Firstly, Jack Gantos had a great time there. Secondly, while much of my favorite travels have happened in the Middle East, I'd yet to set foot on the Arabian Peninsula. Thirdly, I wanted to go sledding (and this winter Mass. is no place for that). Fourthly, I could bring the family. Fifthly, it was the dead of winter (I've been in the Sahara desert in the middle of summer--not so fun).
The place was a surreal mix of old and very new, spiritual and materialistic, recognizable and completely weird... The perfect eccentric mix for me. Add to that lovely hosts, insanely enthusiastic kids (they dressed up as my characters, made Amanda & Her Alligator Thinking Caps, wore word bubbles, & had great questions) and you've got one strangely awesome trip.
My days were a crazy mix of kids and tourism.
I'm still jet-lagged, so hopefully this small photo-slice will give a the feel for the place.
(click to enlarge images)
|The high-school kids made these amazing wooden cut-outs of Elephant, Piggie, & Pigeon.|
|Alcohol is only sold in specific shops to licensed buyers. Similarly, any and all pork products in the supermarket are sold in specific pork-only rooms. Which leads to some disturbing discoveries in terms of pork-content.|
|Wear a word bubble day was cool!|
|A boat-bus to cross the creek in the traditional old town. The old town creek area was lovely, filled with souks populated by Indians, Filipinos, Iranians, Afghanistanies, Arabs, and Europeans. Great spices to be had.|
|Story time with the young ones.|
|The traditional architecture helps capture the wind to cool down the hot days. Sometimes, it also looks like a great cartoon face.|
|The older kids saw my rough drawings & worked on animation exercises.|
|I have always loved the desert|
|What a great thinking cap!|
|Pigeon in Arabic.|
|More adorable scamps. Note the huge eyes.|
|Zowie! What a week.|