Mangrove swamps provide a unique and valuable ecosystem for fish, crab, and other ocean species. The local mangroves are known as White or Gray Mangroves and are a species well-suited to the high salinity of the Arabian Gulf. In addition to fish and purple crabs, the Eastern Mangroves of Abu Dhabi are also home to flamingos, cranes, and other birds. The top row of pics show some flamingos but they are quite far away. We went in the morning to avoid the afternoon heat but it was low tide so some areas were too shallow for kayaks.
The Journey Begins
On October 29, 2015 I posted the picture of the Treasury (above) with the headline "Coming Soon . . . Petra." Yes, it has taken me three months (it is mid-January) to get back around to finishing the Petra post. The demands of dissertation research/writing, family obligations, and the last few items on the "Must Do: Arabian Peninsula" list have kept me busy. It has been intense but before I set off on my next adventure I had to finish posting a few pics from one of the most amazing places I have ever visited.
In fact, in my 2015 holiday email to family and friends, Petra won the "most amazing trip/visit" of the year. The sad truth is these pictures simply cannot do justice to the stunning beauty and awe-inspiring craftsmanship seen throughout Petra. However, if this small glimpse intrigues you, then you must make a point to visit Petra at some time in your life. It will be worth it. I promise.
The Place of High Sacrifice
The Garden Hall and Soldier Tomb
The Grande Finale
"Ad-Dayr" or more popularly referred to as The Monastery
Spicy mostly for the food! Try some sambol (chili paste mixed with shredded coconut) on your entree for some extra kick but be careful not to add too much or you will be sweating up a storm in no time!
If the food is too spicy in Colombo, then hit the mountains to cool off. After a year in the desert heat of Abu Dhabi there is nothing more refreshing than some cool mountain breezes. And rain! Lots and lots of rain!
Back to the Beach
Then again, if you aren't a mountain person, you can always hit the beach!
September 2015 - In the Sultanate of Oman. Entered through the Hafeet Border Crossing in order to pass by Jebel Shams in the distance. Hiking and swimming at Wadi Shab, followed up by a trip to the beach.
This summer I found myself back in the United States so I thought I would include a few pics from the Midwest. To further my academic training, I attended the Interuniversity Consortium on Political and Social Research (ICPSR) Summer Program. For those unfamiliar it is essentially math camp for adults, or at least for adults who find econometric modeling fun and interesting. Yes, I've spent the past few weeks learning about spatial interdependence models, network analysis, and how to program in R.
But don't worry non-academic friends, it hasn't been all work and no play. As I have discovered, Ann Arbor, Michigan has a wonderfully vibrant food culture. Below are some of the highlights.
The desserts are courtesy of La Dolce Vita. On the left is the Salted Candy Bar Pie and on the right is Chocolate Decadence. Decadent to say the very least. In the middle are a pair of the largest Vietnamese summer rolls I have encountered care of Saigon Garden. Both the summer rolls and Pho were amazing.