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Joel and Amy’s Blog

The dot, not the feather.

August 3rd, 2009 by Amy in Uncategorized | No Comments »

We were invited last weekend to the Tandoori Corner restaurant to celebrate Travis’, one of our friends, 25th birthday. Since “Bollywood” was the theme of the night two girlfriends and I decided to go Indian style. We headed downtown to the Indian fabric district, picked out material and had shirts custom made for the evening. Here are the three of us, Amy, Amy and Beth in our fabulous shirts. (I was trying to go for an Indian pose)

Indian Girls

We insisted that our husbands go Indian style as well. They each have their own flavor. Don’t ask me how I did it but I talked Joel into dying his hair black. Below is Amy’s husband Dave, Beth’s husband Tim, and then Joel with black hair. He was introduced to Travis as Tim’s friend Mike. It took travis a good 30 seconds to realize it was Joel and that was only after Joel spoke. Haha! It was fun.

Indian Boys

Kirsty did an awesome job putting this party together and the food was excellent! Thanks Kirsty!

IMG_2124

Travis and Kirsty.

Wealth and Poverty

July 25th, 2009 by Joel in Abu Dhabi, Essay | No Comments »

I read an article today that concluded Americans, for all their egalitarianism, don’t truly want everyone in the world to be treated equally. The premise of this was that Americans know that microwaves, iPods, housewares, you name it, aren’t naturally cheap items to produce. They are cheap to the western world because there are men and women, hidden from our view, who make outrageously low wages to produce these items for us.

This got me thinking about wealth, poverty, and the distribution of wealth.

Prior to leaving the US I never really grasped the idea of poor. I’ve worked in missions, soup kitchens, etc., but never truly seen the poor. Here in Abu Dhabi I work with men who make 500 AED per month… that works out to about $137 US. I make almost two orders-of-magnitude more than that! For some of these guys though, this monthly salary is an improvement over what they made in their home country.

men

The funny thing is that until I left the US, I never really grasped the idea of rich either. Now I’m working on converting an airbase to a VVIP airport for Sheik’s and other dignitaries. In addition, I’ve seen things here that just blow me away in terms of wealth.
Case in point… the Lamborghini Reventon. There are only 21 of these cars in existence and they carry a $1.4 million price tag. Here’s a pic of one we saw, right here in Abu Dhabi.

reventon

Note the license plate number… 10. Here in the UAE the locals will pay exorbitant amounts of money for unique numbers on their license plates (12345, 444, 121, etc.). This number, 10, almost certainly represents a member of the royal family.

In the US I’ve seen Ferrari’s, Lamborghini’s, etc., but not nearly with the same frequency as I have here. Not to mention the fact that I’m certain I’ll never see a Reventon in the US. This single car captures the extreme wealth of some people here in the country.

There’s not really a point to this post… just sharing some thoughts and observations. I will say that we Americans, for the most part, don’t seem to get a chance to witness true poverty or true wealth as it exists in the world.

UAE Pictures…

July 25th, 2009 by Joel in Abu Dhabi, Pictures | No Comments »

dubai

We’ve created a webpage capturing the photos of our last 7 months in the UAE. These is far more comprehensive than those we’ve posted on Facebook. Check it out at our main website, EricsonRanch. Enjoy!

Amelia Ericson – Best Wife Ever Reason #567

July 23rd, 2009 by Joel in EricsonRanch, Pictures | 1 Comment »

englishmuffin

Made-from-scratch English Muffins. Tomorrow morning I get to eat one with an egg omelet between it. =)

Monday. The second day of the work week.

July 20th, 2009 by Amy in Uncategorized | No Comments »
Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque

Joel treated me to a great dinner tonight at the Noodle House Chinese restaurant. It is located across the water from our “neighborhood,” on the main land. The picture above is a view of our favorite building, H. H. Sheik Zayed Mosque, from the balcony just outside the doors from our table. There are just some amazing sunsets here in the desert.

Any time you want to visit, we will have a free place for you to stay. We will even take you on a tour of Dubai!

Joel will be blogging about a couple of new desert adventures we’ve had here recently. So stay tuned!

John Piper quoted… (graphically)

May 21st, 2009 by Joel in Faith, Quotable | 1 Comment »

I’m kind of against posting outside content on the blog but really liked this video.

4 Titles:

May 9th, 2009 by Amy in Abu Dhabi | No Comments »

4 Titles: I went head to head with a female white westerner and won! or Things that make you want to GO NUTS!  or You are now entering the twilight zone or Just another Abu Dhabi Day

 

I don’t get up before 9:00. I don’t have to get up before 9:00 and since we get to bed late I typically don’t get up before 9:00. It’s just now 9:11, I’ve been up for an hour and a half and it’s proving to be an un-typical day for me.

