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Hurricane Season 2011: Aug.-Nov.: Return to USA And Dubai Project

                                          Hurricane Season 2011: Aug. – Nov.: Return to the US
                                                                       
So when we last posted Scott was off to Saudi Arabia where he stayed until mid Sept.  While he was working I was visiting family and friends.  !  ****Warning….no sailing in this update but there are lots of pics in honor of the family and friends that follow our adventures. 
First in Texas……to get my first baby fix….

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Little Miss Brooks Davis Gladney Lemon and soooo happy to finally meet you! 

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Then off to visit Scott’s Mom. Since I didn’t get to see her last year during my trip home, she was first on my list.  Then on to Dallas…. for the next baby fix with Kassie’s son Bentley  and with Lannette’s son Roman. 

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  A great girl’s afternoon was spent with the whole Bunch.   Back to Houston for some badly needed Quad Time. 

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Here we all are ready for an airplane trip.  Where did the last 3 weeks gooooo???  Now it is time to head back to Michigan Again
As always, happy to see my first sight in MI, my favorite brother in law Rick, this time with Ginger and Sue to pick me up.  First thing on the list:  to attend Kari’s Wedding Shower. 

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√ Done!  Now what should I do for the next 5 weeks in MI??? With lots of time for once, lots of time to visit Family and Friends.   Second on the list:  The Crenshaw Family Reunion.

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√  Next, before they have to head back to school, off to visit the newlyweds in their new house for a turkey fry in the backyard, a visit to Idy’s classroom, and Micah with one of his fair projects. What a great way to start Labor Day Week-end!

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  So after Labor Day, Evangelynn after school and to celebrate Scott’s Bday with the sisters, he may be in Saudi Arabia on an oil rig, but I have his credit card, so the girls went out to The Barn Theatre, the oldest professional Equity summer stock theatre company in Michigan to see Andrew Lloyd Webber’s, Sunset Boulevard with soap opera star Kim Zimmer. 

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After connecting with Stemaly family members I haven’t seen in 30 years at the Crenshaw Reunion, I made it my mission to connect with MI Ware Family Members too.

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            Randall and Sharon’s Bunch with a baby fix for Cindy with the newest member whose was only two weeks old and for the first time to meet Ken’s daughter Teresa.  During all this connecting, it made me motivated since during my travels I have seen almost everyone in the family during the past ten years and decided that I needed to be the one get something written down to share and connect everyone.  It was great fun talking to and using FB to gain and post information.  Next, since I was here, I had to do some true tourist things.   First off to Bonner’s Christmas Store in Frankenmuth, MI and next to Cleveland to see where Big brother Ed is working.

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            Next I was able to hunt up friends that I don’t always get to take time to see.  First came HS classmates and the planning of a class get together at Rick Walterspaugh’s house. 

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            I even took the time to scan my yearbooks!   It was great seeing and catching up with everyone that showed up and finding even more classmates on FB. Next came KCC friends Judy and Nancy 35, Mary 36, Joanie, Patti McG , and Mike Leson 37, Julie, Lyla, and Wanda 38, Scott 39, and my Godparents 40.

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            Finally, the reason for the trip…Kari and Edwin’s Wedding. 

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One last family shot.  

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USA 45 As my brother in law Rick would say, there is only one thing better than picking Cindy up at the airport, that is dropping her off five weeks later!
            Back to Texas to visit the new office in beautiful downtown League City and see the whole Aztec Gang and pack for my flight the next day to Dubai (at my home away from home, Karen’s Blue Moon Bar, Grill, Hot Tub, Bed, and Breakfast,)! 

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The Dubai Adventure
            After two months, it was absolutely marvelous to reunite.  Even though we could almost every day communicate either by phone, SKYPE, or e-mail, it just isn’t the same as being together.  The first day, due to my jet lag, we took the day off, figured out the metro system, and visited one of Dubai’s famous landmarks. 

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            Mall fountain, Arab mosaic design, to us, the funny name of a store, and finally it’s most famous attraction, Ski Dubai.  As we were looking through the windows a little girl plopped down and did, for me, my favorite winter activity, making a snow angel.  Unfortunately we were too slow to get a picture but it made my heart smile. 
            Sept. 30: first day on the job for Cindy and the beginning of Scotts third month.  Bck in June, Rowan received a contract for Oct. 15 on 3 of the rigs sitting in the Sharjah, Port Khalid Shipyard.  When Scott came through in Aug. no work had begun on them. Then upon his arrival mid Sept., people were starting to work towards the Oct. 15 deadline. 

