Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Watching the sunrise, at last!

Whilst I was away, one of the best things I experienced was an over night trip into the desert. Luckily, as I was staying with Samantha, I was able to go along as a chaperone with the NYU Abu Dhabi trip (another perk from my role at NYU!)

We left friday evening and came back Saturday morning; so it wasn't an extended trip. But it was well worth it. I had a go at sand boarding (I'm completely rubbish and gave up after one attempt), went dune bashing in a 4x4 (sooo much fun!) and had my second ever time making smores (still prefer a regular toasted mashmallow).

The greatest thing about this trip? the sunrise! I've been chasing the elusive sunrise for a while now. I once attempted this in Switzerland, then again in Bali and have been considering trying to catch one on Primrose Hill in London. The only problem is that from past experience, I've never actually managed to see a really good, clear, beautiful sunrise. And who wants to chance waking up at such a god-awful time, only to be disappointed?!

But in the desert? It was Amazing! I woke up as early as I could - just after the morning call to prayer - and made my way to the top of the nearby sand dune (a few of the others had slept up here but I was glad I didn't as it was uncomfortable and windy! Once at the top, I had to wait quite a while. But eventually the sun began to appear on the horizon.

Something I did learn from watching this sunrise, is that the sky gets bright a little while before the sun actually rises. Initially I thought I had again missed my chance at watching a clear, spectacular sunrise. But I just needed to wait. Below are a few of the photos and a video I took whilst up at the top of the dune.

The other pictures here are from the second best thing about this trip. As we were away with the students, the astronomy club had accompanied us, and in the evening we got a very clear and crisp view of the moon - and who knew you could take a photo through a telescope! I also got to see Jupiter and 4 of her moons! This was actually very small, even with the telescope, so I didn't take a photo. But believe me it was pretty incredible to see.

That long line was an aeroplane, and the cluster in the middle was something significant that I don't remember the name of! :-/

The glow just before the sun rises

Those dots were birds
For some reason, blogger has messed with the quality of this photo, but looking past the grainy image this was my first glimpse of the sun.

Friday, 1 November 2013

My next adventure

Living in Korea, I often felt I was living in the future; such a technologically advanced nation where electronic devices were incredibly hi-tech and widely available. My brother and sister-in-law recently bought an i-robot cleaning gadget. It seemed so out of place to see that in the UK, I'd only ever seen them in Korean electronics stores whizzing around the display showrooms. To me they seemed so futuristic! The kind of thing I'd have seen on the Jetsons when I was young.

Tomorrow I'm heading off to Amsterdam to visit Chelsea, a fellow teacher I met in Korea. From there, on Monday I'm off to Abu Dhabi. 

Looking through photos of my next new destination I'm struck by how much more ultra modern it looks. Whilst Korea was so technologically advanced, Abu Dhabi's modernistic architecture really makes it stand out as a hub of modern design. It really looks like a city of the future. How we mortals might view the world in 100 years from now. Except, it's 2013 and I'm going to be walking amid these modern giants in a few days.

I'm really excited to be heading to a new area of the world, the middle east. A place that's fascinating and incredibly far removed, architecturally, socially and culturally than anywhere I've visited previously. Travelling is such an education, and I can't wait for everything I'm sure to learn from this next trip!

Photos from