ADCG presents “Legally Blonde”

11074319_10153209782937866_4551556499759237639_nI will admit that I have never seen the movie Legally Blonde. Shame on me – I know.

I will also admit that I usually prefer the musicals to the movies or the books from which they were adapted. I guess I am just a musical kind of girl.  What I like is the energy that comes from a group of citizens coming together to produce, perform and attend a community musical – and, well, there’s just something magical that happens. Continue reading “ADCG presents “Legally Blonde””

That’s a Pisser

images-3“That’s a real pisser!” Mini said to me.

Whoa…what do you mean that’s a real pisser? I am no Lily Librarian. I have seen and heard a fair amount in my life but I didn’t expect my ten year-old to use the word pisser straight in my face. Continue reading “That’s a Pisser”

International Women’s Day Interview



Interview with Ms. Gina Dillon

We start our series of Interviews for International Women’s Day with the founder of the blog The Abu Dhabi PTA

Name: Gina Dillon

Nationality: USA

Occupation: Writer, social innovator, and change maker.

Tell us a bit about yourself…
I am married to an incredibly smart and witty guy who is my perfect life partner. I have two boys who were born 20 years apart. I have two dogs and I have a soft spot for animals. I am a very curious person and I am always looking for new interests, new people and a new way to see the world. Continue reading “International Women’s Day Interview”

NYE @Asia de Cuba


No plans for NYE?!? How about the St. Regis at Abu Dhabi’s Nations Tower newest Chic, sophisticated, glamorous, witty and above all, fun, Asia de Cuba? Combining a high-energy environment with its Chino-Latino menu; intensely flavored, imaginatively prepared and ultimately celebratory. Rooted in the Chino-Latino cafes that dotted the streets–first of Havana, and then of Miami and New York, Asia de Cuba has created a style of food and service all its own. Havana’s Chinatown, El Barrio Chino de la Habana, is one of the oldest and largest in Latin America. Beginning in the late 19th century, 150,000 Chinese came to work the sugar and coffee plantations, many from Canton in the south. As both are near the Tropic of Cancer they share similar weather and climates, and so Chinese vegetables were able to thrive in the Cuban soil. In the next few decades, many Chinese immigrants from California settled in Cuba, bringing with them new techniques and recipes, like Fried Rice, further improved by the island’s abundant shellfish.

I love all things Cuba and all things China….I’m definitely interested. How about you?

The itinerary of the Evening:

6:00pm – 8:00pm



DINING AREA (indoor): AED 850 per person

3 course meal with items chosen from a seasonal la carte menu
Unlimited selection of premium beverages
Dine indoor and party on the beach deck, enjoying the fireworks at midnight and our resident DJ all night.


Party on the beach deck, enjoying the fireworks at midnight and our resident DJ all night

Cabanas – AED 6000 minimum, for 6 people. Extra person @ AED 800 per person

Loungers – AED 6500 minimum, for 8 people. Extra person @ AED 800 per person

Pergola – AED 10,000 minimum, for 12 people. Extra person @ AED 800 per person

Welcome Fruit and Cheese Platter
Ceviche, Salad and Hot Appetizer Platters
Unlimited selection of premium beverages

STANDING BAR: AED 550 per person

Unlimited selection of premium beverages at the bar or cocktail tables.


Spinning live all night is our Resident DJ – Marise Cardoso from Brazil


For Reservations Contact : 02 699 3333

For More Information on Asia de Cuba visit their website

Go to Market Kitchen!


This is a part of a featured series highlighting businesses, events, services and products around the Capital that I love. They will be featured at the top of the blog. Please give these merchants a try. I did and I loved them! If I didn’t they won’t be featured. Promise!  🙂

I’m going to say it out loud right now, “I think you should go to Le Royal Meridien’s Friday brunch at Market Kitchen this weekend!”

