TimesToCome

Life on the third coast

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Dubai day 2

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I’ve not seen a single dog here. We did see one cat, actually we heard him from 3 alleys away. What a howl. He’s a long white orange spotted stray who was dumpster diving and singing his tale of woe.

Prayers are called even at 4 am. They sound like the Catholic priests doing their Latin sing song. Different language and religion but the feel is the same.

Police are scarce here, I’ve seen them but only rarely.

Today we hopped on the subway. It’s amazing, the stops are larger than some airports I’ve seen. It’s fully automated, no conductors, and cheap.

First we rode out to the new part of the city. It looks like something out of the Jettsons, every building more amazing than the one before it. Three buildings are being built for every one completed. Dubai is totally a city of the future. But that end of town is empty. The people haven’t moved in yet and often we were the only pedestrians in sight.

Then we rode back to the other end of Dubai. We got off at the most crowded stop and followed the crowd. First we ended up in an Indian immigrant area. Thousands and thousands of shops and people everywhere.

We stopped to eat at a Lebanese/Russian restaurant. The menu items all listed ‘meat’ not chicken, lamb or beef, just meat. I’ve no idea what I had for dinner but it was good.

I tried to get more photos but every time I slowed down a young Indian man would run up saying ‘genuine fake watches, genuine fake handbags, Rolex, Fendi, Prada. . . ‘ So we had to keep moving.

From the Indian area we wandered into old Dubai. Fabric stores every where, lots of shops to make custom suits, burkas and any other clothing you might desire.

Along twisting turning alleys we wandered. I started to notice more and more people were barefoot. I had led us into the back door of a mosque. We were able to back out with out getting dumped into Dubai Creek. ( This is why my sister and husband get nervous when I go wandering ;p )

The bong like things you see in the shop window are for smoking tobacco. Water is in the bottom, tobacco up top and hot coals are placed on the tobacco. All restaurants and bars keep several handy and you see many people smoking them at dinner.

One of the biggest sellers in all the areas we’ve been to are big fuzzy, fake fur blankets – like the kind you see in the states sold along side velvet Elvis’s. I haven’t figured that out – it’s about 95′F at night and 105′F in the day.

Every one here speaks English we’ve not found any one we couldn’t talk to. I’m still shocked so few spoke English in Tokyo. Cameras are very taboo. People glance at the camera as if I were carrying a weapon. So the photos are not as clear or targeted as I’d like.

Written by Linda MacPhee-Cobb

July 3rd, 2010 at 12:44 pm

Posted in Dubai Trip,Photos

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Dubai Day 1

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Today was my first day out and about in Dubai. Friday is like Sunday here so most everything was closed all morning. We made a pass through the local shopping mall, visited the world’s tallest building and went to the Old Golden Suk shopping district.

The shopping mall was mostly locals about 1/3 women 2/3 men. The Old Suk shopping district is Indian and Pakistani natives and about 95% men.

About 80% of the women wear burkas, about half of those with face covering. The other 20% of the women wear Indian or Western wear, even half of them cover their hair. Some of the burkas are very light weight some quite heavy. Almost all are black but many have designs on the front or sleeves. There are some brightly colored burkas usuallly worn by women who are African.

The men wear robes with tshirts and underpants or loose pants and a long shirt over them. About half of them cover their heads. The head covers are extremely thin fabric.

While traffic is light here, there is little pedestrian and bicycle traffic. There are buses, taxis everywhere and a train.

Juice is every where with little juice shops full of fruit that squeeze it fresh, coffee and tea shops are rare.

We stopped at an Indian place for dinner and I had a potato pancake with tomatoes and onions, it looked like a pizza.

Photography of people is frowned on here so it’s been tough getting pictures. The women all seem friendly and smile back. The men are mixed, they all stare, most will smile back, some just glare.

Prayers are called several times a day, praying is done in the Mosques not in public and most of the people ignore the calls.

