So yesterday Scott and I slept in until 1:00 in the afternoon – we needed it! After 24 hours of traveling and barely any sleep it felt good. We woke up to this outside our window:

View of downtown from our room

The building on the right is the Nation Towers and the building to the left is still being built. There is a lot of construction going on here!

We were feeling pretty sleepy and not too adventurous so we decided to just lay low and explore the hotel. It’s really nice – we checked out the lobby and then went down to the harbor and the beach! So even though we didn’t go anywhere we still got some sun and took a dip in the warm Arabian gulf waters:

View of our hotel from the harbor. The heat is really something like I have never experienced. We weren’t that hot but the short walk to take this picture left us drenched in sweat. Thankfully everything inside is air conditioned!

Our hotel lobby

The view of the Jumeirah Etihad Towers on our walk to the beach

Because we are on a private hotel beach (as opposed to a public beach) it is no problem for us to be in our swimsuits – so we went swimming!!

The first time I touched the Arabian Gulf! The water is magnificent – its the color of Jade and super clear!

Our first Arabian Sunset

So after our swim we decided to splurge and eat at the Belgian Cafe – one of the many restaurants located in the hotel. It seemed perfect. And, because we are here with the ADEC (Abu Dhabi Education Council) we get 35% off at all the restaurants. And of course they served my favorite – Belgian Beer!

Our dinner rolls came in a bread bag!

And now – for the first major blunder of this wonderful adventure . . .

my dinner

I hope, those of your who know what this is, that you are laughing right now. If you don’t know what it is (as I didn’t) it is steak Tartare. All the menu said was Steak Tartare with salad and fries. I thought, yeah, that sounds good! Well, little did I know that Steak Tartare is raw, yes RAW beef! And if you know me I like my steak WELL DONE! I didn’t know what to do. Raw food in a foreign country seems like a big no no. But it is a fancy restaurant in a 5 star hotel so I decided to try it out. I noticed that it came with, what looked like, as kind of sauce – maybe a mustard. So i took a piece and dipped it into the “sauce” and, come to find out, my “sauce” is really a raw egg. Who does that? A raw egg with my raw meat – are you kidding?! I just couldn’t stop laughing!! It was actually really good once I got over the fact that it was raw. It was highly seasoned and served with pearl onions and dill pickles and other spices. I left the raw egg alone though. When we got back to the hotel room I was still laughing – I kept thinking, here I am, in the middle east – the heat won’t kill me, the Arabian food won’t kill me, and no terrorist will kill me – but eating raw meat at a Belgium cafe in a 5 star hotel just might!!! So far no problems, no upset stomach, nothing. I only ate half of it just in case. But enough about my disastrous dinner – it is now 8:30am on August 11th and we are headed down to our complimentary buffet breakfast – and I’m really hoping that there is no tartare – and if there is I will certainly know what it is – and let this be a lesson for all you who are reading as well!! So for now: Sabah El Kheer (good morning). I can’t wait to share more adventures with you all later!