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            The first 3 pics are the old wiring that was replaced with the new PLC driven Parker drives. Scott job was to write the programs to run the new SCR drives on one of the rigs.  When I got here we were able to power up the PLCs and start troubleshooting the wiring.  Then it was a waiting for the drawworks, mudpumps, and top drive to be working so we could test them out.  Our work day is 6 am breakfast at the hotel, drive to the shipyard, work either in our office on the shore or troubleshooting on the rigs, lunch on the rigs, and back to the hotel between 6 and 7.  This is the fourth project that I have been able to work with Scott.  To say the least, I am the oddity in the shipyard…being a…

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            As one person corrected me, I am not one in a thousand but more like one in ten thousand in the oil field.  It never ceases to amaze me, the look of utter disbelief on their faces when they first see me.  But as always, after a few days/weeks/months, I am accepted and just another oil field worker putting in the same hours as they are.  After about two weeks, there was a call from the rig that was the spring project was having trouble.  We were sent back to the hotel with a driver for Scott to get on a flight 3 hours later, back to Saudi for a week.  Cindy spent the week doing some sight seeing, catching up on sleep, internet, TV, and movies.  Since the Oct. 15 deadline had passed and the rigs were nowhere near ready for contract, we decided once Scott got back to take about a day a week to see the Dubai Sights. 
            Dubai is a magnificent, multi-faceted city which is one of the 7 Emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates.  It is everything you have heard and so much more from its ancient history to its modern, beautiful skyline.

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            What a different salad bowl with 80 % of the almost 1.93 million being expatriates.  (Yes, I had to look up the definition too.  It does not only apply to military, but to anyone living outside their native country.)   As we say, we are part of the imported millions from all over the world who do the work for the locals or emiratis.  Unfortunately I never had an opportunity to even actually meet a native emirati, so all my new found knowledge is from taxi drivers, tour guides, and fellow workers. 
            First Sight:  Jumeirah Mosque.

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            Over the past ten years, this mosque as become renowned as the focal point of the “Open Doors, Open Minds” program as it is the only mosque in Dubai open to the public and dedicated to receiving non-Muslim guests.  We enjoyed a one hour tour/talk.  All women were asked to dress modestly and to cover their heads, scarves were provided, and everyone had to take off their shoes before entering.  We were told that a mosque only needs to have 4 walls to be considered a mosque and each mosque is decorated to the level that it was funded.  We were instructed on the 5 Pillars of Islam. (*I am really fighting the teacher in me to teach right here, but I will let you Goggle it yourself!)    You can note the Islamic calendars which tell the 5 daily prayers of Salat (the sixth time is just sunrise) that take about 2 minutes to complete, facing the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.  This photo in our hotel room shows the direction to face towards Mecca.  This alcove is the most important place in the mosque and the seat next to it is where the Imam gives the lesson of the week on their holy day, Friday.    Women do have their own prayer rooms and as we were told, the most elaborate ones are at the malls.  During our time here we were able to experience Ramadan, Eid al-Adha, and the Islamic New Year.  
            Second Sight:  Burj al Arab.  It is the only 7 star hotel in the world, according to them, since the highest ranking is 5 star. 

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            We will let the pictures speak for themselves, which can’t copy the feeling that it looks like the building is getting ready to sail away.  J  We did splurge and our room was on the seventh floor third door from the left…LOL.  As you can see, we did do lunch. We have never had our a clean cloth napkin put in our laps after each trip to the buffet before. What Impecable Service!  Another √ off our Bucket List. 
            Third Sight:  Dophinerium.  Another excursion was to Children’s City Park.  We enjoyed walking around the park and attending the show.  Still can’t believe I got the almost perfect shot of the dolphins. 

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      Fourth Sight:  Desert Safari Ride. 

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            The five hour excursion began with a drive out of the city to the desert.  Then we stopped to let air out of the tires for better traction.  All the other vehicles were Hummers or Ford Explorers but we had a roll bar, for our driver, we named the Biggest Daredevil.  According to Scott the dune surfing was “Violent.”    Once at the camp, we had to take a camel ride, which almost brought Scott right over the top of me as the camel was sitting back down.  In the Bedoin village Cindy couldn’t say no to the free henna art, which was a perfect way to celebrate Diwali, or the Hindu, Festival of Lights.  Then we were treated to a traditional meal and entertainment with our new car friends from Finland, Singapore, and Korea.
            Fifth Sight:  Dubai Creek and Dhow Cruise. 

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            Dubai has a long history of trade along the natural sea inlet (beginning with pearls), they now call this area Dubai Creek which runs for 14.5 kilometers.  We went for a water taxi across the creek, visited the museum, shopped in souqs, and went for a dhow dinner cruise with James and Leonard, our work carmates. 
            Sixth Sight:  Burj Khalifa.

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            The Burj Khalifa is the tallest building and free standing structure in the world at over 800 meters (2732 ft.) We booked a week ahead for AED 100 (dirhams) instead of buying an immediate entry for AED400, so that we could go up at sunset and since you can stay as long as you like, stay until dark.  It was truly AMAZING! You just couldn’t get a sense of how high you actually were.  The elevator to the 124th floor took 60 seconds. While up there I got all excited going up to the machine to make my squish the coin souvenir…until Scott pointed out that is actually was a Gold Machine.  J Burj al Khalifa also has a lighted fountain musical show.  At night the lights of the building are in sync with the show too.  Check out one that we saw, to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aC2kjU4ljSE&feature=related
            Attached to the BK is the Dubai Mall, the World’s Largest Mall.  It houses the Dubai Aquarium and Under Water Zoo, Dubai Ice Rink, Sega Republic a 76,000 sq. ft. indoor theme park, over 1,200 shops, and movie theatres.  We easily spent the full day of fun here with lunch at Red Lobster.   We have also learned that the time to be here is during the Dubai Shopping Festival held during the month of Jan. when people come from all over the world to buy at 50-70% savings.  I wonder if we will be here or back here for that and what would we buy??????
            Misc Sights: 

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  Atlantis Resort at the top of Palm Island, this is the second with the first being in the Bahamas. It was interesting driving out the highway to the tip where exits are called Fronds.

