Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Royal Dinner

WOW! I just returned from the most amazing dinner. Tonight Keith, Kristin and the rest of their conference participants boarded a small bus (like the ones in Muscatine) and went to the newest hotel in Dubai, The Palm Hyatt, for dinner.

It is a VERY nice hotel and Kristin says it is only 6 months old. It even SMELLED new.

Anyway, Kristin let me come along for the ride in her purse because she knew it was going to be an important night. Guess what? I was watching from Kristin’s purse when she and Keith met His Royal Highness Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. Wow….that is a long name!

Why was this so special? The Sheikh is the Minister of Information for the United Arab Emirates. More importantly, he is a member of the royal family that governs this country. K eith says his brother is the Crown Prince of UAE. Yes, I got to see royalty tonight!

This was a very formal meeting. We had to wait in a lounge at the hotel for the Sheikh to arrive. When he did arrive everyone stood and he shook everyone’s hand. Then people gathered around to hear him speak. It was just like in the movies. I couldn’t believe it! Kristin said it was "surreal." I don't know what that means but it was cool!

I wish I had a picture to show you but Kristin said it would have been very rude to ask the Sheikh for a photo. After seeing how people acted around him, I could tell he was special. So I think Kristin was right about not taking the photo.

The Sheikh spent at least 20 minutes talking about things I don’t understand. Keith told me much of the talk was about the politics of the Arab region. He also told me it was OK if I didn’t completely understand because Keith says the politics of the region can be very confusing. Whew!

Afterwards, the Sheikh hosted a dinner for the conference group. I have never seen so much food in my entire life. Kristin said there was lamb, beef, chicken, and every kind of vegetable you could imagine on the table. And that was just the start. Kristin said they served the best lemon cheesecake she has ever tasted and lots of other sweet treats.

We didn’t leave the dinner until well after midnight. I was SO tired that I fell asleep on the way back to our hotel. So Kristin kindly tucked me into bed with my stuffed Camel.

By the way, I haven’t decided on a name for my new camel. Perhaps you can help me come up with a name when I return home.

Until next time…..