Friday, November 28, 2008


Back at the end of August, my friend thought it was a good idea to take a break and see the new Atlantis Hotel in Dubai. I agreed and the family took a short flight out to the new hotel.

Everyone who stays at the hotel gets to visit the water park. That was the main attraction, not the hotel itself. The hotel sits at the top of the palm jumeriah. The palm jumeriah is a real estate development where rocks were dumped into the sea to create land. The atlantis hotel sits at the top of the palm on the outer ring. Condominiums have been built on the fronds.

So off we went and spent one night at the hotel along with a day at the water park.

Here is Deanna in front of the door to the Atlantis.

Here is looking left before entering the hotel.

Inside the hotel lobby.

Here are some outside shots....

Nyssa stands alone.

Here is the family.

Views from our room.

Here is the big drop in the waterpark.

Who is that pale daredevil?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Birthday Nyssa!

Nyssa has turned 11. To celebrate, Deanna threw Nyssa a big party. Cookies were made, popcorn popped and chips poured into bowls.

It was a great party and then... the guests arrived. 15 loud young girls descended on the house.

Nyssa ate lots of snacks, got a ton of presents and had a good time.

Here is the birthday girl herself.

What did she get? What did she get? Why are they out of focus?

Loot Galore!

Nyssa is saved from the vicious toy by the quick thinking of friend A.

Rabbit Ears are still popular in 5th grade.

Balloons, loud girls, marble floors and stone walls--awesome.

She is all grown up now.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


We arrived near the end of August, just before the start of Ramadan. Ramadan is holy month in the Islamic faith where no one eats nor drinks during daylight hours. In Islamic countries, restaurants close down during the day. After sunset, everyone breaks their fast with a large meal. The purpose is to remind everyone how it feels like to not have enough to eat or drink.

At the end of the month, there is a couple of days that are holidays. Most people will spend time with their family. Some will travel. We decided to stay at a resort for a couple of days. The resort was 30 minutes away on the coast that was reputed to have a great beach and some nice pools.

This made sense on several fronts. Firstly, we were sleeping on air mattresses and the chance to sleep on a bed seemed like a very good proposition. (We had to buy beds and it took a couple of weeks to get a delivery slot.) Secondly, the break might do us some good. Thirdly, we did not have Internet access so I thought we might be able to access the Internet.

When we arrived, the resort was packed. Everyone seemed to want to spend the first day of Eid at the resort as well. It was so crowded that it was difficult to find a place to park. However, over the next two days the crowd thinned out quite a bit. Food was included so we got dinner and breakfast, but no lunch. However, the rooms had a kitchen which we could cook food if we had brought provisions.

On the second night everyone got sick. Deanna was most annoyed because she was not sick enough. You see, I became very, very sick. This meant Deanna had to take the kids to the buffet dinner while she felt less than 100%.

The beach was nice. Living in California one gets spoiled by the availability of the beach. This was not California quality, but it was nice. How many people get to say that they vacationed at the beach? How many get to swim in the Persian Gulf? When the tide went out in the morning, one could walk quite far.

Here is the crew in the water.

Talyn was very proud of his sand castle.

He also found a shell.
It was quite hot and very sunny.

Here is the beach at high tide.

This is a picture during low tide looking back at the resort.

Here is inside the resort.

Dante is enjoying the balcony.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Caribou Coffee anyone?

From time to time Deanna stops to grab a cup of coffee.

On rare occasions she grabs a snack as well.

Here is the other side of the menu which is in English.

The exchange rate is 1 KD is $3.67. You can also multiply by 4 as a short cut.

If you weren't sure just what was in your cereal, here is a clarification on the meat content.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

It has arrived...

Our container arrived last Wednesday. We sent out our container on August 6th. The original estimate was 8-9 weeks. After we arrived in Kuwait, we were given an updated target date of September 4th. This was great news, but it meant that we had to quickly find a place to live in order to avoid putting things in storage. From August 20th to September 4th was only 15 days. We hustled and found a place, but our container did not arrive on schedule.

After several calls we found out that the container was transshipped in Valencia. Translation: it was taken off one boat in Spain and placed on another. The ship then went to Oman, before it finally arrived last week. The end result was a 12 week trip door-to-door.

Now we have boxes everywhere and we need to unpack and find a place for everything. Some things will take time to put away as we need some more furniture. Once we get everything put away we post some new pictures of the new place.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Meet our Villa

We had many things we wanted to accomplish when we first arrived. At the top of the list is finding a place to stay. We looked at a couple of Villas and we found one that fit our needs rather nicely.

It appears that everyone is looking for a pool. Granted Kuwait is hot, but without a chiller a pool is a hot bath. What is a chiller, you ask? Why, it is a refrigerator for the pool. When the temperature stays far above 100F the pool water becomes very warm. The only way to make it refreshing is to chill it down to a cooler temperature. My friend of mine had a chiller in Dubai, but I did not find any pools with a chiller in Kuwait. I do not want a pool if I will never feel like using it.

Freed from the need to have a pool, we had some very attractive properties to choose from. The one we chose was in a quiet neighborhood and was centrally located. Oh, by the way, it is quite large.

Here it is.

Lets start with the outside.

The villa has a nice facade. You will notice that we do have some grass and a gate.

We also have three ducks that cross the street from time to time to visit our yard.

Here is the front door. You can tell the house is big by the fact Dante is tired before setting foot inside.

Here is shot of the first room in the house. The door at the far end is the front door.

If you look over the railing you can see the downstairs. Notice there is another door under the front door. It leads to the patio.

You can see a bigger shot of the downstairs to the left.

This is the patio downstairs.

If you look up, you can see the trellis over the front door.

Here is the patio from the ground floor.

We have come back in the house through the door at the back. Talyn is ready to bound up the stairs.

Everything seems so big as we have not furnished much.

Here is the kitchen. In Kuwait, unfurnished also means no appliances. Luckily for us, this villa came with appliances.

We did have to buy a refrigerator. Not the white one at the left, but the big black one at the back.

Our container had not yet arrived and we had been using a costco brand card table (seats 4) for our dining area. That grew old very fast and I acquired a real dining room table.

See the conch shell on the table? Nyssa found that in the Caribbean.

Lets continue on...

We are still downstairs. The office is to the left and the front door is behind us.

We have gone up a flight of stairs. To the left is Nyssa's room and to the right is the boy's room.

Here is the master bedroom. We had to buy beds here and they arrived after 2 weeks in the villa. No more air mattresses!!

Here is Nyssa's room.

This is a cool room. It is a round shaped tv room that comes with a skylight. Do you see the sky light at the top?
The skylight is 10 foot around and shaped like a dome.

We had to buy a tv. Power is 220V and 50Hz, not 110V and 60 Hz in the states. Most US appliances will melt if plugged directly into the wall.

One more of the round room.

That's it. This is our new digs. Hope you will visit soon.