An Embarrassment of Riches; Defined and Distinguished; Conversations from the Pool; Free Tickets to Expo Carelessly Refused: How Far is Mecca From Here?; Breakfast Pandemonium; Back to Room Meeting Fabulous Next Door Neighbor; Great Day with MAD Accomplishing Everything; Photo of Loving Note, Jimmy Choo Bag; Wedding Dress (not yet or maybe never)

At this moment in time, here at the JW Marriott Marques I am suffering from an embarrassment of riches. What does that expression mean and where does it come from?” It is an overabundance of something. This term originated in 1738 as John Ozell’s translation of a French play, L’Embarras des richesses (1726). It was translated to English by John Ozell and opened in London in 1738. Normally, this idiom has a negative connotation. It means that someone has so many good things that it is a problem. A similar expression is too much of a good thing.”

But that is not exactly what I mean. This embarrassment of riches is not too much of a good thing – but it is so massive as to be unbelievable. The truly wonderful people that surround me, people of every age, every nationality, every sex (well, there are only two here, other places more, but not in a Muslim country).

Got up early this morning and off to the pool to do morning exercises. In the pool performing similar exercises met a wonderful woman – truly inspiring. She lives in New York, is a retired woman of the theatre – not only made a living from a profession not known for renumeration but made enough money to educate her son. He is a lawyer, a graduate of NYU. She is here with a tour group because she did not feel like making travel arrangements and reservations.
She: I usually travel independently but I am meeting the nicest people on this tour!
Me: Good for you! To find new ways of travel. I travel independently but when I go to Mecca, for example, I do think I will go with a tour group with an experienced guide.

We had the greatest of chats, discovering that we had so much in common. We cannot believe what has happened with our women peers.
She: I cannot believe women of my age. We were once so powerful, we of the Women’s Movement. Now they are inward, complaining, jealous, victims and impossible to be around.
Me: I so agree. I now live in Marin County, where I lived from 1973-2014. I have no friends of my age, they are threatened by me because I dared to do something different in my old age. They just want the old days back – I want to make new days and I AM. Getting away from the old ways, moving on. Coming to the UAE to live, with my fame so recently hard won.

We promised to see one another, the next day and the next day after that, in the early morning at the swimming pool. It opens at 7 am and it is such a delight – the temperature cool, the birds sing, it is so peaceful.

Then along came Michael who was slightly late this morning. He comes to swim, I cannot swim but he is encouraging me to take lessons. He proved his encouragement by giving me ear plugs and a nose plug. He got two from Amazon.
He: I do not need two. I will give you one.
Me: Thank you! I promise to take swimming lessons to honor this gift you gave me.

Michael loves, simply loves, seeking out bargains and getting things for free.
He: I know how to get free tickets for Expo
Me: I do not care! I am not going to Expo now as it is too crowded. I will wait until I return. It is on until March. So do not tell me.
He: Ok I will not! But the free tickets are for the entire duration.
Me: Oops I am sorry! Now I will listen.
He: Nope. Too late.
Me: I will see you tomorrow and will say I am sorry again and perhaps I can convince you.
He: Maybe.

So it was off for breakfast – late for me. It was a madhouse – an utter madhouse. People waiting in line to get into Kitchen 1 – closed beyond belief. I walked out suffering from indigestion almost because of all the pandemonium.
Me: Come at 6 in the morning everyone standing in line. It is most peaceful then. No lines, time to think, time to converse.

That was rather stupid of me to do. If they do then it will be too crowded then. But they won’t (I hope).

I got in the elevator to come back to the room, after stopping on the ground floor to ask the concierge how far it was to Saudi Arabia and Mecca.
Me: I am geographically challenged. Please tell no one I asked this question.
He: I will not Alexis.
He told me in kilometers. I think I will need to fly there. I am positive there are flights, so no worries. I need to get settled back here in the UAE before I go. A couple met at the pool volunteered to make my reservations and even pay my way. But then they disappeared. Oh well! They wanted me to come right now but that would be too difficult.

I got on the elevator and there was another woman on the elevator (and a grouchy man who got off on an earlier floor).
Me: We are on the same floor.
She: We are! We are right next door to one another.
Me: That is amazing. Are you here on business?
She: Yes I am.
We then exchanged cards. Me with my blog card and she, (honest to goodness) says her business card, is from the Syrian Arab Republic and is the Aviation Security Director.
Me: OMG I am so proud of you! A woman, an Engineer, an Aviation Security Director!
She: I am so proud of you and what you have done in your life and continue to do!
Me: And we are right next door to one another. What a coincidence!!!!

We have an adjoining door and tried to get access but it did not work. I knocked on her door, she had to leave for a meeting in five minutes so it was a brief and laughing Hi.

The man who has provided the most gracious and organized service was in my room. We finally got to meet. I praised and thanked him for his work. He thoroughly organizes me which such care. My shoes, my make up brushes are organized. He leaves me loving notes, one of which shall be photographed and you shall see.
Me: What country are you from? How long have you been here in Dubai?
He: Six months. I am from Nepal.
Me: Oh my goodness! After my right knee replacement surgery I had a care giver from Nepal. She was an incredible gift, She nursed me back to health – not only the knee but an attempt upon my life had left me exhausted and spent. She babied me, I so needed it. My recovery so swift because of her.

But I do have a life outside of this hotel. Yesterday MAD arrived and what a day!!!! First it was to Barclay’s Bank, where Michael was SO helpful and all of my banking woes have disappeared. It is not as easy as it looked and was misleading but with his help I am more than fine. Then we went to get new blog cards. I had run out (or almost). The new ones are better in every way (with help from MAD). Then came the grandest of all missions: to find me a new pair of Jimmy Choo shoes. It was off to the Dubai Mall (did not want to go there but it was necessary). That place is HUGE. We FINALLY found the Jimmy Choo store – I was exhausted, usually MAD a great guide but he kept getting lost. But the store found. They did not have a replacement shoe but got a different pair which you will see some day (if you are lucky).

Then I went to lunch (with MAD but he did not eat). It was at GIA, an Italian Restaurant. I had Risotto and Ossobocco. It was absolutely delicious!!!
Me: I can make this dish. All this and I can cook too. I was once called the Risotto Queen. But I hate the chef because his is better than mine.
Waiter: (laughed and laughed and laughed).

Then later back at the hotel had oysters on the half shell and French Fries for snack instead of dinner. It was great! I will go back there again. Sitting at the bar were two Canadian men – we had the best of conversations. It was SO much fun.

That is all for today. Photographs of Jimmy Choo bag, loving note and a potential wedding dress from St, Johns at Dubai Mall. The woman said that sleeves can be added so it can meet Muslim traditions. But there is no groom in sight. That is OK with me. Thought I sighted one but I got away. Hahaha

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