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Greetings to everyone from the really HOT south!

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DavidH

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Greetings, all!

I just wanted to pop in and say hi since I haven't been able to check the board lately (3450 unread posts) and say hello from the very hot middle east. Temps are 45 C with 60-80 percent humidity. It's the first time I've ever simply walked outside and had my sunglasses immediately fog over for a few minutes.

On the bright side, my friend back in the states is reporting that all is well with my greenhouse and that one of my armeniacums has recently flowered (well out of season) and a number of micranthums are in sheath.

I've noticed a bunch of orchids down here in the UAE, but they don't like to label them. Tomorrow I will be spending the night in the desert and looking for those plate size camel spiders that are in the region. Next month, when things cool, one of the French officers I work with has promised to take me deep into the desert to find gypsum sand roses which occur naturally out here.

As far as I know, there are no naturally occuring orchids in this region, so i guess I'll have to stick with the rocks.

I doubt I'll be getting through all the unread posts in the next few minutes, but I certainly enjoy the pictures that people are posting! So a big thanks to all who've been posting!

Cheers,
-Dave
 

Marco

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Hey Dave glad to see you doing well over at the UAE. Great to hear that the plants back home are doing well too. If you can take pictures of the gypsum sand roses and the camel spiders :) so you can show us here.
 
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DavidH

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Hello again! It's the weekend, so I've got a bit of a chance to write. Sadly, the person taking me out to the desert had the starter go out on his 4 WD vehicle, so I'm stuck with having to go out in the Persian Gulf tomorrow in his boat. Sometimes life can be tough.

Eric mentioned sending a care package. Actually, Eric, I'm a special case for the military folks on base. They are severely restricted from leaving the base and even the permanent party folks (stationed on the base for 1 year) are limited to returning early each night and need a special pass to stay off-base. In my case, since I live on base but work with the UAE air force, I have flexibility to come and go whenever I need to. The two main cities, Abu Dhabi and Dubai, are very modern and have all the amenities you could need. Now, the soft drinks they sell down here are super sweet versions of the ones back home, so when I have a craving, I buy the ones at the BX on base because they are shipped in the from the states. So, while I definitely appreciate the offer, it's the guys up north that have it alot rougher. Now, I'm supposed to go to Afghanistan for two weeks on a special project, and that will be a big change, but in the meantime this is a pretty modern place to be stationed.

For example, Dubai currently has 1/3 of the world's cranes with 500 tours currently under construction including the world's tallest. It has the third largest/busiest deep water port behind Hong Kong and Taiwan. There are currently around 4.8 million people in the UAE, with 1.2 million being local Emiratis. When I'm downtown, I'm mixed in with a bunch of caucasians from all over. The dominant majority of people are from India and Pakistan. Last week in Dubai, I drove into an older area of town to visit the Dubai Museum, made a wrong turn, and was surrounded by about 1,000 Indians/Pakistani's as they were coming and going from the Carrefour (a french version of Walmart). And I'm not joking about the number of people...it was just a sea of people going back and forth and about 99% male. Although I never felt threatened, I admit to a bit of nervousness at being surrounded by so many people of different nationality and only able to move at a snails pace due to the large numbers crossing the street in front of me.

I feel safer here than I do in many parts of the U.S. Crime is very low. There is a definite 'caste' system with Emiratis on the top, US and Western Europeans next, then Eastern Europeans, and finally the Indians/Pakistanis/Indonesians/Thais.

Well, that's just a little update on what's here in the UAE. Yes, I'm missing my greenhouse, but I purchased a bunch of houseplants to put into my room on base because it was way too sterile (they make our rooms out of shipping containers). Last week was my first front seat sortie in one of their fighter aircraft, so now that I'm back in the cockpit I'm happier.

Having lived in places like Alamogordo, NM, Osan, Korea, Ismalayia, Egypt, Victorville, CA, Valdosta, GA, and my second time back in the UAE, I've learned that you can have just as much fun in places that don't have all the amenities you're accustomed to as long as your willing to learn to change your lifestyle and be flexible to change.

But I'm still trying to find someone in this country who has a greenhouse and grows orchids.
 

SlipperFan

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You've probably heard this a thousand times, but stay safe, and good luck on all your missions. Including finding another orchidist over there...
 

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