I set my alarm for 4am and then 15 minutes later I was turning the second one off as I made my way outside. The sky went from black to midnight blue. I went down to the beach in Caleb’s old flip-flops that give his feet blisters. I walked around some feeling the soft sand under my feet after I had traversed over shells and sharp rocks. I sat on a rock near the shore that felt like fossilised oysters and watched the fish swim in the water – the big one pacing back and forth past me eating the little ones that looked like rain drops until they jumped out of the water and away from being food.
The sky continued to brighten, but at 4:48 (when the website said the sun would rise) the sky was still a dark shade of purple on the horizon, with a layer of orange on top of that, and the whitening of the blue clouds higher up and more spaced out now. At 4:51, I saw the tip of the sun break through the clouds and it was minutes before it went from a dark multi-orange ball that I could look at to a bright yellow burning ball of flames that began to hurt my eyes and whiten my photos.
I made it back inside, after walking dogs, by 5:30 and decided to go back to sleep until 7am. If I woke any sooner I would be restless and tired later on. I went to breakfast at 9:30, wondering along the way whether they would be open or not for non-fasting guests as some places offer take-away only so they don’t have to witness you chowing down in public. I can respect that. I had a quick breakfast at ‘our’ table by the window and on the way to the car passed four guys, one using obscene language. I told him to watch his mouth as I climbed in the car and then left for base.
I was enjoying the slow morning, but it was about to get even slower. I had a guy tailgating me in his SUV when traffic stopped on the road. He honked when I braked, so I flashed my hazards for a moment and then stopped. Traffic rolled along and plenty of cars were taking the shoulder. I forgot about the false turn before the right across from the checkered towers, so I cut over just to have to get back over. Luckily a truck was nice enough to let me in. I did use my blinker.
I saw one police car, but nothing else and thought whatever had slowed us down must have been cleared, but as soon as we all got back up to speed we were hitting the brakes again. This time I stayed in my lane until getting over the bridge when I get right to take the exit to Juffair. It was then that I saw the truck with the driver compartment flipped on its face. I slowed down for the 30km/h turn and noticed a white car with a smashed in front. I don’t know what happened here.
There was plenty of parking in the dirt lot, but I had already parked across the street. Coming through security I asked what was on their scanner and the guard showed me – a picture that matched my ID, “Thanks, have a good day.” The first time it has to upload your information and every time after that it’s just recalling.
I stood in line for 8 minutes at the CPR/passport office. I was handed our official passports and told to go to the other guy beside him for our CPRs. I handed him our passports (the ones we just got back) along with a credit card. He gave me the card back and a receipt and told me to come back in a week. I suppose it’s a good thing I came in today instead of waiting until tomorrow. We’ll have these taken care of one day sooner. While I was in there, I noticed a paper about visas to the UAE. It’s a big hassle if you want to get it done with the official passport, but as a tourist I will have no problem getting a 30 day visa upon entry to any of their airports – hello Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
I head over to the housing office and there is a sign on the door. Their system is down, so no pre-contract or terminations can be done. Inside I’m told the system might be up at noon and maybe not until tomorrow. I was told I should come on the 30th anyways, so I will just come back then and hope to take care of all of it in one day, but if not, I still have to take Caleb back and forth and can pass my time on base each day while I wait.
It’s then that I remember I forgot the rental agreement for the car so that I could get a copy made. Leaving base I pass a couple – a man in ankle-length pants and long sleeve shirt, and a woman in traditional dress. The guard looks at her eyes and then at her ID and says, “No”. I don’t know why but they were turned around as I pass a lady flaunting a huge bottle of icy water.
I make Ramen with jalapeño stuffed black olives (don’t like them), sun-dried tomatoes, and Gouda. I take the dogs to the beach and the water is hot, having baked on the dark rocks in the sun all afternoon, making it less tolerable to be outside, so I walk them in the grass to dry their feet and then get changed so I can swim in the pool. I have it to myself, but after 15 minutes of swimming laps I’m already feeling sluggish.
I sit down to finish another post and end up on Skype with Uncle Ed for a while. The quality of the video was great – until I tried to show him the den. We seem to lose signal there when trying to show our dads around too. Ed told me I should label my photos so that my readers know where they were taken, especially when they don’t line up with the text. I totally agree, so I set to doing that and then got sidetracked by a TED Talk from Beau Lotto: Optical illusions show how we see (or possibly what we’re missing). I talked to Caleb a while on duty while on watch at 11:30… it’s late and I need to go to bed.