First let me tell you, if you haven’t been to Le Royal Meridien lately you should go because the recent remodel is fantastic! It reminds me of California… yet infused with Italian design. It’s chic. It’s comfortable. It is unpretentiously suave. It lifts me to a higher standard without making me feel like I don’t belong.

As my 10 year-old son said, ‘Mom, I want to live in this restaurant.” The decor has that kind of welcoming balance.

Another reason why I love it so much. Because sometimes you want to have brunch without balloon art on your head, or someone spinning plates on a stick, or a petting zoo. (but if you got to have this type of thing it is located right down the hall complete with bubble machine and face painting for the kids or you I guess if you’re that sort of person).

Sometimes you want to sit with friends or business associates and have great food with fantastic cocktails and pleasant conversation — without the feeling of being in a mass horde of hungry wildebeests. If this is the case, then please visit The Market Kitchen because I did and I really enjoyed the change.

Did I mention the cocktails and the mocktails? If I didn’t shame on me! No lie. Hands down. And I am not joking you. Le Royal Meridien offers the best tasting cocktails in Abu Dhabi. If another hotel/restaurant/club wants to challenge this…bring it on, but I am here to say that the cock/mocktails are the freshiest and most inventive drinks I’ve tasted during my time here in Abu Dhabi. Cucumber martini, lychee raspberry,  bellinis, ginger margaritas…yum! yum!

Now onto the brunch. First, it is not a buffet style brunch. It is a seated, shared, farm-to-table menu which means it will change every week. The brunch is offered as a set 4 course menu. A little different for us here in the land of over-the-top competitive brunches. After the bread and the drinks, came the first course appetizers, and although I wasn’t a huge fan of the tartare, my husband is always in the mood for sushi and we all loved the calamari. It was light and fresh and perfectly fried with a fabulous little lemon rosemary dip.

On to the second course, which, by the way had my boys at Hello; Steak, burgers, pizza and for me a tomato soup. Need I say more? Nope, but I will. It was tasty and we gobbled it up. You can never go wrong with a mini cheese pizza. And tomato soup is always one of my favorites. The little steak and egg stack was a nice surprise and an interesting chef creation.  Yummy and interesting — definitely a good combination. And of course, every little person needs the option of resorting to a burger and fries if they want to go with something familiar; and so the Market Kitchen graciously obliged. (Please overlook strange expression on child)

For the main course, we were presented with a wooden serving board of meat dishes for sharing along with an array of dipping sauces for grilled fillet of beef, parmesan crusted chicken, and a side order of grilled fish; they all were delicious. The sides were the familiar staples that you find around your own dining table: mashed potatoes, broccoli, mac and cheese, except with a creative twist and the juicy fact that you will not have to cook it.  The truth is I felt like I was at home with friends or family passing around our family favorites. The good thing is if any of these dishes do not make your mouth water then you can order from a selection of others off of another preset menu. It’s that simple.

To finish our experience off we were served a trio of desserts. Warm chocolate cake with a fudge filling, a warm apple crumb cobbler, and the market cheesecake with a side of berries. We finished the feast with a couple of cappuccinos and determined that this definitely deserved a return visit with either friends or for a business lunch for my husband. What makes the Market Kitchen so special is the management and the staff who are there to make sure your experience is a good one. I cannot rave about this anymore. Please go for yourself. Go this weekend!



Market Kitchen Brunch Friday from 12.30pm to 4.00pm

Cost: 250 with Mocktails, 350 with signature cocktails/wine and 450 with champagne

Le Royal Méridien Hotel

02 695 0300


Facebook Page

Although this is a sponsored post I can assure you these views are my own. I am a fan of the Market Kitchen and Le Royal Meridien Hotel and love sharing experiences that I enjoy.

A big thank you to the staff and management for your kindness and hospitality.

Goodbye Dubai. Hello Abu Dhabi.

dubai-167872Goodbye Dubai I do not need you anymore.

