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Preview: Here, there, and everywhere

Here, there, and everywhere

Updated: 2017-06-24T07:49:39.598-07:00


Discovery Park and the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks


Some holly berries at Discovery Park in the Magnolia neighbourhood of Seattle

The bluff in Discovery Park overlooking the Puget Sound

Discovery Park

These white things are there seasonally to help juvenile salmon through the locks between Lake Union and the Puget Sound.

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Hiram M. Chittenden Locks between Lake Union and Puget Sound

Sailing on Elliott Bay


Taken from the pier-our boat.

A passenger waiting to board

The mainsail as they put it up

The camera is straight, but the boat is not!

A shot of Mt. Rainier in the background

You can pay $25/adult and ride this sailboat for 90 minutes. Perfect weather to be out on the water!

Lake Union Wooden Boat Festival 2008




Water plane landing on Lake Union

Checking out the boats

Taking on water...

A few photos from today...


We visited the Lake Union Wooden Boat Festival Today. Here are some shots! (image) (image)

New Blog


So I've already begun to post on my Abu Dhabi/UAE photo blog. I've been using some images I took from my time in Sharjah, Dubai, and around the UAE. I might post a few more photos on this one, but in the next month or so this blog will go quiet. I hope you'll all visit me on the new blog.

Pilot testing of 10 hybrid vehicles starts in Dubai


I gotta admit that I didn't see this coming, but I'm happy to hear it!

Dubai: Shaikh Maktoum Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, has opened the pilot testing phase of ten hybrid vehicles to be used in Dubai's taxi fleet.

The vehicles are the environmentally friendly Chevrolet Tahoe and Malibu models by General Motors, which are the first of their kind to be used in the Middle East.

Shaikh Maktoum also inaugurated new double-decker buses fitted with Euro 4 engines, which conform to global environment standards.

Hybrid vehicles run at up to 60km/h on electricity and switch to fuel for higher speeds.

The vehicles help reduce fuel costs by 50 per cent and produce 50 per cent less emissions, according to the Roads and Transport Authority.

The RTA announced the pilot project last November, which is being conducted under a directive of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

The trial is aimed at providing a clean, attractive and sustainable environment to boost the profile of Dubai.

Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director, RTA, said: "The RTA is seeking a complete renovation of all mass transit system in the emirate so that it will be environmentally friendly. A work team has been formed to substitute existing taxis and public buses with new environmentally friendly vehicles using hybrid engines and replacing the existing abra engines with CNG operated engines. All of this is a first step in a master plan to make vehicles in Dubai environmentally friendly.

"The hybrid cars team focused on realising four key objectives, namely: apply existing technology to minimise pollution from vehicle exhausts, improve the quality of fuel used for public transport buses, apply international standards governing vehicle gas emissions in Dubai, and start applying hybrid car technology in the Emirate of Dubai."

Finish reading the article here.

Day break, Maqta bridge Abu Dhabi


A New Blog on the Horizon...


Abu Dhabi
Originally uploaded by mohammed al marzouqi
I know I haven't posted in a couple weeks, but there are lots of things going on behind the scenes. We're preparing for a move to Abu Dhabi in August. I've decided to start a new blog to go with the change of scenery. Watch this space for the new blog address!

Birds a'chirping at dusk


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This video is all about the audio. It feels like summer when it's still somewhat light out at 9:00 pm, and the birds are still chattering away. I'm not so foolish to lulled into this false sense of seasonal change. I think it's going to be rainy and in the 50's for much of the week. The birds stopped chirping a few moments after I shot this clip.

Tulips, tulips, tulips...


More tulips from Pike Place Market

A Beautiful Weekend Around Seattle



The Cheese Festival


Sampling the cheese!

A Friday afternoon by the shores of the Puget Sound


Through the window of a restaurant in Pike Place Market


Had a mango bubble tea and a watermelon juice between us


A samples of the great bouquets available in Pike Place ($5!!)

Saw this t-shirt today...


It's hard to read, but it says:
John McSame as Bush


Beyond Belief


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I just watched this documentary about 2 widows who lost their husbands in the the 9/11 Trade Centre planes. I'm not much for the post 9/11 films that have come out, but this one is a very touching story of how these widows connect with widows in Kabul. Definitely worth seeing...

Inside the haunted palace



Every request for directions to the haunted palace came back with the same response: “You don’t need directions, it finds you.”

As it turned out, the vast, sprawling mansion was easy to spot. Perched on a hilltop along the main road in A Diat, a suburb of Ras al Khaimah, it stood abandoned, with broken windows that kept watch over a driveway that began at a rusty gate.

The palace, said to be worth Dh500 million (US$70m), was abandoned more than 20 years ago by Sheikh Abdulaziz al Qassimi, because, as a family member put it, “there was no luck in the house”.

Although abandoned, the house is not empty, said people who live near its looming walls.

