Siblings in Kuwait – Spring Break 2013

One of the deals we are giving our 5 siblings is a trip (once) to visit us. Abby is here for the semester subbing and Andrew came to visit for his Spring Break! Shannon was studying abroad in Barcelona so they met up in Kuwait. It was a memorable week for all! (see Shannon’s post for proof)

There was a little miscommunication ..Shannon arrived on Friday, March 22nd and Andrew arrived 24 hours later. Luckily we like Shannon so it worked out just fine 😉

Shannon made it!

It actually ended up being quite an interesting experience: Shannon met a guy from Portugal on the plane. He was visiting friends but they weren’t able to pick him up at the airport. Our friend, Dana, was driving so we all piled into her car and took him to Marina Mall. We invited him to have breakfast with us at Pain Quotidian…and ended up finding out he was visiting some Kuwaiti royalty that he had met on a road trip. Crazy! We ended up hanging out with him all day and had quite a bit of fun being hospitable. Bonus: he’s a great (self-taught) photographer!

girls & the gulf

jeff, shannon & city

The afternoon consisted of coffee and pedicures. Saturday was another early morning to pick Andrew up at the airport.

We had an amazing breakfast (as always) at the Cocoa Room before heading out to the desert!

Full and satisfied, Dana, Andrew, Shannon, Abby, Jeff and I headed out to do some desert hiking. We found some interesting things along the way!

We also managed to do some GeoCaching…

…and found lots and lots of bullets in the process.

It wasn’t the clearest day but we had a great (HOT) time! Check out the entire album for many more pictures 🙂

Before they came, we compiled a list of all the things we wanted to do with them. [As you can see, we take our food very seriously!] It was actually a pretty busy week! We gave them a taste of a lot of things and know we missed even more. Contrary to popular belief, there’s actually a lot to do in Kuwait (if you’re looking). Some of the blogs I use to find goings-on: 2:48AM, Life in Kuwait, The Grapevine Kuwait.

Shannon introduced me to Red Mango…how did I manage to get through the first 7 months here without ever stopping to try it?!

We ventured to Souq Sharq (a first for all of us!).

We made at stop at the Fish Market.

We (finally) tried a nearby bakery and enjoyed some Middle Eastern sweets.

Strolling through the Old Souq.

Dinner at the Old Souq

Our last night, we ventured to one of our favorite restaurants for some Turkish food and shisha.

Jeff getting fancy with shisha

Abby’s friend from high school (Lance) was in Kuwait for a couple months working on the oil fields and joined us…small world!

Andrew’s turn 🙂

It was a great week!!

Check out the rest of our pictures plus all of our iPhone photos 🙂

A weekend in Dubai

…2+ months later!

Way back in March, just over a week after returning from Athens, Jeff and I flew down to Dubai for a 3-day weekend. This time it wasn’t all fun and games…we attended and presented at the Google Apps for Education Summit at the American School of Dubai. Professionally it was a great experience for both of us and we’re excited to collaborate in the future with the new people we added to our PLN. Small world – one of the organizers of the Summit also graduated from Hope College. It was great to meet and hang out with Cindy 🙂

Even though the trip was short (approx 72 hours), we were able to squeeze in a little fun too! The trip started with the mandatory stop at the Duty Free store on our way out of the airport 😉 Thursday night we taxi’d from our hotel to The Walk at the Dubai Marina. We did (in fact) a little walking and took in the area. Unfortunately the views of the water weren’t too great because of the construction. We ate Mexican while sitting outside – the people watching was pretty fantastic. We were immediately struck by how many Westerners there were and by the amount of skin people were showing. We weren’t in Kuwait anymore!

After getting in quite late on Wednesday night, we had a little time change mishap on Thursday morning. We made sure to set several alarms for Thursday morning…but none of our devices switched to Dubai time (1-hour ahead of Kuwait) and there wasn’t a clock in the hotel room! We arrived a little late to the summit, but luckily we didn’t miss much! Our hotel was close enough to ASK to walk which was nice…even if it was hot and we had to brave the traffic.

After the conclusion of the Summit on Friday, we met a few other presenters for dinner at the Emirates Golf Club. We had a lovely dinner at M’s before heading downstairs to help Spike Bar close up for the night. The food was delicious but it was quite refreshing to be able to order & enjoy adult beverages at a restaurant! Since the night was still young, we stopped by the bar at a friend’s hotel. A great time was had by all!

Golf club lamp @ Emirates Golf Club

Saturday we hopped on the metro (with all our bags!) and stopped by the Dubai Mall on our way to the airport. As one of the world’s biggest malls, it was quite overwhelming. We ate lunch while gazing up at the world’s tallest building, had a quick encounter with a shark at the aquarium and wished we had time for ice skating!

ASD was gorgeous and Dubai was definitely a new take on the Middle East. It did seem a little sterile though…it was hard to find any culture because everything was so shiny and new. Our only regret of the whirlwind trip was that we didn’t buy Peter, our dads and Uncle Jim (& all the rest of you who play) golf paraphernalia from the Emirates Golf Club. Hopefully you guys can forgive us!

ASD campus from our hotel room

REAL grass!

To see all our photos from the trip, check out our camera and iPhone albums.