Like a sexy new friend, you mesmerized me. You were the answer to all that was missing in my life.  I could rely upon you for everything between laundry detergent to a 7 star hotel. In awe, I shopped your malls. I marveled at your architecture. I salivated at your restaurants. I gorged on your ostentation. And then with a belly ache, I hobbled home and dreamt of when we would meet again.

Goodbye Dubai I do not need you anymore.

I loved you for what we were. You dazzled me with your sparkly and I fed it on it like a school girl. Bright eyed and in admiration of your grandeur and your resources. In you, I found what I was missing. No one within miles could fill your shoes. I talked about you to everyone I knew. And ended all of my sentences with, but in Dubai…..


Hello Abu Dhabi.

I love your new found glamour and your worldly culture. You’re so approachable and within my reach, I can wrap my arms around you and give you a big hug. You’re like the friend I overlooked because I was busy with someone more chic. You’re comfortable like an old habit. Pleasing, enjoyable and never in your face.

Hello Abu Dhabi.

I think I’ll shout to the word that you’re enough for me. I do not need to travel for amusement, entertainment or to be wooed with a promise of something blingy. I can get my laundry detergent, my hot dogs and my Cherry Coke right here. I’m really very easy. You cannot beat Abu Dhabi’s beautiful beaches, the mesmerizing skylines, and the incredible Emirates Palace.

Goodbye Dubai. Hello Abu Dhabi.

There’s room enough for two. When I need a place to blow my mind. I’ll pick Dubai anytime. But when I need a place to call my own; cozy, comfortable and nothing over-the-top, I’m calling Abu Dhabi home.

If you enjoyed this post please share it and sign up to be a regular reader of The Abu Dhabi PTA. Thanks xxx

Mixology. The Best Cocktails

Courtesy of Le Royal Meridien

Last week I was invited to a cocktail/mocktail master mixology class for bloggers. I must admit it was my first mixer and Samia, one of the PTA girls, agreed to join me representing the mocktail to my cocktail.

I had recently changed to a new medication which was leaving me feeling as disoriented as a sea-sick cruise passenger. I decided that maybe I should spare myself any embarrassment and cancel. So I sent Charlie the organizer a note. “I am sorry. Can’t come. In the process of letting new meds equilibrate. Not keen on making a fool of myself and since I cannot say no to a tasty cocktail, I must cancel.” Charlie responds, “Please come cocktails are tasty.”

So I went. I took a taxi to Samia’s place and she drove us to The Meridien Abu Dhabi which is the wrong hotel. Not the wrong hotel if you want to try out the new Greek restaurant (Opa!) but the wrong hotel if you’re going to join the bloggers at the Market Kitchen.

We drove a few minutes up the street to Le Royal Meridien home of the master mixology.

What a beautiful hotel. Unfortunately, in my time here in Abu Dhabi I have completely overlooked this fabulous hotel and all of its wonderful restaurants. Since we arrived late I wasn’t able to see the swimming pool which is a huge disappointment to me because I am on an official search for the most fabulous pools in Abu Dhabi. Hint. Hint. Le Royal Meridien.

I will also say, that my friend Laura used Le Royal Meridien to cater her masquerade party which was fabulous and the talk of the town for several days afterward.

Anyway, Samia and I climbed the stairs to this little bar above Market Kitchen which resembled the living room of my Italian aunt. If I were Italian and I had an aunt. It was super cozy, softly lit and the perfect place for an intimate evening. All around the place oozed Italian comfort. And the bar smelled like all of the fresh fruits we were going to use to concoct our mixology drinks.

From the beginning I knew things were going to be tricky because I was the only American at mixology. Samia is Canadian/Pakistani married to an American/British Pakistani. So she has the ethnic-mixology to converse that I do not. I should say thank you Samia for knowing Urdu. We would’ve been stuck in the lost corridors of Abu Dhabi without it. So I started the mixology night off not understanding anything anyone was saying. Could be due to the meds. Could be due to the fact that most of the other bloggers were British and although we share the English language we usually cannot share a conversation. I laugh as if I understand what they are saying and hope that they are not describing the recent event of their grandmother’s funeral. Life is not easy in a multicultural, ethnically blended city.