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    Had to share the local picnic sign. Other interesting signs!

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An air conditioned bus stop.

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The building architecture amazed us.   Every day we drove the same way for 2 month and every single day I would notice a new building.  Absolutely loved the buildings that looked like ships, even the ships themselves were interesting.

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This was the second time we got to spend Thanksgiving together on a Rig. As you can see the Galley Crew and Chef went all out to make a special meal for us all.

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We were almost there for Dubai's 40th Birthday as a Country

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And, I got to spend time with an old High School friend "Monty Bishop" who is working as a teacher in Abu Dhabi .

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            Well the Oct. 15 deadline came and went without much notice.  We continued to jury rig so we could test what we could and to get our part completed.  The best part, as always, is all the people we get to meet, work with,  and even see again on the next project.  My only regret is that we never got an opportunity to meet a national Emerati Citizen.     Since we were part of the 80% imported working class we never got the opportunity.  The questions I would of loved to asked, especially to a woman, to gain a better understanding of their culture and traditions.  We changed our tickets from Nov. 3, to Nov. 15, and finally to Nov. 30.  Which was in itself a feat each time since we had to change 7 flights each time by contacting 4 different airlines and not to mention the change fees!  After four months for Scott and two months for me, we were on our way back to the boat. 
Well, not quite so fast….after Scott got on his first he learned that there was a planned Govt. workers strike in the U.K., the largest in 40 years and, of course it was scheduled for Nov. 30.  That is our luck, the day we would be traveling through London.  Cindy made it on her flight change with no problem but since Scott had to change airports he got caught in the customs strike and then an accident on the M25 between Heathrow and Gatwick created so much trafic that it caused him to miss his outbound flight.  So he had to sit in London for three nights waiting for the next flight he could get booked on. Unfortunately, even before Scott left London, they were already calling to want him back for first well support by Christmas.  While Cindy had not just one night in Houston but three which gave lots of time to do some shopping, eating, and visiting. 
            On Dec. 5, with no more delays or problems getting through customs in Guatemala City, (What a RELIEF!)  we were back on the boat in Rio Dulce.  .  It was great to be greeted by our cruising mates, Jerry and Deborah off Czech and Mate and their friends Thomas and Ken.  Finally, a great night’s sleep in our little paradise. 
The next morning, the hunny do projects began a little faster than Scott wanted, since we woke up to find several baot systems not working.  During the next few days we found all the following not working:   battery charger, two bilge pumps, water pressure pump, alternator, single side band radio, inverter, refrigerator not cooling, wind generator voltage regulator, AIS transponder, auto pilot main processor and the hd tv.  What a puzzle!  While we were gone the boat was not plugged in and is grounded in multiple ways.  After talking to other cruisers, we do believe that we were hit by lighting through the ground or through the water most likely on Sept 3rd when several other boats were also damaged by lightning.  This lightning strike caused a voltage surge that went through the negative (grounded) side of all the electronic components and fried most of them beyond Repair.  Scott was able to fix the tv screen by replacing a fuse on it’s motherboard, the water pressure pump by replacing the power transistor, and the refrigerator by adding more freon. Luckily all other navigation and radio equipment was stowed inside the oven did and still work! (that is a tick we learned from other cruisers)  Scott has been busy coming up with a major parts order to be shipped from the states to replace and have back ups for everything not working.  What a Christmas List….we weren’t really expecting!  We are busy working on boat projects. 

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            Here is our new Rocna anchor and 250’ of chain.  We are very happy that we got almost all the brightwork done on the outside and in the salon and bathroom.  It looks absolutely the best ever.    Here we are reinstalling the scrollwork on the starboard side that the carpenter used as a template and installing, which means bending the board slowly to get the shape, the new one that has been missing for years on the port side. 

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            Here we are wearing our presents from my big brother.  Thanks, Ed!   They are absolutely perfect for the Amazing Grace and everyone that has seen them loves them and can’t believe we didn’t have them made special.  Also have enjoyed many nights playing Shanghai with our Rio friends, Gisela and Frank on Shared Dreams and Dan and Lorraine on Zephyrus.
We visited the local orphanage, Casa Guatemala, on Christmas Eve to see the celebration with 250 + kiddos and up to 400 local villagers.

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  It was really a heart warming celebration and made us feel like ♪♫ Christamas is all around us and the feelings grow! ♫♪ 
            Hope everyone has/had a Very Merry Christmas…filled with all you most loved Christmas Traditions and a safe and Happy New Year 2012.  Love from us to each and every one of you!
Now waiting for word for Scott to head back to Saudi, which means Cindy will be sitting on the boat in Guatemala.  It should be after the first of the year.  Check back for the next adventure!   

 

 

           

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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