Lori Bayer, Linda Finch and Ray Schulhauser in front of Barj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. Photo courtesy of Linda Finch

As promised last month I did go to Dubai and the United Arab Emirates.  It was my first time in the Middle East and quite an eye opener.  After all, this is an area which until 50 years ago was made up of fishing villages, camel camps and Bedouin warriors.  Today it is home to the world’s tallest building (160 floors), the world’s largest indoor mall (at 3 min. per store it would take 3 days to hit them all), and the world’s largest single carpet (about the size )of 3 football fields, hand tied and laid out in the mosque in Abu Dubai).

The city today is an architectural dream with each building designer trying to outdo the other.  There are buildings which seem to twist, those that seem to lean, some which look like ovals and others with domes.  The Burj Al Arab hotel even looks like a full sail.  And then there is the Burj Khalifa which is 160 stories tall.  We could only go to the 124th floor but it only took 60 seconds in the elevator to do it.  The view extended far beyond the city out into the desert.

It took days just to explore the malls, not that we really did any shopping.  We went to look at the indoor ski hill at the Mall of the Emirates; the cultural sections at the Ibn Buttuta Mall which were designed to look like Egypt, China, Persia, India and Tunisia; the skating rink and massive size of the Dubai Mall where we waited to be able to see the spectacular water show
The stores included at these malls were a surprise.  We found stores and restaurants with brand names you would find at the Tacoma Mall, or any other in the US.  Added to these were favorite stores from Europe and Asia.  The grocery section could keep you occupied for hours–hamburger from Ireland, steaks from Argentina, lettuce from Iran, vegetables from Oman, etc.

The Jumeriah Mosque was open to the public for one hour and we took advantage the opportunity to see the inside and learn more about Islam.  We donned abaya, the traditional garb for women, and sat on the floor to learn.  Two women told us about their lives and beliefs, a gentleman showed us how they wash prior to praying and how they perform their prayers 5 times a day.  We saw the clock that rules the time of the prayers and learned about the prayer towers where someone calls them all to prayer. Not only was the mosque fascinating but the lecture was eye-opening.

Dinner one night was out in the desert at Bab Al Shams Desert Resort.  We drove about an hour out into the desert to find an elegant resort with a wonderful rooftop lounge.  It was here we had a cocktail and waited to see the sun set on the desert and then the stars come out so clear and crisp without all the city lights.  We continued to Al Hadheerah, a restaurant with an expansive buffet of Arabian foods some cooked on grills, some in the ground and all of it wonderful.  A cultural show followed with dancers, singers and even a pageant with a camel caravan and horseback riders.  All of this was followed by fireworks to light up the sky.

There is so much I could continue to tell about this adventure that it would take up the entire paper and there are so many things that we will be doing with Senior Adventures in the future.

Plans have been made to take an Eastern Caribbean cruise with RCCL in October on the world’s largest ship, “Allure”.  Don’t panic and think about crowds because you just don’t feel them: don’t say you have already seen the Caribbean and are therefore not interested because it is the ship that is the adventure; just join our group and come along for the fun.
After the first of the year there will be another cruise in the Caribbean but this time it will be with Princess on the “Ruby Princess” headed to St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Grand Turk.
And in the meantime we have a full summer ahead of us with Dinner Dates, Mystery Trips, Victoria, Long Beach, Leavenworth and so much more.

To find out further information or make reservations call Linda Finch at 253 927 8207 or ask to be on the email list at linda.finch@gmail.com.

March Senior Adventures

 Infinity Pool at Grand Mayan San Jose Del Cabo
Linda Finch, Peter Walker, Karen and Bill Wheeler, Mimi Graves, Paul Simons, and Jeanette Harris. Photo by: Alex Guzman. Infinity Pool at Grand Mayan San Jose Del Cabo

Snow, wind, freezing rain, ice falling off the Narrows Bridge, highways and schools closed…the pictures of winter for most.  Some chose not to participate in those pictures and took off for Baja California where the pictures were sun, sand and surf.

