Monday, September 28, 2009

Al Ain Zoo

Asalam Alaikum,

We finally got the chance to see the Al Ain Zoo, and it was a lot of fun.
Saad really loved seeing all the animals. The only bad thing was that we went rather late and they closed the area with the big cats at 6:00 so we didn't get to see most of the lions/tigers.
We saw these flamingos first-

Then Saad had a nice climb on the meercat exhibit-

The meercats were very cute!

African Painted Dogs-

Cheetahs-


Ostriches-

Wildebeest-

Checking out the giraffes with daddy-


Zebra-

This lion just would not sit still and was pacing back and forth.

This little guy has nothing on the ones that we saw on our honeymoon when we went to the Alligator Farm

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Janamaz...prayer rugs

Asalam Alaikum,
In our family every body has their own Janamaz, but we all usually just use whichever one is closest. When I went to Pakistan I got to pray on my Mother-in-laws Janamaz, it is very old, and has bare spots where you stand and also where you place your hands.


The Janamaz on the right is the one that my DH and I bought when we were first married. We bought it at the Arabic grocery where we lived in Florida and we have shared it for a long time.

The Janamaz on the left and the little one in the middle have a little story that started during the Hajj at the end of December 2006. I have two marriages, one from the state of Georgia which was on December 27th 2006. The second was on Eid ul-Adha which fell on December 30th. That year my Father and Mother-in-Law were Alhamdulillah able to go for Hajj, so when my DH called them to tell them that we got married they were in the middle of making their Hajj. Ammi(MIL) bought the Janamaz on the left side for me after the first phone call(DH hands me the phone and I speak almost no Urdu and Ammi spoke no English) , and also one little Janamaz to save for when we had our first child.

We found out about our baby in February and Ammi was so happy. Sadly she passed away not long after we found out so we never got to meet in person, but she had packed up all the things she had saved for us including these Janamaz. It gives me a really nice feeling to pray on this rug that Ammi picked for me, and the baby really likes his too.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Iftar Feasts

Asalam Alaikum,

These are some of the things that we generally ate during Ramadan for Iftar-
First Dates(and water) to break the fast-


Then some Rooh Afza juice-

If you have never had this stuff it is really good, and is easily available in most places I have been. In the states you can generally find it at any Pakistani/Indian/Arabic grocery, and here in Abu Dhabi I have seen it in most Co-ops, Emirates General markets and I think even in Carrefour and Lulu. It is sort of like Kool-aid but it tastes a bit like a flower smells(if that makes any sense). It is really delicious when it is served cold with a squeeze of lemon.

Then some fresh fruit, sliced and in a Fruit Chaat(spicy fruit salad)



We also had Chana Chaat. This chaat was made with black chickpeas, potatoes, onion, tomatoes, green chilies, tamarind juice, and Shan Chaat Masala(enough product plugs yet? really I should get paid for this!)


Sometimes we would also have Harees

Harees is so tasty, If I could eat it everyday, I would.

These are Samosa, basically a savory pastry with a potato stuffing. I made these myself and everyone likes them so much that there is never any leftovers!

Oman and Hatta

Asalam Alaikum,
This month we decided to go very early for our border run so we would have plenty of time to do fun things. It didn't work out as planned because the exit stamp was not correct and the Omani border guys told me I had to go all the way back and get another then come back.

By the time we had finished all that, it was getting late so we drove to Hatta, to try and find the Rock Pools. We didn't actually find them but we did see two other interesting things, first "Hill Park"-


This place was pretty cool, it is as its name suggests a park on a hill. It sits in the middle of this valley surrounded by mountains. At the top of the park they built a watchtower, and when you go up the view is amazing. Its like a watercolor painting where the mountains form different layers.





After we finished taking picture in the park, we went to see the Hatta Dam. It was getting late so most of the pictures didn't turn out well, everything was a bit blurry. This is the view from the top-

I was more than a little tired when we got to the top. We had to park the car at the bottom of the slope because it had made some weird noises on the way to the dam and we were concerned. I really like this one of the moon rising over the top of the dam.

And over the mountains


After the dam we went back to hill park and had a little Tikka BBQ. If you are ever in Hatta I really recommend this park, it has play equipment for the kids at the base and nice views, plus the little patios they had set up for grilling were cool too.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Mendi

Asalam Alaikum,

I really like Mendi, it has the fun of a tattoo but it only lasts at the most a couple weeks. Here is a very simple mendi design that one of my SIL made for me on the Eid-




When in Pakistan for my Sister-in-Laws Nikah(wedding) every woman in the family had mendi. The Bride herself had mendi that went past her elbows and also covered her feet(even the sole was covered in a checkerboard pattern. Her mendi lasted for about a month, and everyone else had mendi that only lasted a week. The type of mendi used can really affect the length of time before it wears off, with the more expensive mendi lasting for a very long time. If you ever have the opportunity, it is something really fun, and if you end up not liking it it will eventually come off!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Strange to my eyes

Asalam Alaikum,

Until I went to Pakistan I have never seen cooking oil packed like this-

Let me tell you from personal experience that you should be very careful when opening.

Back home they charge a lot of money for those little tiny spice jars of cinnamon sticks. Here you get the whole tree for the same price!

Nothing Cuter...

Asalam Alaikum,

...than a baby in a box!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Wips and FOs

Asalam Alaikum,

Here is my Tasha from Knitty


Here is a simple crochet beanie for the baby. I actually made three(one for DS and one each for the nephews) but they all look pretty much the same.


Here is the stranded Topi. It did not turn out as expected, so I will probably go back and try again on this one.


Here is the Modified "Baby Sweater on Two Needles" from Knitter's Almanac

I made two of these, but gave one away before taking a picture. The first one was with the gull wing pattern, (it was short sleeved also) in a variegated purple/pink that I had left over from my second BSJ(see this post, on the left side of the second picture). The one above I left out the gull wing and just did a plain stockinette body with a simple 4 stitch cable on either side of the button band.

When we came back from Pakistan my SIL and here new DH came to visit Abu Dhabi for a short honeymoon, and we all went to Jebel Hafeet(AGAIN, its like there is nowhere else of interest for us in the whole country). So here is my favorite picture from that trip.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Bole Churiyan...The Bangles Speaks

Asalam Alaikum,

One thing that was really fun in Pakistan was shopping for Bangles. When we went to the market there were many shops for bangles. They were typically small shops, very long and narrow, with the entire wall behind the counter covered in racks and racks of colorful glass bangles. It looked a little like this-
Picture from here.

You can buy plains sets of bangles that are already packaged but for some suits you bring the Dupatta(scarf) of the suit you are buying the bangles for because the shopkeeper will ask if you need "matching". He will take your Dupatta and in about 5 minutes he will show you something that looks a bit like this-



Some sets are very fancy for important functions(Wedding/Receptions, Etc.) and are encrusted with rhinestones, beads and glitter. Some sets are plain for daily use.

Something fun to do if you ever visit Pakistan!

Here is the title reference. It is a song from on of my favorite Indian movies, "Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham" And This is the same song but with English subtitles.