Friday, March 10, 2006

Al Ain Mozart Concert

Hello Dear Friend

It's a few weeks since I've posted, so I thought I'd give you an update on the Al Ain Mozart Concert that has been on this weekend (our weekend - Wednesday evening through Friday evening). It's part of the Dubai Music Festival which runs through March. Al Ain was fortunate enough to have the Vienna Cabinet Orchestra visit and give us some good old Mozart. Not exactly my type of music, but it was never the less a pleasant evening ... more in a minute.

Four or five hundred people from all over attended and as part of the package the Emirates Natural History Group (of which Chris and I are members) was involved providing trips to different culturally significant venues. Chris accompanied some people to one of the many wadis (gorges) with nearby palm plantations. I took the Belgian Ambassador to the UAE and his wife, an advisor to Shaikh Al Nayhan, Ruler of Dubai and President of the UAE and his wife (an American nurse) to Jebel Hafit Tombs at the base of the Jebel Hafit (Mountain). We left at about 8 am and returned around midday to a free lunch at the Al Ain Intercontinental Hotel.

The tombs are three to five thousand years old (pre-islamic) and still of the original construction. The skeletal remains were removed many years ago, but the mounds are still interesting. There are seven of them in the area and apparently were used by the inhabitants of nearby Mezyad. They are called "Beehive Graves" for obvious reasons and each carried numerous bodies, perhaps 20-30. The ground is too hard to dig and of course the sand blows away.

We both had a wonderful day talking with our visitors. In the evening we drove to the Jahili Fort in Al Ain (over the other side of tthe city ... it's a very large city) where we attended the Mozart Concert. The conductor, a Japanese fellow, made the show as he introduced each of Mozart's arias with humour, passion and interesting stories. Not one for classical music, I thought it would be a drag, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. One or two of the Austrian ladies were easy on the optic nerve, which helped.

The fort was decked out with lighting around the castellated towers and looked really great. Emirati Nationals had been deployed to deliver us coffee and dates, which were also nice. One of the Shaiks attended. Apparently they are spreading it around all of the Shaiks. They fly into the Al Ain Museum by Air Force helicopter and get driven to Jahili Fort.

Anyway, all told, we had a thoroughly delightful day and crashed when we got home. Chris spent today accompanying some members of the orchestra to the Hanging Gardens and I stayed home to do some much needed maintenance work on my website. Back to work tomorrow.

We are both looking forward to our holiday from 17 Jun 06 until 19 Aug 06. Chris plans to return in early April and I'll fly out the day I finish work on 14 Jun. We will spend several weeks at home and then are off to the Gold Coast, Canada, Rome and somewhere else on our way back. Haven't finalised it yet.

Hope this finds you well.

Every best wish

Robin and Christina