Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Jen Comes to the DESERT

Sixteen years ago a mutual friend set Jen and I up to be freshman roommates at Baylor.   For 16 years we have been growing up as teenagers, college students, singles, friends, daughters, sisters, wives, mothers and displaced Texans. By now its really obvious that I miss my people back home A LOT!  Jen is one of them and I don't always get to see her on visits back to the States because she now lives in California.  She's always been such a faithful friend to keep up with our Doha life and details of living away from home.  She has a God given gift of sensitivity and thoughtfulness but she also has a deep understanding of what it means to pack up and move your life to some place totally different.  She and Mark moved from Dallas to California 6 years ago to own and manage Arista winery.  I think I could get used to the winery business pretty easily but when you're away from Texas life's just not the same.  We've definitely shared some similar challenges since moving away from home. 

The most accurate word to describe how I feel about having visitors is humbled. Jen flew from CA to Doha with 3 layovers plus a 2 hour drive from home.  Seriously...that's 30 hours of travel.  Not to mention she left her 2 precious boys and supportive husband for 10 days! = Happy and so thankful Wendi!
We threw Jen right into the mix by spending a little quality time at Villagio Mall on Friday night.  Lets just say its incredible people watching and also INSANE.  We don't go to the mall on the weekends in Doha, unless a visitor needs the experience!
And we completely refused to let jet-lag effect any plans, so we threw Jen on another plane and headed for Dubai.  Lindsay, Jen and I were Pi Phis at BU so it was little girls weekend reunion getaway!
First stop...PF CHANGS! Thank you very much.  
We ordered way too much food, we were so excited!
These two are so Dubai!
After shopping we headed back to our hotel for a little poolside sun and one of the best cupcakes I've ever put in my mouth.  Reece's cupcake by Lindsay Harris! 
View from the pool of the tallest building in the world, Burj Kahlifa
Couldn't get the whole thing in my camera. 
Cleaned up ready for the night out.  Hot mama...careful with those heels!
We had sunset reservations at the AT.MOSPHERE Bar. Incredible view from the 123 floor. 
Looking down at Dubai mall and the fountains. 
After enjoying the view we headed over to Zuma (DIFC) for sushi.
We let Jen visit with the wine specialist...obviously they're both experts!
They were tired of me taking pictures.  
This was Jen's first experience with sushi. She was excited and so were we...
Too bad dinner was a flop.  Zuma had great reviews but we weren't impressed.  After dinner the waitress mentioned that she wouldn't have suggested what we ordered...pictured below.  huh?  thanks a lot! Zuma was super swanky so we had great atmosphere and wine.
The next morning we slept as late as possible and headed over to Emirates mall to catch a few runs!   Look who was at the slopes.  Cuties! 
The decision to ski was very last minute and absolutely a blast.   We skied in the middle of the desert, inside a stinkin' mall.  Who does that!?
There's basically one lift and 2 runs.   They provide everything but hats and gloves.  Somewhere between paying and skiing we decided we were fine without them.  That makes tons of since since its like below is real snow.  Not sure why were so cocky about the cold. 
We survived with freezing fingers and had the best time.  We all ski on the same level which worked out perfect. 
We were in and out of there in about an hour.  I love that Jen skied accessorized!  We stripped our boots, pants and coats and popped right back into the mall.  
Here you can see the big silver bullet ski slope jutting out of the mall. 
Next up...Dubai Mall tour
The Aquarium
Every time I see these butterflies I'm fascinated.  
We're not in Kansas anymore, people!  POTTERY BARN, for cryin' out loud!  
Lindsay and I loved the Arabic monogram at PBK.  Georgia doesn't have a chair...she could always have a souvenir from our middle east experience.  Probably not. 
 After lots of lusting after American stores and things we headed to Baja Fresh to pick up some queso and DPs.  Then made a run for Texas Road house with our queso.
We just kept going and ordered the best fried pickles I've ever tasted.  You would think we starve in Doha.  Our entire weekend was planned around eating.  Can we say indulgence! Not only did we bask in the food, we enjoyed dining with 100% country music.  I seriously felt like I was in a dream. 
Little line dancing to make us feel at home.
iphone shot of the burj...still couldn't get the whole thing in the frame. 
shot of our hotel, The Rotana.
We grabbed our bags and made our last stop at Madinat Jumeirah, my favorite Dubai spot.
We turned our heads during this photo shoot to keep from cracking up.  Gotta get a sweet shot in front of the Burj Hotel, most expensive hotel in the world.  
We're so boring.  
One last Dubai sunset before flying back to Doha. 
Awesome memories that we wouldn't have dreamed of 10 years ago!  
We had such a great visit and enjoyed the break from Doha and kiddos. 
Thanks to friends, husbands and babysitters everyone survived just fine.  While I do think Dubai is dreamy, I still prefer Doha.  I like the simple, less dramatic and less liberal place we currently call home. 


Kristin said...

Loved seeing all those pictures!! What a fun trip. I pictured myself as the 4th person in a lot of the pics. :) haha. So fun!!!

Karen said...

Great to see all your pictures! Such a treat to have friends visiting you. Must catch up more soon x PS Martha did a school talk on Doha and your kiddos featured A LOT!

Lindsey said...

That sounds like the perfect trip!! Seriously, that's my kind of trip. :)
Did I ever tell you that I almost went to Baylor? I toured the campus and everything. And I can't remember if you knew that I am a Pi Phi too! So fun. :)

Jackie said...

Oh my goodness! Looks like SO much fun!! :) I love your necklace in the sushi restaurant pics. And you look VERY happy in front of Pottery it! Miss you girlie! :)