Sunday, 12 September 2010

One balmy evening in Al Ain

I never say no to an invitation, except maybe if it's a same day one because you can say no to those according to Mary-Anne's mum. This has mostly worked out well for me and tonight was no exception. Rotana gym members were invited to a pool cocktail party, how could I refuse.

It was lovely to talk to people who I've seen at the gym but not really said more than hello to. I like a bit of a chat and got that in spades tonight, first with a South African couple one of whom works at a local university and then with Deborah and Ross. They are keen to explore mountain biking here so we're going to keep in touch. It would be really great to have some friends to go out riding with, so far there's only two of us and now there may be four. A respectable number.

There's plenty of riding in the Omani hills, it's just a little hot at the moment. It was actually quite warm sitting chatting by the pool, very humid. Walking home in my new heels may have been a bit ambitious but the people watching made it worthwhile. Al Ain comes alive in the evening hours, the parks are full of people picnicing and enjoying each other's company while their children enjoy being able to play outside. It's far too hot to do that during the day time.

It's been a good today, I got some time by the pool with Rau plus I managed to get some of the photos I needed. The late afternoon light is lovely here, much easier to manage than the morning light. I haven't processed any to include here, tomorrows job. The two I have included are from an earlier expedition. I also got to wrestle with a shoe rack courtesy of Ikea.

We visited Ikea when we were in Abu Dhabi. I needed a rack for my shoes, they're getting out of hand and I did add two more pairs yesterday. Shopping in Ikea is like being a rat in cage, I had the Smashing Pumpkins Rat in a Cage running around in my head. I suspect it might have got out at one stage because people were looking at me a bit oddly. I mostly shop like a man, know what I want, get in and out as quickly as possible with just the thing I went in for. Not easy in Ikea but I did also need some more pot plants. The last lot didn't make it.

For those who have never had the pleasure, in Ikea the things we need/want are on display then we have to find them in another form somewhere else in the shop by remembering the isle numbers, codes that made little sense to me. I found the model of what I wanted then spent the next 30 minutes trapped like a rat in a cage following arrows. I'm not good at following anything, including instructions, so I ended up going against the arrows hoping to put an end to the torture that is Ikea with all it's tempting baubles.

At last, with help from my support crew who were just ahead of me, always just ahead of me, I found the pack with the rack. Or maybe they knew I wasn't crazy about being in Ikea and stayed ahead of me so that they could enjoy their shopping. The shoe rack came in a pack that bore no resemblance to the shoe rack I'd spotted. The box seemed to be bigger than it needed to be and flat. Are you sure this is it, yes madam I am sure the shop assistant tells me with the sigh of a man who'd heard this story many, many times.

I got the rack home, unpacked the box and looked in wonder at all the pieces it took to make this essential item. There were rods and ends and screws, wait a minute. Do I need a phillips head screw driver? Yes it appeared I did. I also needed four or more arms to get the poles into the holes, the holes top and bottom had to line up and then the ends had to be screwed on. Ever resourceful, I used a kitchen knife and some tricky yoga poses to get it all put together. I did wonder, as I surveyed my shoes sitting proudly on the rack, if it all came with instructions. Who needs them anyway.

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