“You hear a woman screaming as if she is being strangled and you see what looks like little children watching you from the roof as you walk by,” said Khaled Abdullah, who lives nearby.

The “woman” is said to be a jinn, a supernatural creature that can take human form. The al Qassimi Palace is home to not just one, but an entire tribe, people here believed.

Mr Abdullah said he had seen the spectres, but only from afar. He has never dared to enter the palace grounds.

“These children always come out at night and just watch you and sometimes even call out your name,” he said, gesturing with his hands.

“Khaled, Khaled, they would call,” Mr Abdullah said, imitating the childlike voice he claimed to have heard. “Never. I will never go in.”

The National was made of sterner stuff. A reporter and photographer set out to explore the building, accompanied by Sheikh Tarik Abdel Moneim Ibrahim, an Egyptian exorcist and Islamic scholar.

Entering the three-storey building, visitors are greeted by an engraved marble verse blessing from the Quran.

After the reporter read the verse out loud, one of the three large crystal chandeliers in the main hall suddenly lit up. The other two remained dark.

The light showed intricate colourful murals, and mosaics of animals, women, and green fields covering the walls of the hexagonal shaped palace. Many of the figures had their eyes covered with white sheets of paper.

“To block the jinn from seeing us,” explained Mr Ibrahim.

There was evidence of other intruders. Statues of falcons with their heads broken off, tiles peeled from the walls and scorch marks on the floors of the main bathrooms, along with broken egg shells and twigs.

“All kinds of witch doctors from Africa and sheikhs from Saudi Arabia have come through here to try to cleanse this house,” said Mr Ibrahim, pointing to ripped pieces of the Quran, and the remains of animal sacrifices.

The strangest thing about this is that an Islamic scholar is guarding the house, IMHO.

Original article found here.

Judith Caesar's Take on Life in Egypt, the UAE, and KSA...sorta


As we look at a move back to the Arabian Gulf, I stumbled up two books I wish I had found ten years ago. Both are written by Judith Caesar:

Crossing Borders: An American Woman in the Middle East



Writing Off the Beaten Track: Reflections on the Meaning of Travel and Culture in the Middle East

Having shared experiences in two of the three countries Caesar writes about, I thought both books provided insight that would be useful to anyone new to the region-particularly women.

Saudi blogger released after 4 months in jail



Riyadh: A Saudi blogger detained without charge for more than four months after expressing pro-reform opinions has been released, a colleague said on Saturday.

Fouad Farhan was detained in early December after running an online campaign over 10 men arrested since February 2007 on suspicion of financing militant groups, but whose supporters say they are being punished for pro-democracy activity.

Ahmed Al Omran, who published the news on his website (, said, "I received a mobile phone message from his wife at 5.30 this morning saying he was released."

"It was surprising. After blocking his website, I thought his detention would go on longer. It's good news."

Saudi authorities blocked Farhan's website ( earlier this month.

An Interior Ministry spokesman said he would not confirm Farhan's release. The ministry had declined to say on what charges he was arrested, but said it was not security related.

Orignal article found here.

Photo credits here.

Here's one way to ensure that you're blacklisted


An American teacher from a Tomorrow School here left the country secretly without submitting the grades of his class to the school management.

The management and the teacher's colleagues did manage to convince him to submit the results by e-mail, preventing serious problems for the school.

According to sources the teacher did not want to submit the grades to "punish" the Ministry of Education.

The English Language teacher, identified as D.A., was informed before the incident by the Ministry of Education that the ministry would not renew his annual contract.

The teacher decided to respond to this move, which he considered unfair, by leaving the country without submitting the grades of his class.

He knew the school would not be able to evaluate the students again, especially with the end of the academic year approaching.

D.A. sold his furniture and then drove to the airport with a rented car, which he left at the airport. He called the rental agency in Ras Al Khaimah from the aeroplane, informing them to collect the money from the Ministry of Education. He also left an unsettled bank account behind.

Yousuf Al Shehi, principal of the school, said once it had been confirmed that D.A. had left the country, his colleagues were instructed to take over his classes. The school management refused a substitute in the best interest of the students.

Al Shehi said the school management and colleagues wrote to D.A. to ask for the grades of his students, adding that the school adopted a friendly manner to handle the teacher. He responded by e-mailing the grades. The school told him that they did not have anything to do with the decision by the Ministry of Education not to renew his contract.

Original article found here.

Photo credits here.

More from Maui...



Welcome drink


Lai and Hawaiian shirt


Sunset from Old Lahaina Luau


Smells like coffee but really works!


Rainbow from the Old Lahaina Luau

As promised...


Battle scars from the road to Hana

The offending staircase

Some misc. Maui pics...



