“Going Native”


A friend in Dubai used the phrase “going native” with me as we were driving around….. see, the apparent custom here is that if you’re sitting behind another car in traffic at a traffic light and it turns green, the first one to honk wins. Apparently. So, as the light in front of us turned green, I said “honk”. She cracked up and said “so you’ve been here long enough to be going all native on us, huh?” Made me laugh.

Driving in Dubai has a bit of an aggressive edge to it. Not assertive….drivers are waaaaay past that. It’s aggressive. If you don’t push out into a traffic circle when the lane’s almost clear, you’ll suffer the horn-honking wrath of the drivers behind you. Now, TBG, who is normally one of the most rational, calm and reasonable drivers that you’ll ever meet, showed me a most surprising side of his driving ability…… TBG “went native!”

I was navigating. Normally, not an issue…. But I’d missed an exit a week or so before because it looked like a construction site entrance, and we ended up having to drive about an additional 30 minutes because I’d missed it. So this time, that exit that looked like a construction entrance wasn’t gonna fool me….. right off a 7-lane expressway…… uh yeah, I was certain it was our exit.

*sigh* It wasn’t. TBG didn’t fuss, he just started looking around to figure out how to get us out of this construction area….. found a bit of a road in the right direction and headed out. But the road was getting narrower and narrower and narrower…… and was now separated from the main highway, but adjacent, but now… it… ended. Sand. No pavement. Hmmm…. We’re less than 20’ from the shoulder of the road we shoulda been on with only flat fairly smooth sand between us and it… you guessed it, there he went! Crazy, but he got us there!

A bit later, some big FJ was trying to crowd us out of our lane, kept easing over and easing over…. Normally, they’d have had that spot, no problem. But we needed to move over a couple lanes and exit pretty quick, so no joy for him! Honking and flashing did that driver no good, TBG wasn’t moving to the left to let him around on the right, as we needed to exit. So the FJ ended up somewhere a few cars behind us, TBG did a “Dubai Slide” over a couple two or three lanes, and we made our exit. Ba-da-bing!


On the way to eat supper and then to the grocery, our four lanes quickly change to three with no signs or indications…. The road just has no stripes any longer, leaving drivers to attempt to sort out what’s happening till the stripes resume… but with only three lanes now. Oddly, there were three cabs in the lanes adjacent to us, and they tend to drive with some serious abandon here…. But when the dust settled and the stripes reappeared, those cabs were behind TBG, cause our supper stop was just ahead! I think I noticed one of the cabbies grumbling to himself.

As always, there’s someone that doesn’t want to wait in the line of traffic, their business is ever so much more important than yours. They’ll drive along the shoulder, or in a turn lane, or in the lane where cars park, or a fire lane, or a merging lane until it’s no longer possible to go, and they expect someone to let them in. And if there’s more than a 2 cm gap (about an inch) between you and the car in front of you, they’ll attempt to wedge themselves right in there. That “someone” wasn’t gonna be TBG that day.

Parking garages tend to be a huge free-for-all. Really. Parking spaces in Dubai are insanely hard to come by sometimes, and when people think they’ve seen someone heading towards their car, they’ll come to a dead stop and wait. And wait. And honk. And wait. Parking garages are insanely loud places, the honking echoes many times. Crazy. Normally, we’ll just pull out around the waiting car and drive on, there’s likely another spot somewhere.

This parking garage had the red/green lights over each parking space to indicate occupied or open. If you’re looking down a quarter-mile of parked cars, those little lights REALLY help! TBG saw a green one and headed down the aisle….. sadly, against the arrows. Going the wrong way.   Unlike others, he didn’t stop and back up, he just continued unabashedly down to the open spot.   And parked. TBG had gone native, y’all!!

Why I want to go on an eight-day Emerald Waterways river cruise through Europe


Cruising *our* style –  Emerald Waterways, doing it right!

Have you ever thought “I’d love the idea of going on a cruise…. But not with thousands of unknown people for weeks!” Or perhaps “I wish cruises visited some really INTERESTING places, not just seaside-touristy-destinations…”? My husband and I thought these very same things, and simply resigned ourselves to not cruising.

But then….. during a trip visiting the some of the capitals of Europe….. we were searching for the striking Holocaust Memorial “The Shoes on the Danube Bank”.


It involved a bus from our hotel, an extended walk to locate the promenade we wanted, and then, some detective work as to how to get around all the construction and actually across the busy road to the site. Aggravating but so worth the effort!

Then, we spied a riverboat cruiser.Image

I took photos thinking it was pretty neat looking.

Now, we didn’t actually know what it was, just noticed people coming and going, simply stepping off the gangplank and strolling along the promenade. They looked happy and relaxed, about to embark on the adventures offered by this city….. and definitely not the way we had felt, struggling with luggage and unfamiliar train/subway stations.

They stepped off their boat and were in the middle of all the action. No transfers, no taxis, no subways/trains/buses….. We thought “Wow – what a great way to see this city – and look at all that GLASS to look through! We should do that.” And promptly forgot all about that travel option in the efforts to get to the next capital.

