Wednesday, October 28, 2009
You see they only started issuing license plates in the past few decades. They didn't need to accommodate for alot of people at the time and as such they simply started with single digit numbers and went from there. As they systematically handed the plates out it became apparent over the years that you were able to easily identify the families and individuals who were some of the first residents of the newly formed country of the UAE and saying that you were one of the first people"officially" living (and driving) here equals status.
In the past thirty years this has developed into a full scale market where status-seeking people are willing to pay BIG bucks for a licence plate that is either a low number, or quite simply 'cool' (ie. 212121, 555555, etc.) Matt and I recently were recently paging through a magazine when we got to the classified section, it included nearly 3 pages of license plates for sale, some are selling for up to $300,000! In my neighborhood paper we used to advertise yard sales and deck staining services, so this is quite different.
However, in the event that you decide you want to make the investment, you can be sure you are in good company. This guy has the best plate out there and he doesn't have to seek any status, Sheikh Mohammed's Mercedes is quite simply "1".
Friday, October 23, 2009
The Shaver-Mueller Video Trailer
Coming soon to a theatre near you! (And there better not be a sequel...) :)
When you are confronted with 20 unique hours of videotape and 3,000 pictures you should be able to find a few good shots right?We are are so lucky to have a lot of images that we love and we can't wait to share them with our family and friends! Matt and I have now figured out that the first test of compromise in your marriage is to agree on just 65 pictures from your wedding album out of over 3,000! It's brutal and so unfair! Be merciful don't make us choose!
Therefore, this blog post has been equally as hard to prepare because we just can't decide what to share (ok, ok and loading individual pictures on Blogger takes about 5 minutes each...we would kill each other). So you have options! I've prepared a small slide show of some of our top favorite images, but if you are a real sucker for weddings or it's a slow day at work (of course I'm talking to the ladies here) feel free to peruse the gallery online!
A Little Slideshow of Our Favorite Pictures:
And for the special few of you who are still paying attention, a little Father-Daughter Dance action:
Right about this time of year, I would give my right arm for a nice, crisp fall day, a jacket, some leaves changing color, and warm fireplace. However (and this is a recurring theme on this blog), we live in the desert. No leaves, no jackets, no fireplaces, and certainly no fall days!
Our friends John and Lynze set out to change all of that. With candy corn and other trinkets literally FedExed from the States, they put together an old-fashioned fall party! No apple cider in the Arabian Gulf? No problem - apple juice, orange juice, lemon juice, cloves, cinnamon (and a little rum, of course!)
Sadly, the magic lasts just one night - when the candy corn runs out - and today it's back to 95 and sandy. Oh well, off to Jumeirah beach!
Friday, October 9, 2009
For those of you who are a fan of "Big Cat Diary" this is where it is filmed, and on most days we saw a number of the 'main characters' stalking in the tall grass. In fact, little did we know the co-owner of Rekero camp where we stayed is the local guide featured in the show - Jackson Looseyia.
I thought that we were totally prepared for safari, but the one thing that we learned quickly that we weren't warned about was how LOUD it is at night when you are in a tent. Nature doesn't sleep just because you do, and the animals come into camp at night when the lights go off and then no longer sense people. We got used to it eventually, but our first night went like this:
Once the sun goes down you are walked to your tent by a Masai warrior wielding a machete and a spear. The first time I saw it I laughed, "what is that for?" I asked, he said simply "lions" and I said "no, really, I mean you aren't going to kill a lion with a spear" and he replied "watch me". One hour later after we were safely in the tent when the immense roaring started about 50 feet away - it's bone chilling.
Two hours later, I woke up to the sound of loud croaking and when I turned on the flashlight to investigate I found a large toad sitting inside our tent next to the wash basin. Matt was able to coax his out by using our shampoo bottle as a goad.
The rest of the noise come primarily from the grazing animals - namely the water buffalo - it just eats all night the tall grass against your tent. Munch, munch, munch - it's all you hear for hours and its about 3 feet from your head board. I was able to get used to this but when I finally drifted off to sleep I was awakened by the incredibly loud sound of clanging metal and our entire tent reverberating. One of the buffalo had run head long into our tent pole and nearly took the thing down. It scared itself so bad that it then proceeded to run in circles around our tent until it was no longer disoriented.
The moral of the story is, on safari, become nocturnal. Sleep during the hot day and read your Kindle at night, it's the only way I survived the nights!
As for the pictures, I couldn't begin to decide on what to share from the Mara. So I put together of all the best pictures Matt took during the trip. I added our favorite song in Swahili "Baba Yetu" which is just the traditional "Our Father" prayer sang in the language. For the nerds out there - yes, it is the theme song for 'Civilization'...I hope you enjoy!
Watch us full screen on YouTube:
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Stories of note:
*I thought I understood the full meaning of the word turbulence. That was until I was in a 10 person plane flying over the ridges and valleys in central Kenya. My nerves were shot, but I managed to drift off to sleep during the worst of it. That was until we hit a huge thermal coming off a mountain and the plane dropped about 200 (no kidding Matt was watching the altimeter) and an alarm in the cockpit started fervently going off – one of those “something really bad has happened” alarms. All kidding aside for about 5 seconds I thought we were going to go down. Once Matt himself got over the initial panic he explained that it was an alarm to alert the pilot that the auto-pilot couldn’t cope with the situation and it had turned off. I could have used something a bit more soothing like “excuse me, this is to alert you the auto pilot is off”. Single engine plane + sensation of falling + blaring alarm = I didn’t recover for days.
Not for the faint of heart. It's clear that voltures will go to any length for a meal.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Listen to it here:
Lastly, you may think that mosquito nets create a romantic touch to the safari experience. No. They are incredibly hot and make you mildly claustrophobic, especially when you wake up in the middle of the night and have a hard time figuring which way is out. You might panic, and end up on the floor rolled up like a burrito - I'm just saying.