Weekend Activity

Still here..update

Yes, I’m still here. It’s been busy the past few weeks for so. In addition to going to school on Saturday until noon to make up for those days at the beginning of the year, I’ve also taken a lifeguard and WSI (water safety instructor) course. Those courses were held on Sunday’s so there were some weeks that I was going to school for seven days straight. But today was my last WSI course so I am done, free and feel like I have my life back a bit. The courses were good PD for me to have but I’m glad that they are over.

What has been happening here? Well, lots of things…

Lunar Break –

Lunar Break was the middle of February and by this time I was sick of the cold and wanted some warmth. This is also the time that I was missing winter in the ME. I headed to Cebu, Philippines to celebrate L’s 40th birthday. Since it was a big birthday we went all out and rented a villa with its own pool. This was amazing on so many levels. The best reason is that we could lay out by our own personal pool and not be around any people – perfect. I wanted to go and relax somewhere and this was perfect. All I wanted to do was workout, relax and go to the spa. I accomplished all three of those things every day, it was perfect.

 

Fire Dancers at dinner.

Our own private pool – worth every penny.

Nice view for a week.

Fire Festival –

The Jeju Fire Festival was the first weekend of March. It is held to pray for a good harvest and good health in the new year. There were a lot of different vendors and performers at the festival. It was very similar to a fair in the states. Basically, they set a hill on fire and it was pretty cool.

The hill before it was set on fire.

They used the hill as a backdrop for a video about the fire festival history.

Lots of fireworks.

Fire!

We were pretty far away but could feel the heat a little bit.

Kerin and Frances 🙂

Getting home after the fire festival was a bit of an adventure. We stood in line for about 45 minutes hoping to get on the right bus to head in the direction of home. Luckily, there was an elementary kid from one of the other international schools that translated for us of what bus to get on. It was complete chaos with people waiting for buses, there not being enough room on the buses and everyone getting angry. At one point a bus passed and people were banging on the side of the bus to stop as the whole crowd we were in was being pushed toward the bus. It was crazy. In the end, we all got a bus even our new elementary friend we made along with his parents. We had to stand on the bus but it was fine as long as we were headed in the direction of where we lived.

We decided to get off the crazy train of public transportation and grab a drink to complete our night. A new shopping center of restaurants, shops, and bars recently opened near us and I’ve been wanting to go to a bar called the Devil’s Door so this was perfect timing.

Canola Flower Fields –

Spring is here so that means flowers and lots of them on Jeju. This is a welcome change from the ME for sure. There are many different fields or patches of the canola flowers that you can go to. You just drive around until you see one, pull over, pay 1,000 KW which is less than a US dollar and then walk around and take some pictures. My first question was how does everyone walk around and not ruin the field? Answer – paths (see bottom picture), genius.

L and I in the canola fields.

Canola flowers and Mt. Sanbangsan in the background.

Paths through the fields.

 

Later skaters,

-B

 

 

A tourist in Dubai

I’ve been to Dubai two times. The first time was for a 10K race and the second time was to watch a rugby tournament. On both of those trips I never had time to play tourist because I was either sore from running or drinking all day. I knew that before I left the Middle East a Dubai tourist trip had to happen. I of course had to go in the tallest building in the world!

At first I was going to splurge and stay in a fancy hotel and live it up for a weekend. Then I checked prices and decided, no thank you and went with the Holiday Inn Express at Safa Park and it was amazing. The breakfast had good choices, it was close to the Burj Khalifa, and had a nice park near it.

Dubai is only an hour flight so getting there on a Thursday night is easy and it leaves all day Friday and the majority of Saturday for activities. My trusty travel partner suggested that we get the fast track pass for the Burj so we wouldn’t have to wait in any lines. The was pure genius. Not only did we not have to wait in lines to go up but also got right in the elevator to go down.

The Burj was high – we went to the 124th floor and it was a clear day so we were able to see out pretty far. It was a little windy on the observation deck but it was pretty cool to look down and see everything look like a lego set.

At the top – 124th floor

Looking down at the Dubai fountain

The Dubai mall is also know for the world’s largest aquarium. Now as a SCUBA diver I’m not a fan of aquariums, zoos or anything that holds animals in captivity…but I was there so of course I checked it out. You could walk through the aquarium so you had animals swimming above you and besides you. I got to watch a sting ray eat while being underneath it, that was pretty cool. There was also an underwater zoo which was as you guessed different fish and animals that lived under the water. Overall I wasn’t impressed as yes it was a big aquarium but way too many fish in it. There was also a Shark Week display, that made for a cool picture.

