First, here's a picture that was supposed to go in one of my "Edna Adventures" posts, but got stuck in the wrong folder. It's a scarecrow!
Now, a happy story in the news! Ten days ago, the whale shark at Dubai's Atlantis aquarium was released back into the Gulf, where she was rescued.
Here's a picture I got of the whale shark last month. The aquarium is a lot bigger than it looks in this picture, but it's no open ocean. Hooray!
There is plenty more to attract visitors to the Atlantis aquarium, like these cute clown fish!
We've been without a camera for the last few weeks, making it hard to keep track of what I've been up to. The following pictures were taken with antivert's phone. Now let's see...
I went to Auckland and got to see lctrc_gtr_dde again. We ate at a Hare Krishna restaurant, took a ballroom dance lesson (yup, lctrc_gtr_dde can dance), tried four ales at four different establishments, and took a ferry to Devonport island, where figs fall from massive trees and the roads are splattered with red fruit and yellow seeds.
When I got back, dubaiwalla was about to leave for Germany, so to bid him itterashai, we went to Seville's. The weird thing was, it was my first time there. After six years. I think most people I know hit Seville's within their first week in Dubai.
I took antivert to Johannesburg (the one in South Africa), and ate a huge plate of vegetables at a steakhouse. (I'm still vegetarian, since the beginning of the year, and loving the fake-meat-as-protein-source thing.) The next day we strolled around in the sunshine, browsed bookstores and the tarot-card-and-patchouli store, and shared breakfast with a cute honeybee. The bee was hovering around our watermelon lemonades, so Don started dripping fat drops of lemonade onto the side of his glass. We'd watch the bee drink down the entire drop with his long proboscis, fly away, then return to drink another drop, again and again. Finally, we were out of lemonade, but the bee persisted hovering around us. The waitress said, "When anybody orders lemonade, you will find one." The bee followed her to the kitchen when she cleared the lemonade glasses, or else it would have, had she not parked the glass on a table just outside the restaurant.
While the bee enjoyed our lemonades, I enjoyed this bagel.
About an hour after we got back to Dubai from South Africa, I went downstairs to the store. On my way back in, I was solicited for kibble by a dirty, battered, stray tom cat. I stopped to give him a tickle, and found him to be very sweet and affectionate. So what did I go and do? I went back upstairs to grab him a handful of food. When I came back down, he had entered the building and was sitting in the lobby. I picked him up to carry him outside to feed him, and he just purred... he was the sweetest thing. Besides being beat up and filthy, he also had an eye infection, and clearly needed to be neutered, as well. So we brought him inside and stuck him in the bathroom. The next day we took him to the vet to get him checked out - he has no microchip. So our job is to get him neutered and vaccinated, and find him a home. The vet says he's about eight months old. We got some ointment for his eye infection, and the campaign to home him will begin later his week, after his medical procedure.
We're calling him Polar Bear during his tenancy here. This morning we took pictures of him to hang around the neighborhood in case he's lost.
But sadly, he was probably dumped. Our building that we found him in front of? There's a vet in it, so it's a popular spot to dump animals. :(
The next thing I did was go to Germany to meet up with dubaiwalla. The weather cleared up just for us, and we went into lots of churches and up the Rheinturm Düsseldorf. We also ate really decent Turkish, Indian, and Thai food... in Germany.
Okay, after that, I went to Los Angeles for 48 hours. I got to go to Redondo Pier with my sister-in-law (and again later with her kids), and play Scrabble and meet her friends. I took a few pictures using her camera, but her computer wouldn't play nice with her camera, so I'll have to get those from her later.
On the way to LAX, there was a super hot passenger in First Class. As the First Class flight attendant, I fantasized that the long hours of the flight would be spent chatting with him in the galley. But from the start he seemed aloof, and for a while, our only exchange had been thus: After delivering several amenities to him with no response (as he was preoccupied, talking on his phone, or just aloof, or so I thought), he glanced up at me and made eye contact and said, "Thank you so much." To which I replied, "You are so welcome." But about ninety minutes later, we had another conversation. This is how it went: He rang the call bell, and I hurried to his suite to answer it. Lying down, he apologized weakly, "I'm sorry, this is really horrible, but could you take this?" and gestured to a barf bag. Our hot passenger had been in the Congo and was quite sick. "Oh, no, you poor thing!" I coaxed. "Can we help?" "No," he groaned. After some time, I went on my break, and when I came back, he had managed to get to sleep. Thank goodness for that. We did have one more interaction, just before landing, when he came out of the bathroom and I had a bottle of water ready for him. He said, "Thanks." And that was that. So much for passing the time with him in the galley.
After he disembarked, I took a souvenir from his suite.
Had he been feeling perkier, I might have asked him how he felt about Weird Al's "I'll Sue Ya." Or told him that I thought he really carried Extract.
Don't think my life has been all traveling and touring, though. The last four weeks has been constant turnaround flights, mostly at night, with very little time between. Next month I have 160 duty hours, but only 90 block hours - and the block hours are the ones I get paid for. But for now, I am off for a string of eight days. I'm doing as much nothing as possible. We're cooking and eating lots of great food, and the house is somehow getting cleaner.
Ha! Polar Bear Kitty just jumped up and thumped the fish tank with his paw. It was funny and cute.