Anyway, Samia jumps into this mixology like she’s one of the crew. She’s chatting everyone up like she’s known them all her life. She’s like that regardless of where you take her. And there I was woozy on my prescription meds. “Gina I think you should go behind the bar and mix up a few drinks.” Samia said with her usual chatty smile which convinces you that everything is a good idea. I stumble by the bar past Bruno Valentino to begin my class in mixoloy when it occurs to me that there couldn’t be a more perfect name for the person who is hosting a mixology at an Italian restaurant than Bruno Valentino. Perfect. Although, now that I think about it, Bruno would be even more perfect as a silent Hollywood film star except those days are gone. Too bad for Bruno.

You might be expecting that due to my meds, limited communication with my cohorts, and the dark lighting of the venue that this blog post will end in a huge debacle and otherwise total failure. But it did not. It was an absolute success. Regardless of not understanding instruction or knowing what I was doing, both Samia and I managed to whip up some very tasty cocktails and mocktails. The rest of the evening was dedicated to eating some fantastic appetizers and drinking the very tasty drinks that I was promised. I will assure you that regardless of cooking skill, current medication routine or your ability to communicate, you too can mix up these tasty drinks. Give it a try.

Although I will remind you if you would like to visit and try the entire collection of fantastic cocktails from the masters please visit Market Kitchen at Le Royal Meridien Abu Dhabi.

I must say it was a great event and the Market Place is a lovely place to get together with friends new and old, and also with those you cannot understand. It makes an evening far more entertaining.

Thank you very much Mr. Bruno Valentino and the entire staff of Market Kitchen Le Royal Meridien Abu Dhabi.

The Market Kitchen has shared a few of the fabulous recipes for us to try at home….and when you’re finished mixing please invite me over.



Cucumber Martini
2 oz. Hendricks gin
0.75 oz. fresh lemon juice
0.75 oz simple syrup
2 cucumber slices
2 mint leaves
Cucumber wheel and small mint leaf garnish

Muddle cucumber, mint, lemon juice, and syrup. Add gin.
Shake and double strain into chilled martini coupe.
Garnish with a cucumber wheel and small mint leaf

Ginger Margarita
1 vol oz Sauza Hornitos Reposado Tequila
1.5 vol oz Ginger syrup
.5 vol oz Cointreau
1 rim ginger salt
1 lime wedge

Rim rocks glass with ginger salt and fill with ice.
Pour all liquids into a mixing glass. Shake. Strain over fresh ice.
Squeeze lime wedge and drop into glass




Cucumber Mint Swizzle
2.5oz fresh mint tea
0.5oz lemon juice
0.75oz simple syrup
0.25oz ginger syrup
1 barspoon chopped green apple
2 slice cucumber
6 mint leaves
Muddle mint, apple, cucumber
Add tea, lemon juice, ginger and simple syrup in a highball.
Fill highball halfway with crushed ice and swizzle until glass is frosty.
Fill the rest of the glass with crushed ice.
Garnish with mint sprig and cucumber slice

Strawberry Chamomile
0.5oz elderflower syrup
0.25oz simple syrup
0.25oz ginger base
2oz chamomile tea
3 strawberries
3 mint leaves in the shake
Orange and lemon wedge in the shake
Muddle strawberry with simple syrup and ginger base.
Add elderflower and chamomile
Add slapped mint leaves and orange and lemon wedges
Ice shaker and hard shake.
Strain into a cocktail coupe
Garnish with spanked mint leaf


Kumquat Muddle
2oz sour orange
6 halved kumquats
6-8 mint leaf
Soda water
Muddle and dump into highball
Fill with ice and top with soda
Squeeze lime and drop into glass. Gentle stir.
Add 1.5 oz of Bacardi Light Rum for a Kumquats Mojito

Sour Orange 
Combine all the below
8 Vol oz Fresh lime juice
8 Vol oz Fresh lemon juice
8 Vol oz Fresh orange juice
6 Vol oz Simple syrup
6 Vol oz Elderflower syrup

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The 6 Girlfriends Every Woman Needs

cropped-1454943_10151811784198440_1420869117_n.jpgEvery girl needs a excellent woman in her life. Seriously, how can we make it through the chaos without a gaggle of girlfriends? They are there for us in a variety of ways. Maybe not the same girlfriend every time, but a different one for a different need or a different chapter in our lives. Where ever we find them or for whatever reason — life is always better with your girls.