Shark Week

Penguins humping each other – haha 🙂

It was St. Patrick’s day while I was in Dubai so in honor we had some drinks while we watched the Dubai Fountain show. The water show was set to music, lights and shot up 140 meters high. If you have ever been to the Bellagio fountain show in Las Vegas, this didn’t even come close. It was a nice little entertainment stop while we had drinks.

St. Patrick’s Day drinks

Burj night selfie

On Saturday we went to go for a run in Safa Park which was near our hotel. It was about a twenty minute walk but once we got there the park was surrounded by a huge fence. When we finally found the entrance we also found out that there was an entrance fee. So even though we didn’t get our run in we got in a nice walk along the canal. Along the canal there was a wellness fair going on. There were vendors ranging from smoothies to yoga. The whole event was about taking care of your self, gaining confidence and being happy. It was really nice to stumble upon The Happiness Journey.

The Happiness Journey – my motto right now.

 

Later skaters

-B

Sri Lanka

I had a three day weekend in February so I looked at my options of going somewhere close, was a direct flight and would allow me to lay by the pool and possibly see a few sights if I desired to do so. The winner was Sri Lanka. I’ve never been before so it was a chance to see some new sights. My only requirement was that there was a patio and pool. I decided to stay at the Mount Lavinia Hotel. The weekend was spent laying by the pool, reading, taking naps, going to the spa twice and stopped at the elephant orphanage on the way to the airport. Although it was a short weekend the weather was perfect and it was a nice and relaxing weekend. I will absolutely go back to see more.

View from my balcony

Pool time

Bath time for the elephants

Turning poo into paper

Later skaters

-B

 

Adventures around Bahrain, Part 2

I have a few friends leaving Bahrain this year and they are on a quest to see all that Bahrain has to offer and I’m usually tagging along – so I also get to see what Bahrain has to offer.

Indoor skydiving and a new burger place…it was fun, not as easy as I expected it to be but still fun. The burger place was really good too.

 

Ancient burial grounds…

 

New Mexican place…the logo and graffiti inside was awesome, food – not so much.

 

Sunset…caught the sun at the perfect position, just under the bridge.

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Oil museum and oldest oil pump in Bahrain…who knew that is a thing, but we are in the Middle East, home of the oil – so makes sense and still pretty cool.

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Oldest oil pump in Bahrain

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Later skaters

-B

 

3 Day Weekend Trip to Oman

After careful and last minute consideration of what to do on a three day weekend, Oman ended up being the final destination. Oman has it all – mountains, beaches, and city sights to see.

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Drinks at the Irish Pub in the airport to start the trip out right!

The flight is nice and short at only an hour and twenty minutes. We arrived early morning, got a few hours of sleep, ate breakfast, looked around a bit and then headed out to the mountains.

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Cute little breakfast place.

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Mountains

Our destination was Wadi Shab.

Once we got there we decided to pay a small fee to ride a boat across the small river. It was well worth it though as the bottom was full of mud, we got a ride back across too on our way out. After about an hour hike and a little swim through two or three small pools of water you get to the waterfall that is just inside a cave. Once we swam through the small pool into the cave the waterfall was rushing down. The current was pretty strong, I had to hang onto the rocks as I was trying to take some video on my GoPro. On the way back we jumped off the rocks into the water – super fun.

After Wadi Shab we headed to the turtle reserve. On our way we stopped and had some mish ket which is basically just a kabob cooked on the grill with this amazing sauce, spicy but it was amazing. We got beef, lamb, and fish.

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We arrived at the turtle reserve and waited for our group to be called. It’s not guaranteed that you will see any of the sea turtles come up on shore. It’s also not guaranteed that you will see any baby turtles, so I didn’t have the highest hopes. Then it all changed…our group got called out and we walked for about 10 minutes out to the beach area and then we saw the first turtle. She was huge and was covering up the eggs that she had just laid.

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We saw two more that were on their way back to the water. We totally creeped on them and watched them walk all the way back to the water. This event ranks in the top 10 coolest things I’ve ever seen. It’s hard to explain but it was so cool seeing the whole process. I’m pretty sure that turtles are my spirit animals.

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After the turtle reserve we drove around to find a beach to camp on. Sounds simple enough, it wasn’t. Long story short – I slept in the car.

Next stop was back in town where we had lunch and then checked into a hotel to relax, have some drinks, sit by the pool and explore the city.

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Cider drinks by the pool.

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Souq at night.

We had a late flight out back to Bahrain so we hung out at the hotel for a bit and then headed to the airport.

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Our flight was delayed…

Oman was amazing and there is so much more to see. I will definitely be going back.

Later skaters

-B