Add to Technorati Favorites expat Abu Dhabi Dispatches: Annual Leave 2011 Part 1

Friday, July 1, 2011

Annual Leave 2011 Part 1

On the 29th I returned to Abu Dhabi after over 3 weeks in the US. I had a good time and the trip was very productive for a change as I got a lot of business done as well as having some fun along the way. As always, it was great to see friends and family. It was almost like I never left as everyone looked and behaved the same. That was comforting as I need that consistency in my life. Some folks were undergoing changes because of some personal and/or financial reasons but overall things had not changed much.

The places I visited are on this link to Google Maps.
I arrived in New York, New York (the city so nice, they named it twice!) on the 9th and checked into a hotel room near the airport as it was too late to continue out West that night. I turned on the television and was shocked at the amount of advertisements! Ten minutes of content are interrupted by five minutes of commercials for medicines and food. I wondered if this was all people were interested in. One channel had what I consider one of the evils in the USA, the evangelistic, pseudo Christian "snake oil" preachers that sell false hope to people who are experiencing hard times.

Watch Your Wallet!

"Miracle" Spring Water

Wish it Was This Easy!
Anyway, this was entertaining for awhile thinking the Deity could erase my debts just by dripping some water on my noggin. May be worth a try! If it worked, I guarantee I would have a much happier expression on my face than the woman above.

New York was experiencing a record heat wave when I was there. It was 98 degrees F, the hottest since 1933. I was dripping sweat the whole time. I fared better than most as I am acclimated to the harsh UAE climate.

Ther next day I boarded a Delta Airlines flight to Salt Lake City and ultimately to St. George, Utah. The flights went uneventfully except the young lady sitting next to me slept on her tray table most of the way. When the tray tables were ordered up on descent, she slept against the seatback movie screen and I suggested to her friend that we secure a pillow in case of a rough landing so she won't bruise her rather attractive face. Must have been a long previous night!

I arrived in St. George and stayed at a friend's house. I was delighted that his two dogs remembered me and were happy to see me. For the next few days they were my constant companions.

Rayo the Boxer Dog

Bailey the Golden Retriever

Rayo and Bailey Clowning Around

Dogs have no sense of time. I could go outside for 3 minutes but when I came back in it was like I had been gone for ages and they would jump all over me like I was never coming back. I miss my furry buddies!

I flew back up to Salt Lake City to meet another friend and we went to Wendover, Nevada for some gambling and debauchery at the casinos there. Wendover is about 110 miles due west from Salt Lake City. It is where all the Mormons go to be naughty. Border towns in Nevada offer a stark contrast to the straight-laced Utah residents.

The way to Wendover is an arrow-straight interstate highway through some of the most unique lands in the world. It passes through the Bonneville Salt Flats which are well known for land speed record attempts. Every winter it rains and melts the natural salt. In the summer, the water evaporates and leaves a perfectly flat bed of bright white salt which covers hundreds of square miles.Good for racing!

Train on the Original "Gold Spike" Route
Bonneville Salt Flats
Bonneville Salt Flats
Strange Sculpture in the Desert
The ride to Wendover was fun. In addition to the above sights, I saw a weird airship hovering north of the motorway. It looked like a stationary radar blimp but no tethering lines were visible. I am not saying this craft is anything out of the ordinary but it is rumored that since Area 51 north of  Las Vegas got so much publicity, the government moved a lot of clandestine activities to the Dugway Proving Grounds in northwest Utah near where we were driving. As far as I know, the US military has not flown blimps since the 1930's. There are many restricted areas there and it is very remote.

WTF is This?
We got to Wendover successfully without being abducted and probed by Martians. I spent three days there in the Nugget and lost 2 weeks pay. I had fun anyway playing craps and blackjack. Wendover is  home to some very strange people due to the isolation and proliferation of drugs.There is nothing there but gambling.,alcohol and crystal meth which attracts the fringe.

The Nugget
Wendover Casino
Wendover Casino
I flew back to St. George after the junket and had to take care of some business there. I had to get the laptop repaired, new tires on the car, a visit to the bank, a haircut and meeting up with friends, not necessarily in that order.

Back to St. George, Great Salt Lake Below
Snow Still on the Wasatch Mountains
Part 2 will be my journey to Las Vegas and Florida. Much to tell there.


Neil Roberts said...

Welcome back buddy! Looks like you had a great time - I can't wait to get home in August - only 10 days for me though :-(

Ace said...

I did have a good time there and I am suffering from the "Homesick Hangover" that I think we all get in the first few days we are back here after leave.

The Taxman says I can only be on US soil for 30 days per year so I can only go once for efficiency's sake. The days go fast and the years go slow!

Y'all have fun!

Anna-Lou said...

Happy to see you're blogging again !!

Chuck said...

Hey Ace - what, no Texas? :) I know how vacation days can slip away though, and I'm glad you had a good visit.