We had plans with another family today to go out to Saadiyat Island , which is about fifteen minutes from downtown Abu Dhabi, but feels worlds away: big empty beach, no tall buildings, very few people.

I woke up this morning to this:

I’ve seen the iPhone iOracle predict clouds for Abu Dhabi; I’ve seen it predict flames licking the roof of hell, in late July, when the temperatures go upwards of 45C, 46C, 47C (112, 113, 114); but I’ve never seen it predict rain.

And after my sleep-fogged brain realized it was looking at a forecast for rain, I realized what the noise was outside my still-shaded windows: rain, splattering against the glass.

Ah the irony, right? The one day in months and months we actually plan a beach day…oh how the weather gods must have chuckled.

But we had the last laugh. We braved the mist and clouds, and were rewarded for our efforts:

Lovely.  My reward for finishing NaBloPoMo – a blog post a day – and for honoring the promise I made to my mom, of keeping her company in going cheese-free. (Full disclosure: she fell of the wagon on election night, when it was clear the good guys were going to win; and I had one little run-in with a gooey, stinky, rosemary-wrapped Boucheron. But mostly we stayed off the hard stuff.)  Not sure why, in the long run, we went cheese-free, but at least we proved to ourselves that we can, in fact, live without cheese. Life just isn’t quite as interesting.

Driving home from the beach, we saw all decorations up for National Day:  the city’s buildings are wrapped in lights and the cars are wrapped in images of Sheikh Zayed and the colors of the UAE flag – it’s all very festive and vaguely Christmasy because of the red and green everywhere. The country is a whopping 41 years old on Sunday and people are planning picnics and parades in celebration.

I just hope it doesn’t rain.