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Tag Archives | Qasr Al Sarab

Reverb10: Photo

Prompt from Dec 25: Photo – a present to yourself. Sift through all the photos of you from the past year. Choose one that best captures you; either who you are, or who you strive to be. Find the shot of you that is worth a thousand words. Share the image, who shot it, where, and what it best reveals about you.

I’m sitting on a dune in The Empty Quarter, Rub’ Al Khali, in the early morning. Here’s the initial thought process that happens when I look at this photo:

–dear god woman do something about your hair because that ponytail loopy thing does not work. or if you’re going to insist on that particular hair arrangement, then let’s do something about the increasingly nixonian jowl.

–while you’re at it, let’s work on the backfat, too, shall we? and you should perhaps overcome your loathing of bra shopping and find one that fits. And then while you’re shopping for a bra, why don’t you also see if you can find a replacement for that mangy white t-shirt that clings so attractively to every ripple of your late-mid-forties mid-section.

–nice sneakers, too. is it so much to ask that you dress like a grownup?

And that, my friends, is why I hate pictures of myself. That particular feedback loop gets really tiresome–and occurs very nicely on its own, even without visual stimulus, thanks very much.

But now I’m going to try a paradigm shift and look at this picture more generously–as a “present” for myself.

–This picture was taken by Husband during a magical walk that we took on the dunes with both boys, who were delighted to be playing in the biggest sandbox they’d ever seen. All of us, in our own ways, were feeling the enchantment of the desert; we spent more than an hour running and climbing and, yes, sitting quietly taking in the silence.

–I’m holding a camera, which reminds me that a long time ago, in a faraway land called “youth,” I loved taking photographs and sometimes even took a few that were quite good. I’d like photography to be a bigger part of my future life.

–I’m outside, in a beautiful place, and that reminds me that getting out of the city–even if only to the Hudson Riverpark–makes me happy.

–I want to remember the peace of this place–the silence, the infiniteness–for those moments (hours, days, weeks, the entire month of February) when the apartment walls start to close in.

–And, finally, this picture reminds me that adventure is good for the soul.

Continue Reading · on December 29, 2010 in me my own personal self, reverb10, Travel

Qasr Al Sarab

Husband and I decided on a splurge during our visit to Abu Dhabi – a splurge underwritten by some research monies he has for an article he’s working on (seriously! About Arabian Sands, a book written by an Englishman who wanted to map the part of the Arabian Desert known as Rub Al Khali, or The Empty Quarter.  This section of desert is shared by Saudi, UAE, Yemen, and Oman, and is larger than France, Netherlands, and Belgium put together.  It has more sand than the Sahara, even though in square miles Rub Al Kali is smaller.  More important than any of those facts? It’s stunningly beautiful.  Gobsmackingly, jaw-droppingly, did-you-see-that beautiful).

Underwriting—or as we like to call it, corporate sponsorship—firmly in place, we made a reservation at Qasr Al Sarab.  We reserved a car service to drive us out there—it’s about two hours outside of Abu Dhabi city, and neither of us are equipped, legally or psychically, to drive in the UAE.  First surprise: when you reserve “a car” in New York, you get some version of an over-scented Lincoln Town Car.  Here? We got a beat-up Toyota station wagon with anemic air conditioning.  We also got an upclose and personal introduction to highway driving, Arab style:  drivers pass one another whenever they want, wherever they want, with a simple flash of headlights to indicate their intentions.  The vehicle in front slides over to the right (without slowing down), the driver behind speeds up into the lane of oncoming traffic (regardless of traffic in other lane), goes around the too-slow vehicle in front, and then slips back into the correct lane.  I stopped watching after a while because I didn’t want my panicky gasps to distract the driver and get us all killed before we arrived at the resort.

Wait. “Resort” is TOTALLY the wrong word for where we arrived after our death-defying desert drive.

We arrived at…time out of mind? A place out of time? The corporeal equivalent to you-have-been-reborn-as-Brangelina? Continue Reading →

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Continue Reading · on November 26, 2010 in environment, fun…what a concept, Travel

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