1. Mamma Bear: She bakes cookies, wears mom jeans and she’ll babysit your kids when you’re out of town. If your plane crashes on the way home you’ll leave the kids in her trusted hands. She quilts, scrapbooks and does other crap like that. When she drives she probably doesn’t exceed the speed limit unless she’s rushing a feverish kid to the urgent care. She thinks dressing up is putting on lipstick regardless of whatever else she is wearing. She wears a fanny pack stocked full of bandaids and neosporin and totes a snack cooler full of orange slices and avocados. She’s an old-fashion mother who sets rules and sticks by them. That’s why you’ve willed both the kids and the insurance policy to her  —  who else could handle 1,2,3 more kids?

2. Mrs. Perfect: She is perfect. Period. She never has a hair out of place, mismatched clothes, or a handbag that isn’t perfectly appropriate. Rock climbing? There’s a bag for that. Rolling Stones concert? Something functional; yet just a little edgy. Her car smells like L’Occitane. Her closet is colored coordinated. Her sheets are sprayed with some foo-fooey, lavender-scented Pottery Barn scam in a spray bottle. She’s the perfect corporate wife who will win her husband a promotion by smiling appropriately at a dinner party. She’s the friend you call when you have no idea how to decorate your new house. She’ll match your drapes to your sofa and your pajamas to the bed comforter. She will go ape wild in Williams Sonoma whipping up a housewarming basket that is so gorgeous you’ll never want to unwrap it — so you’ll just sit it in a corner of the kitchen and dust it until the cellophane cracks open.

3. The Mysterious Girl:  She wouldn’t be caught dead doing strenuous activities like tennis and zumba. “I’ll catch you Pansies at the club.” She wears sky-high heels, tight pants and has every cosmetic compact produced by MAC. She is too cool for school and doesn’t try too hard at anything. She sits quietly when all the other girlfriends are cackling over something pointless. Nothing really bothers her and she behaves like nothing really surprises her. She’s level headed and doesn’t rush into things. When she loves you: she loves you dearly. But when you get on her bad side — you are there to stay. There’s always something secretive about her — kind of like she buries her past lovers in the back yard. She’s the friend you go to when you have really big problems because she’ll hide you from the authorities and she has a few “key people” on speed dial.

4. Miss Innocent: She wears a cross around her neck given to her by her grandmother when she was in 10th grade. She covers her mouth a lot because she is astonished by most everything she hears yet soaks in all the juicy details like a dry sponge. Strangely, she sings all the words to the most explicit rap music as she twerks till dawn at all the ladies nights. She doesn’t drink because it’s against her religion yet will shockingly light up a cigarette as if she’s had the habit all her life. She buys her clothes at the grocery store and still manages to throw it all together. She’s the girl that reminds you that life is good. Just roll with it, flow with it and everything will be just fine. She silently assures you that it’s okay to be yourself regardless of the situation, the location or the company. You are you and that is good enough.

5. Burpee Queen: On the otherhand, Miss Burpee reminds you that you are not okay the way you are. She’s the girl who shames you out of wearing sweatpants to the grocery store. Who challenges you to put on the heels that are way beyond your comfort zone. She researches the new cellulite cream and reminds you that you should use it. She knows all of the gym instructors by first name and spends her spare time flexing for selfies with a selfie stick. There’s not an ounce of fat on her tomboy body and yet she is still at the gym every single day. She does pole dancing, windsurfing, kayaking all with equal skill. You hate her. You love her. You want to kill her but she’s the friend who kicks you in the bum when you need it and is a living example that you can be better you if you just get out of bed and do it.

