“So you’ve been here over a week?” the various people at the expat breakfast gathering ask me. Well, yes, I guess so.
A week? Already? my mind asks.
It also responds, Has it only been a week?
Having arrived on the 22nd, it’s one of those feelings where you feel like you’ve been somewhere for three years and yet only three hours. I’m glad we arrived when we did, because a week and a bit has given us the luxury of getting to know the culture, identifying our neighborhood, and settling in.
Since my last entry, lots has happened, but by far the best thing has been getting a membership with The Palms beach Club and Spa. I initially heard about this from my friend Nicole, who encouraged me to look into it when I was in Kuwait because a lot of expats gather there and it’s somewhere teachers hang out on Fridays (the Kuwait version of Saturday). Yesterday we went to an expat breakfast and it was great. We met tons of Canadians and the food was very western. Omelettes, pancakes, french toast, waffles, has browns, a cheese platter, tons of fruit, and lots of juices. It was a great start to the weekend!
The Palms is pretty amazing. It’s big and has a selection of classes to attend: Pilates, Zumba, Yoga, etc. It has a ladies’ section with an AMAZING view (see below) that helps inspire one to obtain that sought-after bikini body. The downside is the incredibly expensive membership fee (squeeze eyes closed and punch in that PIN really fast. It’s like ripping off a Band-Aid) and the sub-par equipment in the Ladies’ section. The lounge chairs don’t adjust very well (they look like maybe they would have been top dollar in the 80s somewhere) and there are kids EVERYWHERE. It’s a very nice place, but it’s like that slightly dated all-inclusive resort you go to, where you know you paid a little too much for a little too little, so you have to amp up the good parts of it whenever you go. I’ll be telling myself how awesome it is the whole time I’m under the sun-bleached umbrellas and getting ignored by the poolside staff. In saying that, I really like it, and it’s one of the best places to go, so say the veteran expats. It’s certainly the most luxurious gym I’ve ever been to!
So…yeah. Pretty impressive. It was definitely good motivation. I wanted to get in that pool so bad, but not before a workout.
In addition to the incredible view while working out, there are three pools, and for whatever reason, a hot tub. The pool water itself is reminiscent of water that cools down when you’re in the bathtub for awhile, hovering somewhere hotter than lukewarm, but not actually heated anymore. In any case, it’s WARM pool water, and I felt the hot tub water to compare. The conclusion is that anyone who needs to enter a hot tub in the Middle East is officially NUTS.
I was sort of romanticizing the place though, because I thought that the people who would be using the Palms would be mostly expats. The opposite was true of our first day (I shouldn’t jump to conclusions….maybe it sort of increases on other days), when we saw a few expats, but nothing crazy. We were still the minority, and despite my currently pathetic tans and post-workout sweatiness, there were still constant calls of “Hey lady” “Hello” ‘I like girls” while I tried to swim. One area of the pool was so saturated with men just gazing at the female potential in their vicinity that it was actually impossible to do more than tread water. I admit my treading is pretty elegant; I love the water and I’m an excellent swimmer. Still, I wouldn’t think that bobbing around like a moron in the middle of the pool would have attracted so much attention. My hair was plastered to my head in a sweaty ponytail, and I was wearing a three year old swimsuit. No matter. At the Palms on Friday, it was indeed ‘raining’ men.
This slight mishap could have been okay if the expensive poolside meal we chose to indulge in had been a bit better. In their rush to serve the throngs of hungry families that were vacationing, the kitchen succeeded in delivering a lukewarm sandwich and sickly fries. On the other hand, the hummus was amazing, and our second dip in the pool was liberated from the catcalls. Success!
Later on, we were supposed to go to a party, but I had a headache…the first of its kind overseas. This made waiting for our taxi driver (who spent the drive back justifying his lateness with every excuse in the book: “there’s traffic” “you need to call earlier” “blah blah blah”) exponentially more annoying. The taxi drivers in this city are a disaster. Despite having a large expat base, their English is poor, and the past three drivers we’ve had cannot find our apartment despite crystal clear directions. I was slightly irritated, but I was furious when I got home and found out my internet wasn’t working, an unfortunate incident because I wanted to talk to my family and the family friends who are taking care of Noel for me (who isn’t doing very well, sadly). Incensed by the cruelty of the universe, I cursed creatively while I tried everything: shutting the Macbook off, restarting it, plugging the Ethernet cord in, taking it out: repeat process. It finally started working again today, but I might not have the luxury of seeing my little Noellion now, and that bothers me.
Today is a lounge-y day. I tidied my room, and will probably indulge in some reading in bed because like a good girl, I cleaned the day before yesterday.
Tomorrow we get to see our classrooms, which is super exciting, because I want to decorate. It’s an exciting time for teachers, so today being slightly low-key after a busy expat breakfast yesterday is just fine with me. I suspect a Subway dinner (yes, they have it here) and some Netflix is in order tonight. 🙂
Goodnight my fair Canadians! I miss you, I love you.