This has been another weekend of firsts for me. First, I spent two hours being pampered at a spa on Friday morning. Then, today (Saturday) I swam in my first open water race. Between the crystal blue skies, the great prices on spa services and being told I’m beautiful ten times a day (from my students)…it is going to be very hard to leave here.
Last week I found an ad in a local magazine for 20% of all spa services at Tips & Toes here in Al Ain. So I decided to treat myself, why pass up a discount?! I got a pedicure (with nail polish), a hair cut and my eyebrows threaded, all for under $45 USD. It was a glorious and relaxing morning. The eyebrow threading was an interesting experience. I was nervous it was going to be painful, but it wasn’t at all. Eyebrow threading is very traditional in this part of the world and is not even close to expensive (like in the US). My eyebrows have never looked this good! Notice in the picture, the sign on the door to the spa…
A spent the remainder of the day, cleaning my house and running errands. I purchased a air purifier that I hope will help with the cigarette and shisha smoke that is coming into my apartment through the vents. I also purchased a kitchen contraption that is a microwave and an oven. Never, ever did I think that I would have a machine that would reheat my food and bake cakes. Now I just need to find my favorite gluten free flours and I’ll be all set!
Last Saturday, I noticed a nice road bike at my gym. The owner of the bike is a really nice guy who works at the Rugby Club (where I am now a member). We talked a bit about riding bikes in the UAE and racing. He mentioned that there was a running and swimming biathlon coming up and said I should do it. “But I don’t run,” I told him. Of course that wasn’t a good enough excuse. He said, “I know someone who needs a partner to swim so she can run”. And just like that I was entered into my first team biathlon.
Today was race day. Not only was this my first biathlon, but it was also my first open water swimming event. Being inexperienced, I started out at the back of the swim, and quickly realized my mistake. I spent the first 200 meters weaving in and out of slower swimmers, but once I got around the first buoy it was smooth water. I swam two legs of 400 meters and my partner, a very friendly woman from South Africa, ran two legs of 2.5km. We finished 2nd in the teams competition! We did the whole race in 44min 20sec. It was a very successful first biathlon, if I do say so myself. We were given water bottles before the race started and as a prize for our 2nd place finish we got a travel mug, key chain and a free surf or kayak lesson at Al Ain’s Wadi Adventure (where the race was held).
It has been a great weekend. I’m looking forward to the upcoming week. Last week our bell schedule was different every single day. Will be interesting to see what’s in store for this week!