It's been awhile since we last posted so we figured we better provide an update just to prove we're alive...
10 Year Anniversary - February 24, 2017
December & January in Saudi Arabia
Well, we made it through our first winter in the desert!
It is amazing how quickly you get climatized to temperature. We both know cold, having grown up in Saskatchewan and Ontario, but living 8 years in Vancouver turned us into wimps when it came to winter temperatures. 3 years in Winnipeg and 3 years in Edmonton changed that. After our summer heat here, we knew that we would find it tough when we eventually transition back to Canada or the US. Our average temperature May-October was around 35 celsius, with many days in July-Sept between 40 & 50. We dropped down in January to highs of 15-18 which felt cold. I know that sounds stupid when we are used to way colder winter temperatures in Canada, but we have indeed turned into official pussies. We had a day where the low was 3 degrees too. No snow, however. We did miss all the rain and flooding while away in the Caribbean. Saudi didn't plan for any drainage and they can flood quite easily.
The good news - today was 32 degrees and it's still in the high twenties at 7PM.
So, what did we do over Dec-Jan?
There was a great Christmas brunch put on at our compound restaurant with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, etc. Jeff worked on the 25th and that week so wasn't staying out too late. He also worked on Jan 1st so our New Years was pretty lame. We made up for it, though, with a few trips to Bahrain. Enjoyed some pool time, cocktails, and some amazing meals. Found some great restaurants - Calexico (good Mexican food) and a South African restaurant called Meat Co. that has the best steak we've ever had.
On that note - Lisa is now eating and even craving steak. Also gin & tonic. WOW! Maybe sushi is next (fingers crossed).
We also enjoyed some cocktails around the fire pit at some friends homes. We just bought one for our back yard. Oh ya, we also moved into a bigger villa - enjoying it...a few steps from our pool!
We also got in a few rounds of golf, taking advantage of the cooler weather. It's enjoyable golfing when you're not sweating from 40+ degree weather with 90%+ humidity!
Lots of evenings were spent playing pool, BBQ'ing, and having cocktails outside by the swimming pools.
Lisa has been very busy - jogging, spin class, strength training keeps her going in the morning. Setting up the new place and keeping it clean keeps her occupied in the afternoon. She has been very busy researching and trying new recipes as well.
Jeff was busy with getting certified for his courses. He's now working on Project Management Essentials, which will make 100% certified for all the courses his team teaches. Others include 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Situational Leadership, Leadership Challenge, Introduction to Leadership Challenge, and Motivating Employees.
Here are a few pics from our "Saudi Winter"...
T&A Sunglasses Travel Group 2017 - Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
WOW! You can not believe how excited we were for this trip! Every year, the T&A trip is a classic, but this one was over the top! 27 great friends all gathered for an amazing trip! We met up with all of these awesome friends (in order of # of T&A trips):
- Mark & Gayle (from Kansas City, MO)
- Anita (Edmonton, AB)
- Vern & Noreen (Humboldt, SK)
- Jeff & Nicole (Vancouver, BC)
- Tami (Asheville, NC)
- Heather (Indianapolis, IN)
- Rob & Khole-Ann (Calgary, BC)
- The Chart (Edmonton, AB)
- Avi, Michele, Mya, Jade (Calgary, AB)
- Shane & Sara (Edmonton, AB)
- Dan ("Dusty Rider") & Marilyn (Chilliwack, BC)
- Nicole & her 2 daughters (Calgary, AB)
- John (Indianapolis, IN)
- Jen (Asheville, NC)
We also met some great new friends from Alberta, Ontario and PEI - hopefully they will join us next year! Let's make T&A2018 the biggest group yet! Save up now and start buying your sunglasses, masks, and kick ass mullets!
Anita from HR was also there to hand out violations (penalty = a shooter) for anyone ordering drinks at the swim-up bar without wearing the sunglasses.
A few great excursions...
Damajagua Waterfalls in Imbert - after an amazing 45 minute hike up the mountain, we jumped into the cold water - many cliff jumps and slides later, we all had an amazing time. The Chart even donated some extra money when her pocket ripped and a few fifties floated away. She's loaded anyway so she wasn't worried.
Sosua - always a win! Great beach and water. Snorkelling. Beach shrimp & fruit. Boat rides. Boogie boarding. Shopping. Massages (almost saw Vern get 'the complete' right in front of us). Set a beach record as well with 127 beers purchased. I blame that on Mark. Oh ya, and Gayle got pounded by a wave and lost her sunglasses. We all watched. Then laughed. Then went to see if she was OK. She was. Her glasses...not so much.
Here are some pics. Amazing times with amazing friends.
Miami - Feb.26-28, 2017
We stopped in Miami on our way back home. This is our 4th time here and one of our favourite cities. South Beach is one of the most amazing places for people watching. Great shopping. Great food. Great drinks. Great friends. Señor Frogs will never be the same!
Upcoming Travel - 2017
We've finally got some travel plans confirmed for the upcoming year - looking forward to some adventures to new places, some bucket list items, and our first visit back to CANADA since we moved.
March 30-April 3 - Prague, Czech Republic. Hearing lots of great things about this city. It's supposed to be clean and have lots of amazing architecture, combined with great and cheap beer. We've already booked into a beer spa (pictured below) and will do a city tour/castle visit the next day. Apparently, Prague has overtaken Amsterdam in terms of wild parties & clubs and is now the 'go to' spot for stags and stagettes. We will be the judge of how wild this place is. Stay tuned!
June 23-28 - Amsterdam. There's not too much that is not legal here. 5 days of fun on the way home. Enough said!
June 28-July 17 - Canada/US. Heading home to see friends and family, as well as some work colleagues. Will fly into Calgary and are hoping to make it to Regina for Canada Day to see the Riders open up their new stadium with a win over Winnipeg. Also looking to visit friends/family in Edmonton and family in Shaunavon and/or Vernon to see Dad, Arn, and the new nephew. Then off to the cottage at Whitefish, Montana for July 9-16. A week with friends and some R&R and B&B. You know what R&R is, and should now know that B&B is Beer & Bacon. Jeff flies back on the 17th via Seattle and Dubai. Lisa heads off to Ontario to see her Mom on the way back. Can't wait to see family and the best friends in the world!
August 30-September 9 - Kenya African Safari. Super excited to cross this off our bucket list. We are going to Kenya to see the Great Migration. We see a few sites in Nairobi, including an elephant orphanage and a restaurant called Carnivore, where you can eat zebra, giraffe, ostrich, and other wild game. Then we cross the equator and do a couple days safari. Then on to the Masai Mara to witness the Great Migration, which is considered to be the best game park in Africa and the greatest spectacle in the animal kingdom. We stay in open air tents for three nights and get to do a hot air balloon ride over the animals. Should be freakin' incredible!
Here are a few pics:
October 30-November 8 - Vacation time is booked but no plans yet. Options on the table include London, Ireland, Maldives, Thailand. Will wait to see.
T&A 2018 - looking to make this the biggest one yet. Will have an executive call soon to finalize details. Looking to make this the biggest one yet. February in Negril, Jamaica?? Stay tuned.
Well, it's time to get packed - we're heading to Bahrain this weekend to the Sofitel resort for brunch to celebrate a friend's birthday and to celebrate Paddy's Day with some Guinness and bacon. All you can eat, all you can drink, Paddy's Day. Trouble! Pics to come!
Stay tuned for the next post in early April with some pics and stories from Prague. Hope everyone is doing well! Cheers and love from the land of sun & sand...J&L
All posts are updated by Jeff & Lisa