Monday, February 11, 2013

It was the best of times

Sunset at Bab al Shams (Gateway of the sun)
  2013. I know a lot of you think when I don’t blog it’s because it’s not going well.  Well, sometimes, a lot of times actually, I’m just having too much fun, seizing the days of brilliant sunshine and floating in bubbles of happiness. 

Bab al Shams in the moontlight
17 January:  Happy day; It is Tinus’ birthday and we’re having a lovely day. The reason why I’m blogging now is because he’s busy getting a bone scan.  So a quick catch-up for those of you who missed the bits in between:  There were more spots … out damned spot … there was the TB and lots of medications but spots are not going away, so doc says let’s take them out .. de ja vu .. operation, took five lymph nodes out some tested positive for cancer, yet another PET scan was scheduled but we had to wait for op scars to heal.  It was Christmas then Lizana and Ulrich came to visit for ten days and it was the best of times:

Having the two of them here was such a treat!  They are part of our Hopefield family, our neighbours and such good friends.  Upon arrival Ulrich announced that they will take care of meals, which couldn’t have been more perfect.  Many of my fondest Hopefield memories feature an afternoon/evening spent with the rest of the family around some interesting and or exotic culinary creations by the master chef extraordinaire team aka Lizana and Ulrich.

On the way here Lizana sat next to someone who said a weekend is all you need to see and do all that there is to see and do here … good response word here : incredulous … Lizana and Ulrich were here for ten days and I think we got about halfway through everything we could have seen and done.  Dubai and the UAE is such an amazing place (how many times have I said that :D ) and there are so many things to experience here that I actually worked out an itinerary to make sure that we get as much out of the time we have together as we can.  I wanted to make it so special, for this was also a holiday for Tinus, in the normal course of living here he sees very little outside of his office walls or boardroom windows.

Lizana and Ulrich in front of the Burj Khalifa
Destination Dubai:
Dear Lizana and Ulrich
Thank you so much for choosing Olivier tours for your vacation operator. 
Please find attached a suggested itinerary.  
27 Dec: Arrival:      05H35 @ DXB followed by lots of hugging and kissing :D Relaxed morning, possible early afternoon nap. (R&R)  We were thinking of sun downers at Bab Al Shams followed by Baskin Robbins (Ibn Battuta Mall) and a night drive home via Shk Zayed rd 
                                      28 Dec: Sunrise from highest building in the world - tickets booked for 06H30
                                       Breakfast at Tiffany’s not available (yet) but perhaps Armani ^^ or one of the many other places.
                                     Possible afternoon nap (R&R) for evening out.  Possible Festival City with water and light show.
                                    29 Dec: Ain trip:  Camel chocolate factory, Camel souq, tea at road side tea shop with ultimate aim for late lunch at Jebal Hafeet which will linger till sunset and then drive home.
30 Dec:  Bastika Heritage tour – tickets booked for 10H30  The tour takes place in old part of Dubai, after tour (which I think includes dates and coffee) we can take an abra (water taxi) to the spice & gold souq, lunch at the creek side cafĂ©. Possible movie under the stars in the evening at Wafi rooftop garden.
31 Dec: Sharjah Blue souq, Aviation museum, quick trip to the beach to dip our toes in the Persian Gulf and back home for afternoon nap. (R&R)   Desert Drumming – starts at 20H30 … return home next year.

etc etc ...

“Olivier Tours” actually managed to stick to their schedule fairly well.  The strikethrough showed the ones we didn’t do.  I loved the way Lizana would say “When last did you do something for the first time? Oh yes, today, and yesterday, and the day before that.”

Ulrich in the Old Souk
The time passed so quickly – ha ha – I just had this in my head : <disembodied dramatic voice> “… like sand through the hour glass..” get it… sand .. desert… anyway. 

Before we knew it Ulrich had to leave.  His sister and her family moved to Dubai quite recently and on the second to last evening that he spent with us we had a lovely braai at our place with them as well as a long-time friend of Ulrich’s who lives in our area and his family and a few of our friends and parts of their family.  The evening turned out to be so much like the evenings at the Merry Widow, a perfect end to a lovely holiday.

Lizana striking a girly pose in Rak Al Khaima
Lizana stayed on for a couple of days more and it was exactly what I needed, girl time :D  On the last day of Lizana’s stay she was part of one of our more regular experiences – an appointment at the oncologist:

We went to the doc to get the results of Tinus’ most recent PET scan, the one after surgery in December.  He showed us the scan on his computer screen - it lit up like a macabre Christmas tree:  bright lights showing hot spots from his left clavicle to his lower right lung.  His oncologist suggests that we prepare for the worst – because of the lymph nodes all being connected he wants us to consider the possibility that the cancer cells could be spread all over his body and that he would now classify the cancer as aggressive.  And it was the worst of times.