6. The Diplomat: Brings up the probing questions. She’s got the MBA hanging on the wall at home and had she’d not been more interested in having fun in life, might have went on to law school. She’s the one that keeps you in check. Did you ask this question? That question? Do you completely understand what is going on? She seriously never wants to be the one that rains on the parade; but then again, how do you know for sure that this is what it seems….she might ask. You love her because when you need to be serious you give her a call. When you need a confidante or an informal advisor, she’s there with her thinking cap on. And when you need to have fun. She’s there too. She’s cool, she’s calculated, and she’s J. Crew all the way.


Girlfriends. My girls are intelligent. Nothing gets past them. They enrich my life and they have a huge heart. Always quick to lend a helping hand to someone who needs it. They are nurses, teachers, marketing gurus, artists, and managers. Thick as thieves. Stuck like glue. Birds of feather. Six different countries. Six different languages. Together by choice or by necessity. My life is always better with my girls.

These are my girls. Tell me about yours.


5 Things to Remember When Your Expat Family Comes Home For the Summer

 “Gone Girl” was filmed in my hometown…how exciting! Stay tuned for more on this subject.

Whew! The summer has come to an end. And for most expats we are very excited to get back to our own lives. Not that we don’t love you. Not that we didn’t love visiting you. But the summer exodus to our hometown is absolutely, positively, exhausting with a capital “E”. Ever wonder how it feels to be a displaced person no place to call your home roaming from place to place? Well, we do. Not that we don’t love you. Not that we didn’t love visiting you. But coming home is kind of weird.

Continue reading “5 Things to Remember When Your Expat Family Comes Home For the Summer”

It Was Absolutely Lovely… And Then We Showed Up

A Palace

I attended my first women’s gathering at an Emirati’s home. It was like a baby shower on steroids. It was a mix of about 40 local and expat ladies; friends, families and acquaintances held at the magnificent home of one of the local ladies.

It was pouring rain and Brenda, Samia and I all rode together in Samia’s car. We arrived like a band of hooligans. Rolling in like a pack of wet mutts. Unable to find a parking spot that wasn’t in the middle of a small pond, we kept pulling in and out trying to find a better option, and each time we struck out, the more embarrassed Samia became. It must be a South Asian/Middle Eastern thing because as an American, I found it all amusing, as a South African raised in the apartheid, Brenda found the puddle a small problem by comparison — but Samia wasn’t so nonchalant.

“Brenda, please pull your umbrella inside the car!” In the crazy, wind-blown, rain splattering event of getting from the car to the “palace” Brenda’s new umbrella was turned inside out and it resembled more of a white flag than it did an umbrella. While we were pulling in and out of unacceptable parking spots Brenda stuck her umbrella outside the car window as if a symbol of surrender.

“Brenda, please bring your umbrella inside the car!” Complete embarrassment was all over Samia’s face. “No, really. Please, Brenda.” Chuckling Brenda agreed.

“Look at this place!” Samia marveled. As I said — it was definitely impressive. But I had more fun watching the expressions on Samia’s face. It’s like she was entering the Taj Mahal for the first time.

“Oh, my, we have to take our shoes off before entering the house! What do I do? I don’t want to take my shoes off! I am 4’11 if I take my shoes off I will look 15 pounds heavier!” Perplexed and horrified with her choices Samia’s Middle Eastern Cinderella’s Castle fantasy quickly came crashing down. “Well, I guess we do not have a choice. We must take off our shoes.” Brenda offers up advice in her years of international diplomacy experience. “When in doubt; don’t offend.”