 

I got up at 7:30, ate, bathed and clothed myself and was out the door by 8:00. My mission was to take the FJ back in to the body shop for a third time to get the second estimate done AGAIN. Apparently the first time we dropped it off for the second accident they either didn’t do the estimate or they lost it. No matter. Mafi mushkala. I can take it back in again.

 

I had to be there before 9:00. That’s when the insurance company shows up to start estimating. I pull up to the front of the building at about 8:35ish to start looking for a parking spot. Now remember… this is Abu Dhabi. People drive crazy here and consequently there are a lot of accidents. There are a lot of damaged vehicles parked everywhere, in no order and leaving me no space to park in the normal parking spaces. One of the attendants motioned for me to go into the drive that leads to the body shop area. Let me not fail to mention that the only drive into the body shop area, which is the only drive out of the body shop area, is constricted down to one lane most of the way because people have chosen to park their cars on either side of the drive. Ha!

 

As I am pulling in, and mind you I’m most of the way down the drive, a woman in a small compact car starts to pull out of the body shop. Here it is folks:

 

  1. I am most of the way down the drive
  2. She has just started coming down the drive
  3. If I back up it would have to be into the busy street and I’m liable to get rear ended (again)
  4. If she backs up 10 feet I can get around her

 

So what does she do? She throws up her hands and gives me this “Why the hell are you in front of me, in my way and not backing up?!” look. I even think she mouthed something. So what did I do? Well first, I’m flabbergasted by the fact that she’s not going to be a typical white western woman and love that she has the opportunity to be nice to someone. So I threw my hands up and mouthed “back up!” with that flabbergasted look on my face. I won!

 

But I feel horrible! I shouldn’t have had to do that. I SHOULD NOT HAVE HAD TO DO THAT.

 

I believe that this incident occurred because SHE has been here to long. More on that later. Let me get back to the FJ and the estimate.

 

So she backed up 10 feet and I drove around her. The whole incident took like… 30 seconds. I parked where the attended motioned me to and went into the waiting area ready to battle to have my estimate done first.

 

Well lucky for me I didn’t have to fight that battle. Unfortunately that fact isn’t stopping the maddening feeling from coming on. GO NUTS! I approached the Indian at the counter and after he is done talking to his associate Indian in Hindi/English about my FJ and the lack of an estimate he informs me that the insurance company doesn’t need to do the estimate now and that I can leave the FJ so they can get to the work some day. GO NUTS!

 

I asked him politely “Are your guys ready to fix the FJ? Do they have a guy available to start working on it? Because I don’t want to just leave it here to sit for weeks and not have any work done to it.” So the guy talked to his associate again in Hindi/English and then informed me that I could drop it off next Saturday. GO NUTS!

 

Instead of doing a second estimate the insurance company is now going to wait until the work is done and the bill is created and decide at that point what they are going to pay. MY theory is that the estimator for the insurance company just doesn’t want the work of creating a new estimate. GO NUTS!

 

So essentially my trip to the body shop was unnecessary. GO NUTS! EVERYBODY GO NUTS!

 

The cake topper: As I’m leaving the body shop area, driving down the street, a young Arab guy coming from the opposite direction stops and honks his horn at me and points to the front of my car. Now, I’m thinking, “Is something dangling off the front of my FJ?” Nope. He just wanted to ask me in his broken English, “Accident? How?”  I explained that it was a train wreck of an accident and that it wasn’t my fault. Then he asked, “Do you have paper?” I gave him a quizzical look. “Do you have police paper?” Oh! Do I have an accident report? Why yes, sir, I do. WTH?! What the heck?! Who was he and why did he care whether I had an accident report?  GO NUTS!

 

It’s at that point that I decided to get home as quickly as possible before something else strange happened.

 

I want to comment more on my theory of the woman in the compact car but I don’t think I have the brainpower right now. Maybe after I take nap this afternoon…

 

You have to know that as I’ve typed this over the last 45 minutes that I’ve laughed out loud at least five times. I haven’t cried yet though!!! : ) GO NUTS!

Facelift…

April 21st, 2009 by Joel in Geekiness | No Comments »

The blog is getting a facelift corresponding to our current residence in the UAE.  I’ll be tinkering over the next few days… feel free to chime in with any input.

Golden Cappuccino

April 4th, 2009 by Joel in Abu Dhabi, Friends | No Comments »

In our first few weeks in Abu Dhabi we spent many evenings with my co-workers eating out and seeing various sights.  One such evening found us meeting for coffee at the Emirates Palace hotel, a luxury hotel on the beach of Abu Dhabi.  This hotel is paradoxically both ostentatious and classy.  You feel rich just walking in.

