Add to Technorati Favorites expat Abu Dhabi Dispatches: All Good Things Must Come to an End

Monday, June 14, 2010

All Good Things Must Come to an End

I arrived back in Abu Dhabi a few days ago after 3 weeks of annual leave in the U.S. This time I had severe jet-lag and it took a few days of uncontrollably nodding off at 11AM and not sleeping at night before I started to feel normal. Travel has its cruel side.

I had my first horrid "Workday after Vacation" yesterday and had some trouble remembering all my passwords while getting into the swing of things again. I felt like I was swimming through molasses for most of the day.

My Itinerary

I already covered New York, the parties in St. George and the general debauchery in Las Vegas in previous posts.

My next destination was to see Mom in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, the place I was brought into this world and spent most of my formative years, for better or for worse. FWB is a lovely resort on the hundred mile stretch of sugar-white beaches in Northwest Florida known as the Emerald Coast. Hand's down the very best beaches in Florida and maybe the world. It is also known as the "Redneck Riviera" for the hoards of visitors from the other Southeastern states that visit in the summer. The people are friendly and fun loving. World-class fishing, nightclubbing and golfing are favored activities. Cold beer is a breakfast food.
Fort Walton Beach,  Florida

Fort Walton Beach, Florida

Wayside Pier

Sugar Sands and Sea Oats

Massive Dunes look Like Snow at Night

No One was Hurt in the Filming of this Scene

Weathercock at AJ's Bar & Grill, Destin, Florida

The Land of the Free??

Unfortunately, these pristine beaches are helpless in the onslaught of the giant BP oil spill. Diarrhea colored masses of crude oil are spreading to this area from the west. You can't put toothpaste back in the tube and even if the well is capped tomorrow, there is enough of the stuff already in the Gulf to spoil this area for months to come. My sincere gratitude to the army of volunteer residents who are dedicated to defend the coastline and wildlife from harm. I wish them luck and regret I can't be there to help in the fight for our beautiful home area.

On a lighter note, I reconnected with some good friends. Brad, Kay, Jan and Mary, it was my pleasure and hope to see y'all again real soon.   

Then my mom and I drove up to see my brother and family in Huntsville, Alabama. Huntsville is the home of the Redstone Arsenal and is historic to the U.S. space efforts as Werner Von Braun and other German rocket scientist defectors (POWs?) established a research center here after WWII with the "urging" of the U.S. government. The city has strong NASA ties and is home to the Space Camp and is an international center for astral innovations and  global contractors. I am proud to say my brother, Rick is an actual Rocket Scientist.

Huntsville is hilly, green and an All-American city. 

Huntsville, Alabama

Huntsville, Alabama

So instead of exploring all this outer space history, what did my bro and I do? We went to a Little League baseball game and spent time drinking beer and playing his vintage pinball machine in the basement. Boys will be boys!

Nephew John at Baseball Game, They Won Big!

Pinball Machine

My Brother Kicked my Ass but he had Practice

I have to mention my niece, Holley and my other nephew Austin. A special thanks to my Sister-in-Law, Suzee who was a perfect hostess despite recovering from a painful shoulder surgery. She was a real trooper!

My mom and I had a nice drive back to Florida through the small towns and verdant scenery of the Southeast.

On the way back to Abu Dhabi from JFK, I scored big with a Business Class seat and slept most of the way which is always a blessing on a 14 hour flight.

Final Thoughts:
As much as I was happy to see my family, friends and country again, I was equally sad to leave them all. I guess that is how life balances out. Bittersweet.

I also have my profession, good friends and a different kind of what I consider a cool international life here in Abu Dhabi. I guess that is the best of both worlds but I regret not being able to be both places at the same time.


Neil Roberts said...

Fort Walton looks great. We had a great vacation a few years back further round the gulf, based in Bradenton. We covered St.Pete, Tampa (went to see the Devil Rays vs. Yankees - fantastic!), Clearwater, as well as the Orlando stuff for the kids (well that was my excuse!).

Very sad about the oil spill... hope the damage is minimised.

Anonymous said...

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Dave said...

Welcome back. I have also just returned from your homeland but did so via a seat near the back of an EK flight ex JFK.

(PS - Found your country fantastic and the people to be generally terrific...)

Chuck said...

Glad you made it back always sucks when vacations end, I'm afraid.

RoseH_Huls21365 said...


Ace said...

@Neil...I lived in the Tampa/St. Pete area for years, I miss that place. Tar balls are washing up on the NW Gulf coast now, but the folks there are ready for it.

@Dave...Ouch I hope it was not a middle seat! Long damn flight that needs lots of alcohol to endure.
How did you do in Vegas? Glad you enjoyed yourself, lot of diversity of landscape and people there. I am quite homesick since I have been back in the UAE.

@Chuck....yeah the vacation hangover.

Strange...I am suddenly in the mood for fortune cookies!

林奕廷 said...


Ace said...


Dave said...

Ace, luckily I had an aisle seat as I hoped for with a frail little thing seated next to me. As for Vegas.. it was not kind to me, but I quit before acquiring a second mortgage on the house...

Regarding the diversity of the USA, well I really noticed this - each state (and town) was different in some way to the previous, with noticeable changes in landscape, atmosphere and the people as well. But one thing was common amongst all, and that was the politeness and respect shown to us by people from all walks of life and in all different situations, including the vast majority of drivers. It was truly refreshing after being here for what I now consider as being 'too long'.

There was also a kinship & curiousity about Oz which I struck throughout the US, and this was normally based on my accent whilst ordering at a bar or restaurant.

After having travelled there I can certainly understand your home sickness.

Ace said...

Thanks for the kind words that maybe will help some folks separate the US people from our sometimes rogue government.

Those f##kers in DC don't seem to listen to us anymore and as a patriot, I ain't real happy about that!

Time for a second revolution perhaps. We are easy-going until pushed to far....then look out!

Anyway, even though you and I probably share some kind of kinship way back in the UK, our people were the outcasts and rabble of the Empire. We showed them!

Your accent does open many doors (and many legs) in the USA. I always wondered why that didn't work in reverse! Dammit!