The problem with being busy is that so much happens before you can write about it and then you don't know where to start. Monday morning we played a concert for the Men's Campus of Zayed University. Generally colleges here have men's and women's campuses, and more women attend than men. We were also told that the women would generally be better audiences, but in this case they were really engaged and just generally warm and welcoming. After Katherine's debut on Summertime, one of the men actually shouted "that was great!" from the audience, which is pretty darn cool. Unfortunately, as we were walking to the van following the performance I noticed that the heel on my shoe was broken and hanging by a thread! Nooooo! I had no choice but to go the the mall that's attached to our hotel (yes, really) and buy a new pair.
Monday night we played a very well attended and well received concert under the auspices of the US Ambassador to UAE at the Intercontinental in Abu Dhabi. Prior to the concert several of us were interviewed by both American and Arabic journalists about our mission as a group and our impression of UAE. I had to be honest and say I thought it was a complete spectacle... The biggest! The fastest! The tallest! The most expensive! The heaviest! But I was also honest when I said that so far every Emerati that I've met has been really well spoken and nice. A little too nice sometimes, it became hard to enjoy the fabulous food at the reception following the concert. Never fear, though, where there's a will theres a way and our intrepid heroine managed to stuff herself with several platefuls of savory nibblies and a few too many desserts.
We reluctantly (and with bleary eyes) checked out of the Beach Rotana on Tuesday morning and began the drive to Al Fujairah where we played a master class/concert for a co-ed group. The men arrived later than the women and I had a good chance to study the abayas pretty closely as we all waited. Stravinsky said limitations breed creativity, and I would say this crowd was an excellent example of that statement. It's amazing what you can do with all black (or mostly all black) and oh the shoes and purses! My favorite moment came when the women in the front row were asked to move back so the men could sit there (ostensibly because the women are shy and generally don't want to sit in front of rowdy and potentially obnoxious young men.) One woman looked up sweetly and said, "but we can't see from the back" and they all held their ground. It was pretty awesome, and I told them so. The one on the end just winked at me.
A several hour drive later found us in Ras Al Khaimah at the Cove Rotana. Holy smokes. My room was on the water and had a private swimming pool on the deck. The resort is so massive you need golf carts to get you anywhere, it's quite a sight. A girl could get used to this life!