When it came time to order drinks Amy had a cosmopolitan and I had a cappuccino, but not just any cappuccino.  I opted for the Emirates’ Cappuccino.  They offered a basic cappuccino for AED30 ($8.17 US), but the Emirates’ Cappuccino was AED50 ($13.61 US).  I figured that for an extra AED20 they must be using better beans, or steamed milk, or whipped cream.  You know… it had to be a better cappuccino.

It was a very good cappuccino indeed.  Heck! It even came with real gold-leaf flakes on top of it.

Emirates Cappuccino

Tony, on the other hand, opted for the AED30 cappuccino.  Ah yes, Tony the cheapskate.  I guess he got what he paid for.

Tony's Cappuccino

If only that were the case.  Reality is that Tony is intelligent.  He asked the waitress the difference prior to ordering and it turns out the joke is on me.  You see, the ONLY difference between my Emirates’ Cappuccino and his basic one was the gold-leaf flakes.  In fact, his had chocolate flakes on top.  I wager his was a bit more tasty than mine with gold-leaf flakes.

Little did I realize that this gold-leaf facade on my cappuccino would be analogous to many things I’d later discover here in Abu Dhabi.

The Month of March

March 30th, 2009 by Amy in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Unfortunately for you our life is not one big adventure. It’s a little adventure here and a little adventure there with a bunch of work squeezed in the middle. However, I did make it to Oman this weekend!!!

Oman

 

 

Yeah, it’s not as exciting as it sounds and I was only in Oman for 15 minutes. I did have some great conversation with my neighbor in the car on the way though. Her visa had expired and she needed someone with a vehicle that they owned to take her across the border. (In order to take a vehicle across the border you either have to own it or have a document by the owner saying that it’s okay to take it out of the country.) I don’t think she wanted to go by herself, being a single white female in a Muslim country, and I don’t really blame her. I was happy to go. I learned the value of knowing a least a little bit of Arabic on this trip as she was able to converse a little with each border guard. A co-worker of hers said it would only take an hour and a half to get there, via Al Ain, but it ended up taking us more like two and a half hours. The cool part is that now I can say I’ve been to Oman and have a stamp in my passport to prove it.

 

If you’ve not seen the pictures, we are now proud owners of a very blue Toyota FJ Cruiser. Here is a picture of it in Oman near the base of Jebel Hafeet, across the boarder from Al Ain, UAE.

FJ

I think we have had record rain fall here over the past two days. There are high winds right now and we’ve had a couple of big thunderstorms come through with lightening and everything. One of our friends said he saw hail as well. In the desert! It made it feel more like home. Rain can be so refreshing.

 

On another note, I’ve thought of a great little side business I could start here. Many men come over here to work for weeks at a time only to get back on plane and go home to their wives. It’s hard to convince a woman to move to the desert with out first visiting this place. So my thought is that I could introduce expat women to Abu Dhabi by driving them around, taking them to malls, restaurants and the spa for a massage for the purpose of helping them see that they too can live here. I did that last week with one of Joel’s co-workers wives from the US. We walked to a small mall near her hotel and ate at the Lebanese Flower with our husbands. After visiting a store that had Abayas in it I mentioned that I wouldn’t mind wearing one just because of their beauty here. It’s really because I am a sucker for rhinestones and they really like to deck these Abayas out with them. This picture is just an example of a few designs.

Abayas

The head scarfs are great for keeping the sun off of your head but really… black is just not the right color. So you won’t catch me in one anytime soon but you may start seeing me wear more colorful headscarves and shawls. I’m starting to love accessorizing.

Headscarf

Here are a couple of pictures that we’ve taken recently and a little explanation of each.

We have had several dust storms roll through. This was on our way to Dubai.

Dust Storm

They occasionally have boat races out by the corniche. 

Boat racing

St. Patrick’s day took us to the English Pub at the Royal Meridian hotel with 3 other Americans from our small group. This is the most recent picture of Joel and I.

Pub

They were messing with the lights on the Grand Mosque that same day. It’s usually just all white.

Blue Mosque

They LOVE fountains here and there are several around the city. This is Joel’s favorite. It’s just outside the Sheik Zayed Sports Center and looks like a torch. Pretty cool!

Torch Fountain

Things you stumble upon in the desert. We had an amazing camp out with our small group in the desert. A couple of the guys found this tent seemingly abandoned in a dune.

Tent

We sat around the campfire and shared our testimonies, how each couple met and what brought them to Abu Dhabi. God is so awesome!

Campfire

Until next time… have a great month of April!