The flag of the U.A.E. is red for bravery, green for prosperity, white for peace and black, the most beloved color, because it represent oil. Oil took a small fishing village where pearls where the hot commodity, to untold riches. Abu Dhabi has spectacular architecture that rivals Singapore and Shanghai and surpasses our hometown of Chicago. It is immaculate with not a single plastic bag fluttering in a tree. There are no homeless people. There is very little crime because cameras are everywhere and punishment is swift and severe. Jobs are aplenty with ongoing construction and landscaping throughout the city. It's beaches are gorgeous and stretch for miles along a beautiful corniche. This is a peaceful, orderly city that reflects the power and wealth of the King and the royal family.
We had a city tour last night and covered much of the same ground today on a “hop on-hop off” bus. We fidgeted driving around, our minds drifitng to another place...preparing for our journey home. We are packing....as always, with bittersweet feelings.
Turkey, Greece, Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Oman and United Arab Emerites...seven countries, 10 ports of call, 24 days and 17 portraits drawn. I am certain I exhausted the internet using close to 8,000 minutes writing a newsletter for a civic group at home....how did I have time to vacation?!?!
Easily, the highlight of this voyage was our day in Jerusalem. In the best possible sense, it was overwhelming and inspiring. The memory of standing at the Western Wall will be with me forever.
Regent did a stellar job of “delivering,” in every possible way. We always felt safe, well-fed, entertained and cared for by lovely people who gave us impeccable service. It's been a joy to return to this ship.
When we first sailed in 2004, a car brought us to the pier in Copenhagen for a one week cruise to the Baltic. We stepped out of the vehicle and we were greeted by a sweet young woman, a stewardess, wearing white gloves. She assisted me by taking my small bag to carry up the gangway. She asked if this was our first voyage and we said “yes.” Beaming, she replied, “Welcome to paradise.”
Her voice still echoes in my ear every time I come home to this ship...I am in paradise.
|Largest mosque in U.A.E. I wasn't allowed in because my arms were exposed through the thin fabric of my blouse.|
|The King and his family live here...the palace stretches beyond the frame of this photo|