Sunday, September 25, 2005

Dubai Revisited

On my visit to Dubai (return to Iraq) I noted again the interesting architecture. Dubai will soon be home to the world’s largest airport (you wouldn’t believe the size of this thing) and perhaps the world’s largest skyscraper. They are building like gangbusters here…

Shooting to be the world’s favorite resort destination, enterprising investors are building “Dubai Festival City,” a place with shopping and spas and sports and schools--everything you could ever want to visit in one place. You can get a great job teaching English there and make lots of money while living in an exotic place! The Middle-East in general is really sprouting, perhaps in sympathy with the new stability promised by the removal of Saddam, for example. You will probably hear more and more about Dubai from other sources…did I mention Michael Jackson is there?
Dubai Youth Posted by Picasa

Caught these boys playing soccer barefoot on the beach at sunset...
Dubai buildings Posted by Picasa

more interesting skylines...
Building Dubai Posted by Picasa

It was very hot and muggy here this time, most of the hard work like construction goes on at night, and there is plenty of it!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

It all happened so fast...

I am overcome! Everyone has been so good to me. As I have traveled a bit thru the American West to meet friends old and new, I have been met with a buffet of love, hope, and concern for us over there in Iraq. So many mention their prayers on behalf of those of us over in Iraq and the work we are doing the moment we meet. I have no doubt that is in great part why we are so safe and in many cases so successful over there.

California itself loved me. The weather was perfect. Not the swelter of Summer, nor the chill of Fall, but temperature so perfect sometimes it couldn‘t be felt. Sunsets glimmered off the ocean in gold and hues of rose as el Sol slipped into his slumber. Only on the day I left did darkening clouds appear: the skies wept and the thunder seemed to roll out its lament. Fate itself appeared to become a willing accomplice in a home-trip come true.

Yes, I guess you could say the reprieve from the desert of Iraq has been nothing short of reviving and inspiring. Gotta love those purple mountain majesties, amber waves of grain, and fast-food drive-thrus in this great home of the brave, land of the free. Did I mention my awesome fellow country-men?

I was able to give a multitude of personal "presentations" and one formal slide-show presentation on the conditions I knew in Iraq. The questions were the same: Why did you go? (or WHAT POSSESSED YOU???) What’s the real story? How are we perceived?

I was proud to report: The Iraqis are beginning to trust that we will stay and not abandon them to their enemies. They are learning we are helpers, not plunderers. Their gratitude is less cautious and more mixed with optimism for a whole different future. The morale of “the troops” is up as we are finally starting to see some reciprocation and results of our efforts in building and training in this newly freed land (in the fine arts of democracy and the free market). The world’s investors show their understanding as well; billions and billions flow into this once forsaken land in hopeful enterprise.

It’s not all roses yet, of course! But you’ve already heard the bad. This, as an old favorite would say, is the rest of the story! As for why I went? For the adventure, of course! Now it continues…
One of my first stops back in the States Posted by Picasa
Why we live in CA Posted by Picasa
Patriotism Posted by Picasa

In Southern California particularly I saw many "Support our Troops" ribbon stickers on lots of cars. Here at the light both cars had two of them. Almost everyone I met mentioned first that they are praying for us over here. God bless Americans!
My last California Sunset for another year Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 11, 2005

In America

So, it’s been a year. That’s right, if you check the very first archive, I flew out of Houston after a week of training on September 4th. My year contract in Iraq has been fulfilled. Sorry I haven’t written sooner, I’m not dead, but I'm very busy trying to relax!

And yes, I’ve enjoyed the experience so much that I signed up for a second year.

In a way, my trip home for the first time in a year is treasure and torture. There is no way I can see all my friends and family. I have only 15 days “in country.” Renew a driver's license, see my optometrist, mail myself a few sets of clothes and take care of some other things all divide my ever-so-short time.

I am made aware again how complicated with little things the American life is, so tedious after the simple life afforded in Iraq. But the good food and good people make it so worth it. It took me an hour or so to remember and fall in love with San Diego all over again. But fall I did!

Listening to the news, it’s hard to believe that people with so much, compared to those in Iraq, for example, can be so negative about life in America. We have become accustomed to great blessings most people of the earth do not enjoy. Including the right to criticize our advantages, I guess!

But so far, I myself am having a very good time. Many old acquaintances and friends and even strangers, when they find out where I just came from, tell me how they are praying for myself and the others in Iraq. I am very grateful and proud that so many Americans consider and care for our efforts there. I still think the world is in really good hands if the kind of Americans I’ve been meeting are here; gracious, concerned, generous, and hopeful, and helpful. Love you guys!
great friends Posted by Picasa

Some of my great friends picked me up from the airport in the perfect kind of transportation for San Diego weather. Of course, it was a chilly 78 degrees...
San Diego fires 2005 Posted by Picasa

Perhaps the gods of war wanted me to feel at home because the day after I arrived, parts of San Diego caught on fire again. Fortunately, this time the fires were quickly stopped before they could spread. This is the view from my sister's backyard.
Provo Canyon, skate-path (UT) Posted by Picasa

Took a VERY quick trip to Utah to see family and there I long-boarded down Provo Canyon, just in time to catch the colors of Fall! Someone upstairs loves me.