better.

Another, more humorous, part of our meal was that we were sat right next to a solo food blogger, I’ve guessed. I have now sworn that, although blogging is fun, I shall never become a food blogger because I was so judgmental about him taking pictures and notes about his food. It’s getting cold already!

 

 

Exploring Budapest

It was wonderful to get some walking in on this trip. It is especially wonderful to get to wear warm clothes. Scarves and cute hats adorned (by me), we pleasantly walked the old town.

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The view from the bridge connecting Buda and Pest. The Chain Bridge was mostly destroyed in WWII, but the large pillars remained, and the rest was rebuilt.

If you read some of our Malaysia posts, you would have learned that we travel for food. It is easy to fill our meal times with well researched sites, but we did do a couple things in between eating hours.

Rudas Bath house: People rave about the bath houses in Budapest. There are tons to choose from, and everyone suggested we go. After an underwhelming trip to the Miette Hotprings in Jasper, we were less keen to go, but alas, since the weather is chilly, and the interiors are artsy, why not? It was quite beautiful inside. Apparently the baths are medicinal, but I just enjoyed jumping from hot to cold pools.

Tram #2: I read on the internet that this cute little tram that runs along the Danube is one of the top 10 picturesque tram lines in the world. We rode it from one end to the other and saw the shoes monument and amazing parliament building among other sites.

Now, no trip of ours is free of failed tourist endeavors, and Budapest was no different. On our last day we decided to see the tourist center at the Parliment buildings. I’ve heard the history is interesting. We arrive at the site, and while we are complaining about the price of entrance, the center closes, right in front of our eyes! I guess 5pm is too late for Parliament.

I apologize for lack of photos. The camera is finally back in working order.

Budapest, Hungary

We wavered for a while trying to decide where to go on spring break. Since our winter holiday was quite long, we didn’t want to go away for the full two weeks, but since the weather is warming up, we did want to go somewhere. After being undecided for some time I came across a budget airline that flew direct to Budapest. Why not? Chilly weather, affordable accommodations and pork! Booked. 5 days in Budapest!

One of the best parts of this holiday, was that it was easy to plan. We booked an Airbnb right downtown and planned to walk everywhere. Check out our airbnb! It was the cutest little place. It was in an old building with a huge door and a …questionable… elevator. Also, it was right next to the Basilica!

Take a peak:

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We popped over to the St. Stephen’s Basilica. It was quite beautiful inside, but the real draw was that we got to go to the top!

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We got a great view of the city. It was cool to look into the little courtyards that you can’t see from the street.

 

 

Desert Sunset

This is the last post of the desert safari segment. The trip consisted of a visit to the camels, then the treacherous drive out to a camp. At the camp you could ride camels, sand surf, take quads out and drink tea. (Most of which we were too car sick to enjoy.) Later we had a traditional meal and a little dancing show after the sun went down.

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