Dates: Desert Fruit

Out here in the land of hot sands, the Date is king of fruits. The date tree thrives in the hot and humid weather of the middle east. I am no expert on this tree, but in my observation, the people here prize this tree so much that if you happen to be unfortunate enough to accidentally kill one these trees, you are in for a really hefty fine.

The date fruit is sweet, very sweet and chewy especially those that are already way into the ripening stage. There are many varieties of the date fruit. The fruit is available all year round and one can purchase these in the supermarkets anywhere in the Emirates. The fruit doesn’t rot (I guess). Because the more advanced in the ripening stage it gets, the sweeter and better it tastes. There are a lot of date trees that are planted in the Emirates. Several of these trees can be found planted along the roads and in the parks. There is even a dates festival wherein dates of every variety are displayed and sold throughout the festival. (Shown above are dates served that are already very ripe. And no, salt and pepper are definitely not added).

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Wife and Mother

It’s mother’s day! We all rush to greet our mothers. And amidst all this mad rush to greet our mothers, hopefully, we will not forget the “mother” who will be with us throughout our lives after we have “outgrown” our biological mothers. And who am I referring to? It is no other than our wives, the mother of our children.  And for some of us, the replacement for our biological mother.

I am struggling here. I am struggling to find the right words to honor my wife for her role as mother to my children and wife to me. I was hoping that a bunch of flowers would do that for me. Or, maybe a dinner date and a kiss goodnight to recall our dating days. I know that she would be thrilled and would love those gestures. So what is preventing me from actually showing those gestures if I know it would make her happy? Nothing, really, except my own selfish laziness. In that case, I might just do it.

What if I made the wrong decision in marrying another woman? I am sure I wouldn’t be as happy as I am now. And the opening statement of this paragraph already assumes that I made the right decision in marrying my wife. And which, I am proud to say, is absolutely true! I am truly a happily-married man and that is owing, of course, to the fact that I married the right woman. I am sure my children are happy as well for that fact.

Is their mother great? You bet she is! My oldest son wouldn’t even hesitate to say that his mother is one of the most beautiful mothers around. And he is very protective of his mother. He is “protecting” her for his father. He believes (must be deep in his heart) that his mother is so attractive that other men might find it hard to resist her beauty. So, oldest son to the rescue! He would stay by his mother’s side so that other men would know that she has a son, and therefore, very much married. This rubs off to his younger brother, too. Both of them would take turns protecting their mother. My older son would even “advise” her not to wear “inappropriate” dress so that other men will not cast meaningful glances at her.

Now, why would he act this way? What prompted him to think in such manner? There is only one explanation, I believe. He loves his mother so much, that’s why. There is simply no other explanation. He wants to protect his mother because he loves her and he wants her to stay happy with their father (credit to me, I guess). He and his younger brother believe that their mother is meant only for their father and that their father is meant only for their mother and they are meant to be together and live happily ever after… with them in tow, of course.

This speaks a lot about the kind of mother that they have. A loving but strict mother. She is not only a mother but also a friend. A mother that they can be proud of. A mother that they can talk to about their personal lives and not be afraid of ridicule. A mother who will nurture their talents and encourage them to excel. A mother who can be strict at times and yet they know that it is for their own good. A mother who will teach them the basics in life like cooking and ironing their clothes and washing dishes. A mother who will actually laugh at their jokes! They couldn’t ask for more, from a mother. And I can see that they are absolutely happy for it.

What applies to them, applies to me as well (well, up to a certain extent). I couldn’t ask for more from a wife. Anyone who looks at me walking with my wife would definitely exclaim silently, what a lucky man I am! I wouldn’t even try to tell them otherwise. Because truly I am the luckiest married man I will ever know. You know why? That is because I married my wife. And that’s a fact my children will definite agree 100%. I just hope that my wife feel that same way, too. But I have a positive feeling that she does. Because until now, after thirteen years of marriage, she still looks absolutely great. This speaks a lot about her family life. Don’t blame me for that. She does a lot of effort to keep it that way. I would definitely give her most of the credit. She deserves it. And, oh, I’m off to buy some flowers!

At the 124th Floor of Burj Khalifa

We headed to Dubai last April 27 to have the chance to be part of a world record. We went up to the 124th floor of Burj Khalifa, presently the tallest building in the world. My whole family and some close friends were with us to savor the opportunity. Who knows, a few months from now, we may not be here in the U.A.E. anymore. And the Burj Khalifa will surely be overshadowed as the world’s tallest building sooner rather than later. So, for a few hours “At the Top” we were part of the record-breaking building.

At the lobby, you will see this replica of the Burj Khalifa

At the bottom of the replica, you will see the relevant records of the building.

At the elevator lobby ready to go way up to the 124th floor!

My son Theo enjoying the Digital Telescope

My family at the 124th floor

Together with our friends

Dubai from the top of Burj Khalifa (124th floor)

A stranger in wheelchair enjoying the view

As you go out of the building, there is this hallway with a gallery of the people involved in the project.

Burj Khalifa from outside