Fast forward to the next year’s vacation planning, and while looking over previous photos, we noticed the one with the riverboat cruiser. 

But these are brand-new riverboat cruisers.  They are modern, sleek and offer up all sorts of creature comforts and conveniences for passengers. Try out a heated pool, a fully-retractable glass roof, pop-up bars, an interesting indoor/outdoor balcony experience and al fresco dining/movies. Wow!


So, I began investigating costs, routes, different cruise lines, etc. And one name kept popping up as a new entrant into the European river cruising world…. Emerald Waterways.   

Why consider Emerald Waterways? Look at what all is included….

All meals and tips. Free Wi-fi on board. All port/entry and transfer charges. Airfare from UK locations as well as others. Shore excursions and UNESCO World Heritage sites. Brand new ships. Wine, beer and soft drinks are included. And every stateroom has a river view!  All included.  No giant bill at the end of the cruise.

Since we’d first seen the riverboats on the Danube, and wanted to go re-visit a number of things we’d yet to explore there, we began investigating that particular offer, the “8-day Danube Delights” cruise. More info is available here… and here’s a map of the stops – looks perfect for us as it includes a couple of our favorites, plus new stops!


Now, we’re not fans of “forced” sightseeing. We’re not much for shepherded groups being rushed through museums and such. We like a bit of structure and some suggestions and information…. Not being led around by a leash. But this itinerary includes some walking tours, guided tours, sightseeing drives, UNESCO World Heritage sites, and something that’s *truly* different, an afternoon tea hosted by a local Slovakian family – now how fun and personal is that? Looks like there’s enough free time built into the schedule so we’ll be able to customize our adventure as we choose.

Now, what about the accommodations? Well, Take a look at one of their proposed staterooms we’re considering…. Nice digs, huh? Go ahead and take a look at their .pdf brochure….just don’t drool while you’re looking. <smile>


Yeah, Emerald Waterways has won us over. They will be our choice for European River cruising and you’ll read all the details about our trip right here!

Where You Been All My Life??

I barely got to take a photo, these were soooo good!

I barely got to take a photo, these were soooo good!

Cinnamon Butter Thins.   Oh. My. Goodness.  Have you tried these?   TBG had some at work, and next time we were in a store, he picked up the box and said something about it being a lucky box tonight or some such…. Not exactly certain about what he said.

But, we opened the foil inner pouch containing these little rascals, and ohmygoodness were they good.  Tiny little thin buttery bits of cinnamon goodness, all nestled down into their own little plastic cubbies….. Protecting them, you know.

TBG said “I’ll eat all the cracked ones and save the whole ones for you.”  Um hmmm…. Uh, no.  He’d have slammed that package down on the counter so they were ALL cracked!!!  Twerp.

Tiny little bites of yumminess.

Tiny little bites of yumminess.

Anyhow, they’re called  Zimtbutterkekse, which translates to cinnamonbutterheaven in English.  They remind me of a Paula Deen recipe….. you know – they begin with “melt a stick of butter and we’ll decide what we’re gonna bake.”  They’re thin, light, and quite crispy, but it’s when they’re good and chewed up that the buttery flavor comes into play here – they’re tasty enough you almost don’t wanna swallow them!  Kinda sorta like a super thin gingerbread cookie fried.  Kinda.  Sorta.  But not greasy.

Too bad this one was cracked.... that meant it was TBG's.

Too bad this one was cracked…. that meant it was TBG’s.

You can see, I almost forgot to take any photos of them before they were all gone.  Well, you can see that TBG had a couple left…. <Smile>.  Honest, if you see these, made by a company called Jules Destrooper Biscuiterie since 1886 of Belgium, just get them.  Really.

They came all the way from Belgium.  You know, these were baked by the “purveyor to the Belgian Royal Household”, I’m thinking we’re eating like royalty!

King of Liver


Now, just so y’all know I don’t make this stuff up…. here’s a photo….

King of Liver.  Yes.  Really.

King of Liver. Yes. Really.

I understand that literal translations are sometimes “off” here…. But really?


Yes, I can hear the conversation now….


“So, where do you wanna go for supper tonight, honey?”


“Oh, I don’t know.  Where do you want to go?”


“Well, I’ve really had a hankering for a big ole plate of liver lately…..”


“Ah…. Well, no place to go but to the ‘King of Liver’ then – let’s go!”

Who remembers pull-tabs?



Wait…. is that what you call these?  Pull-tabs?  Those metal rings with a finger-hole, and a small attached piece of metal from the top of a drink can….. right?  Pull tabs?  Aluminum cans used to have these, they came completely off the top of the can, a separate piece.  Now, you just push down on the top of the can, poking the piece of metal and whatever was on top of it into your drink……


I swear, the last time I can remember seeing these was sometime in the mid 80’s maybe??  We had a dear friend that when he drank beer from a can, he’d toy with the pulltab thing, eventually cutting his fingers…. crazy.  And, I’ve been told stories about college kids that literally had so many of these that they made long strands of them, bending one piece over the other, and had enough to make doorway curtains out of them!


So – when was the last time you saw one of these??  Me?  Last week…. <smile>