Another packed weekend in Al Safa. On Thursday night Dad, J and I went to the tennis stadium to watch the first rounds of the Dubai World darts tournament. Plenty of razzamataz and crowd participation with lots of cheering and music to accompany the players to the oche. We actcually saw some very good darts being played despite the breeze (apparantly this was one of the first tournaments to be played outside) with all the top players in town to compete for the US$50,000 first prize. The crowd grew increasingly raucous as the evening progressed (a quite lot were in fancy dress) with mexican waves and general merriment. Phil "the Power" Taylor was (much to his disgruntlement) knoced out in the first round) but it was very good fun and I also ran into oene of my cleints.
It was the last day of Church School on Friday so we had a half a proper lesson and then a 'boys v girls' quiz on some of the things that had been covered during the year. The acoustics in the classrooms are very poor - every scrape and banging of desks is accentuated so by the time we came to the denouement of the quiz it sounded as if there was a riot going on. The boys won fairly convincngly although there were some questions raised regarding the marking system used for some of the boys' papers!
It has been an interesting year teaching the class - having not done this kind of thing before it is difficult to know whether this was an especially lively class or whether teaching 9/10 year olds is always like this! Certainly having help with the crowd control from E. and J was absolutely critical and during the occasional lesson when I was left to my own devices, keeping everyone on track was pretty demanding.
For Friday lunch we went to Galleries Lafayete in Dubai Mall. The food Court their is very good with CHinese, Italian, general buffet and Spanish - I particulaly like the tapas (Gambas al Ajicco is recommended) and there is a play area which is done up like a little French village which the kids really enjoyed (although at AED80 a go they needed to!).
The afternoon revolved around BBQ preparations and swimming - still a reasonably cooling breeze but in the direct sun it is hot - and the water was fairly warm. I decided to be a little more adventurous with the food for the BBQ and so did a couple of tuna steaks with a soy/sugar marinade and broke the bank with a couple of lobster tails for which V. and I prepared a lemon/olive oil/garlic marinade - I found a recipe on an Australian food website which also had an accompanying video which was very helpful in terms of cooking the lobster tails (slit the shell lengthwise and cook on the soft side for 6 minutes and then shell side for 6 minutes on a high heat). It worked a treat (at AED190 per kilo, it needed to....).
We also spent a good deal of the afternoon on the telephone to various lawyers and estate agents trying to push through E's parents house sale. What a carry on! After several days of being assured everything would be done before the deadline for exchange on Friday there was a day of increasingly tense discussions with the various interested parties (developer, lawyers, estate agent etc.) before everything finally clicked into place just in time. It certainly made the BBQ more celebratory and the lobster tails in particular were delicious.
Saturday started as usual with the football and cricket at Safa Park. The kids enjoyed their cricket with V. captaining the winning team and A. bowling the other sides last man with 2 more runs to win (and taking a spectacular catch) so they were happy. Although there was still a little breeze it was much hotter than last week so footy was hard work - although I did manage to score this week (and Dad happened to be watching which was nice - I am not sure he could quite believe it!).
After a quick shower we then drove to Deira to meet some friends for a Dim Sum lunch. We do not go across the creek very often and part of the reason is the traffic - the Al Shingaha tunnel was chaotic and we were nearly 25 minutes late (it did not help that the directions to the hotel were fairly "high level" and it transpired that there were around 5 other hotels on the route that shared the same name). We did everntually find it and had a very enjoyable afternoon with K, J, and their kids as well as D. The food was OK - the dim sum lacked a bit of varety but the buffet was fine and the total cost was around AED70 each for the 11 of us.
Last night was spent at the Al Manzil Hotel watching the Heineken Cup (Leicester beating Northhampton) and the Eurpoean rugby final between Ulster and Leinster (Leinster winning). Both were good games and we also saw some of the England -v New Zealand cricket with Joe Root scoring his maiden test century at his home ground in Headingly.
This morning was an early start as we all went to the kids school to see A. get his Congratulations award for his work during science week - he prepared an experiment on paper aeroplanes to see whether the size of the paper made any difference to the distance they travelled - it doesn't - it is all about aerodynamics) and it was nice to see how pleased he was to get an award in front of his parents and Grandfather.