Less than 72 hours. That’s all the time we had in Dubai. Not nearly enough time for our first visit to the Middle East. We were headed to Maldives for the December holiday but we wanted to break up the long flight so we took an extra day and night in the beginning and end of our vacation to rest and do a little bit of exploring in Dubai.
Dubai is a fascinating place with massive construction and build out during the last 20 years, with much if it taking place over the last 10 years or so. The enormous airport, the largest mall, the tallest building, all the hotels and offices. All new. The scale is hard to grok for a first time visitor.
Since our time was limited we could explore a few things. So we chose the spice market in the city and a trip to the desert about an hour or so outside the city. Both are bit on the touristy side of things but it still felt a million miles away from home.
The spice market was a packed with vendors with various foods and spices from the region. We brought back some saffron,pistachio nuts and local candies.
We really enjoyed the desert exploration. We rented buggies and went off roading. We road camels to dinner. The desert was so beautiful especially as golden hour approached. The colors so soft and warm.
Our daughter Ellie wanted to add a different experience to her high school life. She discovered a school is the Eleuthera, Bahamas called The Island School. The Island School offers high school juniors a special experience studying abroad.
Each day Island School students get up at 6am and either run or swim before breakfast. It’s training for a portion of their final exam which includes a half marathon or 4 mile open ocean swim.
After breakfast they attend their studies for a full day of classes that are immersive and experiential. They conduct in depth research with the local environment and community. They study biology in the ocean, learn history in the local townships and math outside.
Towards the end of the semester, students go on an eight day kayak expedition which includes two days of solitude. Just you, by yourself, with a journal, a tarp, food and water.
A few weeks ago, Lauren and I spent three days with Ellie, her classmates & their families and teachers for Parent Weekend in Eleuthera. We were blown away at the experience these kids are getting. We woke up at 6am every morning, did the morning run, jumped off High Rock together, ate together and laughed together. The founder Chris Maxey is an inspiration — and the staff and teachers are so committed. We also got a day off so the three of us could enjoy our time together and explore the island as a family. It was wonderful.
Ellie’s semester is coming to an end and she comes home next week. She will have been away for 100 days. We have missed her more than anything. She should be so proud of her experience and accomplishments.
I sure am.
(All photographs taken on a Leica M3 and Hasselblad 503cw on Kodak film. Developed and scanned by Richard Photo Lab in California).
Earlier this month we spent four days in Eleuthera. The island is quite long, over 110 miles long. While I’m told the northern part is developed, we headed south. The southern portion of the the island is thoroughly remote. The nearest market or restaurant is about a 40 minute drive or so. We didn’t see any a single souvenir shops. Our rental car was provided by a resident, a gentleman named Robert. We paid in cash. Folks that grew up and live here will tell you that at one time this was a bustling island. But that has changed. All of that tourism has since moved to Nassau. Life on Eleuthera is quiet and remote.
But the thing that struck me the most was the kindness from everyone we met. Lauren compared it to going to our first trip to Ireland and talking with the locals. All the stories, life challenges, rich history and island beauty. Although we got a lot more hugs in Eleuthera than pints in Ireland 🙂
We were quite taken with this place. And have already made plans to visit again.
(All photographs made with a Hasselblad 503cw and Kodak film. Developed and scanned at Richard Photo Lab).
(part II here)
After our week in Italy, we drove 3 hours to Rome and flew to Greece.
Lauren spent some time in Greece during college, but it was my first visit to the country. Aside from our booked hotels, we didn’t really have much of a plan once we arrived. Each day we kind of figured it out. My friend Fred suggested we spend a day on a boat. We took that advice and it was a fantastic recommendation. So much fun.
Our time in Greece just flew by. I’m glad I visited those two islands. They are so beautiful and the people are absolutely lovely.