countdown to Maui IS ON!!!

Saturday morning lounging in bed (7am) while it's already fully blazing-hot outside. The heat is trying to creep in, but I protest by having 2 layers of curtains in bedroom cave.  The kitties are frolicking around- probably wondering why it is still so dark in here while everywhere else is dripping in brightness...  I do like my cave.

Summer is here!  Well, it's been here for about 2 months already in terms of the heat index... There are exactly 2 more work days and then I'm on the next plane outta here headed back home to my "rock" in the middle of the Pacific Ocean!  The kitties will be transported to their summer villa in Sar where they will be in great company with an Animal Planet of sort of household!  They are going to the vet this morning to get micro-chipped!  I expect them to be mad at me, briefly, for the remainder of the day...

I still have so many adventures that I have not talked about from this past 10 months here in this desert kingdom, as well as travels to other desert kingdoms. 

 This is Muscat, Oman.  So far in my Middle Eastern travels, I have found Oman to be the best place for beach activity... I was in heaven and on the beach as much as I could possibly fit it during my trip.
Oman is very picturesque

Beachfront crab castles

Oman is a very orderly place where traffic is concerned.  Everything is logical here...

 I was really impressed with Oman's roads, traffic system and just driving in general.  It seems here that people can actually incur traffic infractions... As a bonus (if that wasn't already enough to make me squeal with delight), the roadways are pretty!  There are loads of areas to stop off of and just have a picnic.  Everything is groomed along the roadsides and there seem to be 'rest areas' everywhere (no facilities as far as I could telll) where you could just stop off and stretch out a bit, or chat on cell phone instead of driving while chatting- which is prevalent everywhere...
Oman has a lot of forts with breathtaking views

 The architecture is very modern and stylish and tasteful and just seems to fit in with the natural environment.  Again, this kingdom is organized and quite strikingly beautiful.  The sultan had a vision and it is beautifully played out everywhere you look.
Just another roadside attraction...

 Some palace... Of course Oman, as with all Middle Eastern countries, has a lot of palaces for various usages.
Architecture here is aesthetically pleasing

 I'm loving these cobalt blue accents

So Oman is my top choice to visit, or live, so far in the Middle East.  Of course I haven't been to Yemen yet...

Back on the rock known as the Kingdom of Bahrain... there is still a lot to do, but without the orderly roads and polite driving, and the beautiful beaches... Okay, there is plenty that is beautiful here as well though and I tend to check it out on the weekends.

 One of my favorite spots to haunt is the Qalat al Bahrain (Bahrain Fort) and when they host outdoor music events it's just a bonus!  We got a group together and all made delicious dishes and had a picnic while listening to the music.  It was perfect
Sara and her tribe were in attendance!
Afterwards we trekked inside the fort in search of the new Frenchy
art installation.

You can't see exactly, but this 'room' was very cool- like a spider web

 Part of the Frenchy art installation.  It looked like gold nuggets were encased underneath the flooring.  Or, primordial fires blazing.
An alien-like green glow emanating from somewhere deep inside the chamber that the gold nuggets were leading to.  

 The outside area of the Qalat al Bahrain.  Nice building with modern lines and an endless blue sky cascading down into the Arabian Gulf.
Sunset hour is amazing here.

 Of course, the Bahrain Financial Center in downtown Manama has magnificent architectural delights to feast your eyes on.  This is one of many.  Too bad the 'wind turbines' don't actually make/store energy...
Shaika Spot- bookworm...

I guess I never really discussed shopping here in the kingdom, mostly because I never really find an occasion to go shopping or "shop till you drop".  That all ended though with Sherry Santo's visit...
The kitties were in full play mode- as always...

 For summer solstice an archaeologist friend of mine has a yearly talk/walk-about at the Sar Temple.  We await sunset (which now sets behind the ghost-buildings of Marina West) and hope for some sort of divine intervention.  Well, we had a lovely sunset among other intrepid travelers and history buffs alike.  Later on we got down to some serious picnicking as the last vestiges of light were falling from the sky. 

For those of you that live here, this temple is amazing.  I had never been there before. It's an incredible accomplishment of the ancient Dilmun civilization. 
awaiting divine intervention...

Okay so we'll just eat, drink and be merry instead!

This is my favorite 'mall': Al Ali mall in Seef area.  What's so interesting is that no haole go here (foreigners).  Sherry Santo and myself were the only foreigners as far as I could tell- outside of the shopkeeps.  At any rate, this hidden gem is just that.  We shopped until we dropped, and then came back for more the next day!!! 

Well, this ends my commentary for now as I need to get myself outta bed and dressed to get to the veterinary clinic.  So more later on my departure from this desert kingdom...