It started two days before the end of Ramadan. On Monday the office ws buzzing with the rumor we may be getting several additional days of due to the moon siting. What I learned is that Muslim holidays were dicated by the moon, the "cresent commitee" make the call as to when the holiday will occur.
What this meant for us is Tuesday morning we found out that the we would have Wednesday, Thursday, and possibly Sunday off from work, depending the moon of coure. this surprise vacation wasn't an easy concept for the westerners in the office to grasp. I joined in the freezy and spent my lunch hour dreaming about running off for the weekend exotic. But I didn't think anything realistically would occur. First last minute flight are too expensive. Hotel are as well. And the idea of traveling by myself didn't appeal too much. But, as i do from time to time, I paroused the flight from abu dhabi and dubai to see if they happened to be giving any trips to thailand away. This all happend around 12:30pm.
" You won't do it." my precoius sales collegue said. " You aren't going anywhere."
I stared a bit harder at the Expedia screen. Europe was only about 5 hours away.
" You obviously don't know me that well. I would do it." I retorted. A good deal on to ticket to Rome appeared .
" Come on. You're going to be sittin at the hotel watching reruns of turkish soap operas like the rest of us."
"Look I would go, but its not worth it to go by myself."
"Thats a good price on a ticket to Rome. We should tell Jules about it."
Twenty minutes later 2 electronic tickets were in my inbox and 10 hours later I was sipping my complimentary diet coke on a flight to Rome with my new friend Jules. I can't say I was firmly adhered to my own rules during Ramadan. Even for me, last minute trips to Italy seems like a bit of a strech, but there is something about the end of Ramadan.
Italy was amazing and hit the spot like hot chocolate on a snowy day. The four days were a maze of piazzas, luxury shops, and gorging on wine and some of the best Italian food I've ever had. It was a great break. Everytime Jules an I started to get depressed about leaving our beloved Italy we reminded ourselves how lucky we were and that this was why we trapped ourselves in the Middle east fish bowl.
On the return week in Abu Dhabi, things were a hectic as ever. All the executive had returned from their holidays. Meeting and updates took place and re-organizations were annouced. There was even an employee who left the company unexpectedly. To be fair, time after a break can be tense time at any company, especially if it is near the end of the fiscal year.
So of course the follwoing weekend seemed like the perfect for another escape! Dubai weekend hurray!
In summary of Eid: Runaway to Rome, pasta that would make you cry, more designer shops than I can count, aquire an obsession with Louis Vuitton bags, return to work, thick skin still in tacted, runaway to Dubai, dinner with the united nations of new friends, underdressed at the new Aramani club, trade in free drinks and 187m2 LED screen for Atlantis club, return home to the hotel, hit accept on on the invitation to my 10 year high school reunion (Gasp!), three friend annouce their engagements, book my flights back to the States.
Just another week in dreamland.
Next up: Returning home and setting up to move back to CT. The ride is almost over.
Acedote of the Month: I had a big presentation last in from of the senior management team and a Project I had been working on. This would be the first time I would be meeting our CEO, a local emirati who is highly connected. While I was a little neverous, I was extremely confident about my project so I believed it would go well. And it did, minus one detail. During the presentation I was reviewing the process and the CEO asked why we choose the process to improve. I said that this process was what the team considered " low hanging fruit" and and would have a high impact on future turnaround time for the company. At the end of my presentation the CEO said.
"Good job. Very good presentation. But next time don't say "hanging fruit". It has different meaning here."
I later learned hanging fruit is term for a male body part in the UAE.
Lesson learned: Be wary of using business jargon internationally.
Spainish Steps in Rome
Glorious Italian food...
I find this funny a sign is needed.
The LED screen at Prive the Aramani Club.
Only in Dubai...