Monday, September 28, 2009

a taste of Dubai

Remember this? the camel milk?  I tried it last night- it wasn't so bad.  
I tasted plain and date flavored.
I didn't try the saffron or strawberry.  
there. I did it.

It was all part of a "Best of Dubai" evening I planned for the women at church
(it's my "job" to plan the women's activities)
I think everyone had a good time. 
I learned a lot, tasted a lot, and had a good time myself.
It renewed my excitement to continue exploring all there is to do and see here in Dubai (and not grumble about the heat- it will be gorgeous soon enough)
(I also broadened my horizons on the authentic Arabic food front.)

last night we:
  • Gathered in our Relief Society room in the church villa that we transformed to look and feel like the inside of an arabian tent. Arabic seating (big floor cushions and pillows) around the perimeter, tent-like fabric draping the ceiling (thanks to help from my wonderful husband), lanterns, camel blankets, pictures, and greenery. Plus, lots of rustic silver and brass serving platters filled with food.  Food is decor right?
  • Learned from an Emirati friend named Fouzia who talked to us about her life, traditions, culture and anything else she deemed appropriate or we wanted to know.  She was great!  It's fun to discover the common threads in our lives.  Last night the common thread seemed to be the theme of modesty as a sign of respect for each other as well as respect for ourselves.  Fouzia also brought a few extra abayas for us to try on.  I wore one for a while (didn't get a photo- darn). I love how all the Emirati women personalize their black robes through decorative hemlines, buttons, jewels, embroidery and different ways of draping the fabric. It really is pretty. 
  • Painted henna on hands.
  • Enjoyed some traditional mezzas (appetizers) of hummus, taboula, fatoosh, zaatar bread, cheese bread (my favorite) and a few other local favorites.
  • Shared lists of input I gathered of favorite things to eat, do and see in and around Dubai.
  • Listened to stories and experiences from many in the room who took a trip together to Salalah, Oman.  you know? Where Nephi built his boat. The history of this part of the world- wow! I began planning our own trip there.  I'll let you know if it really is a land of milk and honey. 
  • Sampled a variety of arabic sweets- I prefer to satisfy my sweet tooth with a good old American chocolate chip cookie, but I had fun tasting- AND- that's when I bit the bullet and tasted the camel milk.  I will say I did enjoy a popular dessert of dates dipped in tahina.  It's something I'll have to take home to share.
  • Bonded.  I love friends.


  1. I didn't know you were in charge of enrichment! I am the enrichment leader in my ward... not the counselor, thank goodness! This activity sounded great! I wish I could of been there, and especially seen the tent! Amazing!

  2. You're amazing!!! You could take that show on the road in the states! (Specifically to this area, where it would make a fantastic Enrichment - er . . . Relief Society Meeting - all over again!)

  3. that sounds like a lot of fun, you'll have to remember it all so you can do it again for your ward when you return to the states.

  4. Jealous of all your tasty food. Maybe we can visit for some hummus!

  5. what wonderful experiences you are having -- those colors are GORGEOUS!

  6. What a great job you have done, Toria. You provided a fun place for the R.S. sisters to learn about and appreciate the country you are all living in. We are glad you and John and the kids are able to see that part of the world -- a wonderful experience. Even though your children are little, this will all have an influence on them.