Written by Linda MacPhee-Cobb

July 2nd, 2010 at 9:54 am

Posted in Dubai Trip,Photos

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Of mockingbirds and cats

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Fred being stalked, straifed and harassed by a mocking bird

Fred being stalked, strafed and harassed by a mocking bird

Fred being stalked, straifed and harassed by a mocking bird

Fred being stalked, strafed and harassed by a mocking bird

Divebomb

Divebomb

Written by Linda MacPhee-Cobb

May 26th, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Posted in Photos

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Houston’s Art Car Parade 2010 Photos

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Click the thumbnails for med/large photos

2009 Houston Art Car Parade Photos

More information:
Orange Show Houston Art Car Parade

Written by Linda MacPhee-Cobb

May 8th, 2010 at 4:00 pm

Tokyo parks and bazaars

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Today was much colder than yesterday but we wandered off to Ueno Park. Ueno park is surrounded by museums, a zoo and Tokyo University. At the far end is the Ameya yokocho bazaar.

The cousin had to return to base so it was just us today. We entered the subway and instead of people randomly waiting there were double lines queued for each train door. After every one who could possibly fit got on, the porter crammed a few more people onto the train. 9 am appears to be morning rush hour.

The husband left my side for just a moment in the park and just like back home I had a gentleman talking to me when he returned. ( some things transcend cultures ). We talked for about an hour. Interestingly they tossed out their gov’t 6 months ago and brought in a new group to make changes. No changes have been made so they’re tossing the bums back out. ( Just like home :D )

The bazaar was the most fun of all. Much like Haymarket Square in Boston there was lots of fresh food and vendors calling out to you to purchase their wares. But along with the fresh food were several clothing, jewelry and golf shops.

The husband took today’s photos, I’m traveling light today.

Written by Linda MacPhee-Cobb

February 10th, 2010 at 1:22 am

Posted in Photos,Tokyo Trip

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Tokyo and I think it’s day 7 but I’m not real sure about that

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Long day today, we started out with the Edo Museum, then hit the Ginza shopping area and wound up the day in the notorious Roppongi night club district.

This morning I threw out my back, too many days with out my waterbed. So far aspirin and yoga are keeping it under control but I dread the flight home. Did you know you can’t buy aspirin or any medicine in groceries or any store, only pharmacies where a pharmacist hands out your meds, no over the counter stuff here.

The Edo Museum starts with the beginnings of Edo and walks you up through time to present Day Tokyo. It was a great way to learn about the city. They had a traveling Ghengas Kahn exhibit visiting which was excellent as well.

The weather was very warm so we wandered over to the upscale shopping district. It’s one street by about 10 blocks long, Apple, Sony, Dept stores, jewelery stores, handbag stores and restaurants are there.

We visited the largest dept store, 2 floors underground, 5 floors up. The bottom floor had some of everything but all no-name brands. The first underground floor was all food, several pastry areas, bread and dinners to go. The street level had cosmetics and handbags. Second floor and third floors were womens clothing. Lots of wonderful skirts, long, in neutral colors and proper sizes for ladies.

The underwear was a surprise – all of it was foundation garments. The bras and underpants were serious heavy duty wear and girdles appear to be a common undergarment. The only saving grace was they wear stockings instead of panty hose.

Next came mens clothing with the usual suits and coats. But there were also racks of suit fabric so you can custom order your suit. The top floor was household items. The mens underwear all looked like the stuff middle aged men on ten speed bikes wear in the US, long heavy spandex to hold in your gut.

Dinner was easier tonight, we tried a Chinese restaurant. Here in the restaurants you don’t get napkins. Fancy restaurants give you warm, wet towels, low end restaurants give you nothing or very small, thin paper napkins.

Before I came here I thought only US Tech geeks ate sushi with chopsticks. But sushi shops are everywhere, and chopsticks are the main eating utensil.

Today I noticed that jewelery is sparse, very few people wear any. I think I saw a dozen wedding bands total, all on men and almost no jewelery on the women.

The Roppongi district has a notorious reputation but didn’t seem that bad, it is mostly restaurants and night clubs. There’s a large Jamaican population working the clubs. The Jamaican men hawk the clubs when you walk by and try to convince you to come to their club. There were a few ‘men’s bars’ but not many and no worse looking than you see anywhere else.

Notice on the photos the banner signs running up the buildings, retail and restaurants are on the first 5-7 floors of each building. The banners tell you what is on the floors above the street level shops.

I’ve begun tacking ‘hai’ on the end of all my sentences, which is what the locals do when they get what we are pantomiming.

Fire trucks not only have sirens, but speakers. The speaker keeps repeating ‘please move out of the way for the fire truck’. Seems the locals need more than a siren to pull over.

Written by Linda MacPhee-Cobb

February 9th, 2010 at 7:58 am

Posted in Photos,Tokyo Trip

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