Not to rub it in....


but, yeah! I'm rubbin' it in! Our first full day in Maui:

Dubai's highest court upholds 15-year jail term for two who raped a boy


By Bassam Zaza, Senior ReporterThe highest court in Dubai on Monday confirmed the 15-year jail term handed to two Emirati men who kidnapped a 15-year-old French boy and had sex with him against his will. The Dubai Court of Cassation turned down the two men's appeal for leniency and upheld the ruling.The case now moves to Dubai Civil Court which will be looking into the victim's Dh15 million compensation claim.During Monday morning's hearing, the Cassation Court confirmed I.M., 18, and A.K., 35, were guilty of kidnapping the 15-year-old French boy, A.R., and having sex with him against his will in a desert area in Al Barsha. A.K's reports confirmed he had Aids and Hepatitis. Earlier this year, the victim's medical reports confirmed that he had not contracted either disease. The Public Prosecution charged I.M. and A.K. and their compatriot, I.S., 17, with deception and kidnapping the boy and his compatriot, F.K., 16.They were charged with forcefully undressing A.R., threatening him with a knife before having sex with him, while F.K. was kept outside the vehicle.A.K was solely charged with threatening to kill the victim with a stick. The Dubai Court of Appeal recently sentenced I.S. to three years in jail after he was found guilty as charged. Records said the trio picked the boys up from a mall. A.R. testified one of the defendants snatched his cell phone from him when he dialled 999 shortly before he was forced to have sex with them."A.K. who carried a billiard stick and I.S. who carried a pocket knife asked me to step down from the car, but I refused. They switched off our phones and took them away. I.S. threatened to rape my mother, burn my parents and our house meanwhile I.K. pulled my friend out of the car powerfully." The victim stated that he was beaten, forced to remove his clothes before the defendants sodomized him successively. "One of them even forced me to have oral sex with him," he added. F.K. confirmed the victim's testimony and said: "When I returned to the vehicle, my friend looked petrified and quivering. I saw him carrying his underwear in a small bag. The suspects dropped us off at Jumeirah and the victim, who was crying angrily, told me what happened in the cab."The UAE has a firm standpoint against crimes of a sexual nature, said a top lawyer in light of the final ruling of the French boy's sodomy case which was given on Monday. "Yesterday's irrevocable verdict [15 years imprisonment] shows that the UAE has a firm standpoint on crimes of rape and sexual violence and that we do not tolerate such crimes irrespective of the nationalities of the individuals involved in the crime," Dr Habib Al Mulla, of Dr Habib Al Mulla and Co, Advocates and Legal Consultants, told Gulf News. Commenting on the ruling, Dr Al Mulla who is the Dubai Government spokesperson in this case, said: "The verdict reconfirms our position that we have been putting forward from the beginning of this case that we need to let the system work. This judgement proves beyond any doubt that the UAE in general, and Dubai in particular, enjoys an efficient, reliable and trustworthy judicial system which is capable of dealing with issues of this nature."Dr Al Mulla expressed his gratitude that the judgment "has put an end to this saga that should not have existed from the beginning."He stressed that the UAE's judicial system is independent and treats all parties equally before the law. In an earlier statement Dubai's Attorney General Essam Eisa Al Humaidan said: "Our role is to enfo[...]

In like a lion...


...out like a lion, apparently. To snow in December is unusual here. Check out the lowland snow we saw today. Nice contrast, huh? The cherry trees are in bloom, and the crocus killer falls from the sky.

I've Been Tagged


Ms. Four from the blog We Four in Egypt tagged me.

*Post 10 random things about yourself
*Choose 5 people to tag and a reason you chose each person
*Leave them each a comment directing them to your blog so they know they are it
*You can’t tag the person who tagged you (you’ll have to make new friends)
*As a courtesy to the person who tagged you, please let them know when you have posted so they can have the sheer delight and extra work load of reading your answers)

1. I am licensed by the FCC to be a disk jockey. My high school had a radio station that I worked in.

2. I have a fear of falling down stairs. I think it dates back to when my mother fell down a flight of stairs carrying me (I was only a few months old).

3. I believe I have seen at least one ghost in my life. It was in a hotel in northern Spain that was once a fortress dating back to the 7th century.

4. I believe I heard the spirit of a pet that had passed away. My husband and I heard him multiple times when we were together and on our own.

5. My eyebrows are so blonde that when I'm in the sun for any prolonged period of time they almost seem to disappear as they lighten.

6. I had a terrible fear of fire as a child. I was tormented by dreams of being caught in a burning house.

7. As the result of the bad dreams I mentioned in #6 I learned how to control my dreams-waking myself up when they got bad. I can't do this anymore.

8. I've seen a lot of this world, but I am still quite drawn to two particular regions: the UK and parts of S. Africa.

9. I've lived in 3 different countries and visited over 15.

10. I have been biting my fingernails for about 32 years...and counting.

I'm tagging:
Vagabond Blogger
Teacher Lady
And of course those of you keeping private blogs: Safa, Bug, and Cols.

Yeah, I farted. Jealous??


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I don't know why this skit cracked me up as much as it did. Sorry for the poor quality. It's the only copy I could find on youtube.