Escape to the Night
A few days into the conference one of the girls I’m with asked if I’d like to join her in going off base for dinner. While Soldiers that are TDY may not go off base, Soldiers stationed it AUB may go off base and can “sponsor” you to come with them. I was excited to find that she had run into some friends she had known a while back and that they would sponsor us in our adventure!
We left at nightfall and the journey into town was slow, heavily congested roads and the driving skills of mario andredidi got us to the Soque in an hour. It was beautiful! A real “Arabian” Nights dream adventure. Restaurants with outdoor tables lined the pedestrian roads and inviting smells of spices called for you to sit at the table… so we did.
The Air Force gents that we went with were amazing tour guides as we drove in, tales of the construction madness for the World Cup, and introduction to the restaurant staff let us know that these guys got out often and took the time to get to know the people who waited on them. We were treated very well, water brought to our tables, fresh hummus and soft fresh baked pita-like bread helped to quench the hunger I was feeling being surrounded by so many scents on the air, spicy smoked meats grilling, a whiff of tangy twists of lemon as they were squeezed over fresh baked fish. My mouth was watering, the hummus did not disappoint. Another side of a rolled meat wakened my taste buds as I bit into it, washing it down with a lovely tea.
We would break from our appetizers and enjoy a hookah. Two tall pipes were brought to our table, one set with tobacco flavored grape-mint and apple-apple. My favorite was the apple, like a fresh green apple. Relaxing we passed the pipes (each of us had a little plastic tube “condom” so the sharing of the pipe was thankfully hygienic) and told tales of family, deployments, “so there I was” stories, and what we were up to now. I’m forever grateful for my military brothers and sisters that even at first meet, you feel like you have shared space before.
After our dinner our tour guides took us through the city, stopping at the water front so that I could have some oh-so-hoped for night photography time. Enjoying the fresh air and the great view, I was able to get a few good shots.
Continuing our tour we drove on to the famous “Pearl” – champagne wishes and caviar dreams are a reality. This is the future “Palm Tree” of Dubai (only without the sinking effects – they hope). The yachts at dock were amazing, while much construction was complete, shops were still getting set up, soon entrance would not be so easy. We were glad to be able to see it.
So with a fabulous waterside view we took one final moment to sit and relax with a cappuccino and tasty cheesecake before we had to head back to base (curfew is midnight, and no one wants to turn into a pumpkin!)