I followed Brenda and Samia inside and noticed that at these types of events proper dress is either formal or national dress. Samia is in her best shalwar kameez, looking like a Pakistani princess, and Brenda is wearing a modest African dress accessorized with a small cocktail purse. They reminded me that I am a lost soul. Americans do not have national dress and until events like this, it never seems to be a problem. Aside from a Budweiser/American flag bikini, American women do not have anything to wear that says: I am an American. This has always been a huge problem with the Miss Universe pageant. Every other country looks like a million bucks in their bejeweled national ensemble and then there’s the American girl typically draped in the some fashion modification of the American flag.

As we entered into the palace our hostess greeted us in a beautiful leopard print floor length gown with a neckline too tempting for even most American ladies. She looked absolutely stunning and in a million years, I never would’ve guessed this was the same lady that could easily sneak past me in the school halls without ever grabbing a moment of attention. One by one, they arrived draped in abayas and then slowly removing them to reveal ridiculously elegant and some rather sexy gowns. I sat there feeling somewhat prudish, definitely under-dressed, and embarrassingly boring in my simple Ann Taylor outfit.

We sat in the ladies majlis, a formal entertaining room off of the center entrance hall, which was decorated in a bold rose decor and offered a variety of seating options for more than 30+ ladies. I could tell this wasn’t the type of event that only occurs when someone gets married or has a baby, or some other typical life milestone; but instead, this rooms gets a lot of use — these ladies gather frequently and this room offers all the accoutrements necessary for a super swanky tea party. Hired Filipina ladies served up Arabic coffee, tea, and dates in exquisite dishes as I relied upon Brenda to fill me in. What is this? What will it do to me? And should I partake? Which basically means, will this have me glued to the powder room while I am here at this super swanky event?

The bell rang for dinner. Yes, I am not kidding. A. small. bell. rang. to signify that we should all move to the enormously large extended-family Lawrence of Arabia dining room. The table itself was huge. Ever practical me, I am thinking to myself how many immigrants did it take to carry in this massive hunk of a dining room table? It was certainly larger than an operating table. It would’ve definitely been large enough to hold both Jack and Rose from the Titanic. It’s too bad Jack didn’t have this table. He would’ve made it to New York. One thing I am eternally grateful for is the towering baskets of fruit in the middle of the table. Thank goodness there wasn’t a baby animal on a platter laying peacefully dead in a mound of rice, dates, and a few random cashews —that would’ve blown the whole thing for me.

I looked around the dining room table to see the look of confusion on the faces of the expat ladies. What fork were the other ladies using? I think I was using the wrong one. If Martha Stewart would’ve concentrated more on these tid-bits of Middle Eastern etiquette versus insider trading, I probably wouldn’t be in this quandary I am in tonight around the Lawrence of Arabia dining room table. But no, the American capitalist let me down, but then again, Martha was probably never invited to a swanky Arab ladies dinner party. One-up. Fist bump!

After dinner, some of ladies were touring the upstairs of the villa. And I almost joined them but I caught the gaze of an Arab princess. Maybe she wasn’t a real princess but she could’ve been one. She was absolutely lovely. Far lovelier than Princess Di. Sorry Brits, but she was much more elegant. And she appeared to be staring at my small trio of hooligans. Either in amusement, interest, or dismay, her eyes followed me as I snapped (pre-approved) pictures around the magnificent villa.

Brenda really wanted to go upstairs to-see-what-there-was-to-be-seen. “B, I’m not going up there. I already feel like a third-class citizen.” I said, half jokingly. “Seriously, I don’t want to look like an uncouth and uncultured troll that’s never seen the inside of a place like this….really, we shouldn’t draw attention to ourselves. Okay?!?……. Really, Samia is just now recovering from the earlier embarrassment.”

“Ladies, I think we should at least get a picture of the three of us before we go. Let’s sit on this beautiful sofa together. This is perfect.” Samia smiled elegantly in her national clothes.


“Pardon me” I said. “Please, do you mind retaking this photo because it looks like I am breastfeeding my friend.”

OMG…….you can’t take us anywhere!


*A very big thank you to our most gracious hostess*

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