Los Cabos was discovered in the mid 1500s but it wasn’t until the mid 1700s that a mission was established in the town of San Jose del Cabo.  US Marines occupied the port in 1847 during the Mexican-American War and in 1917 an American company established a floating platform to catch and process tuna.  This was the start of what would become a world sport and fishing industry.  In the 1930s the first vacationers started to arrive and by the 1950s Hollywood found a new playground.  Commercial flights did not start until 1977 with the international airport opening in 1986.

The beautiful thing about Los Cabos is that it hasn’t lost that uncrowded, peaceful feeling.  It now has luxury hotels, paved highways and an international airport, which make it easier and more comfortable to experience what was found so many years ago.  There are still unspoiled stretches of white sand beaches intermingled with spacious golf courses, luxury resorts, and shops.  Historic homes now house restaurants and galleries.  A Thursday night Art Walk opens up the market square and surrounding areas for exploration; or an afternoon can be spent perusing shops to bargain for resort clothes, handicrafts, pure vanilla, bakery items, jewelry and so much more.
We stayed at the Grand Mayan Resort, an oasis next to the sea.  Condominiums all face the sea with glorious morning sunrises and spectacular sunsets.  Whales frolic just off the shore on their way back to the Pacific Northwest.  The Brio Spa has every type of massage technique you could ever want.  Lounges next to the expansive pools have umbrellas for when you wish shade or use a cabana bed to take a siesta in the afternoon.  Play bingo, learn to cook or mix a drink, do a little in-pool exercise, paint your own ceramics or while away the day with a good book.

If too much leisure is not for you then a taxi or the city bus can take you down the playas 18 miles to the city of Cabo San Lucas.  Choose a day when the cruise ships are not in port and you can enjoy wandering the streets.  This is no longer a sleepy little fishing village but a city of amazing restaurants, marvelous shops and fun around every corner.  Go to the Office where you sit in a chair in the sand to enjoy your marguerita and watch parasailers; have a luscious Caesar salad at Romeo and Juliet’s; disco at Cabo Wabo.  Walk into the back streets and see the workings of the city where the real life of the people takes place.  Visit the churches, look into the courtyards and think about a time gone by.  A beautiful picture to remember when once again you find yourself in snow and ice and wind.  Maybe you will want to run away to Los Cabos.

For information on more Senior Adventures call Linda Finch at 253 927 8207 or get on the email list at linda.finch@gmail.com.

Another year is well under way and we have many great things planned.  Instead of the regular column this month I will try to give you an insight into what those plans are.

One of the many adventure options for 2012 is a show at Teatro ZinZanni.


Seattle Restaurant Walking Tour; Dinner Date; Hawaii for 2 weeks.


Teatro ZinZanni, 7 night Eastern Caribbean Cruise, 5thAve. Theater, Dinner Date, 4 night Pacific Coastal Cruise, 2 nightVictoria, Mystery Trip, 16 night Panama Canal


Dinner Date, 5thAve Theater, Mystery Trip


Dinner Date, Museum of Communication, Mystery Trip, Milton Walker Gardens


Dinner Date, Georgetown Trailer Park Mall, Longbeach with a surprise, Mystery Trip


5th Ave. Theater, Dinner Date, 2 night Leavenworth “film festival”, Mystery Trip


Dinner Date, 1 night Crystal Mountain, Mystery Trip, 3 night Las Vegas


Dinner Date, America’s Music Cities, Mystery Trip


King Tut

Other things are in the works like Ashland for Shakespeare, a possible October cruise on the world’s largest cruise ship, and whatever else we find interesting,

For further information and/or to make reservations contact Linda Finch at 253 927 8207 or sign up for email alerts at linda.finch@gmail.com


Carl and Lea Vest at Molbaks for Christmas
Carl and Lea Vest at Molbaks for Christmas

Happy New Year. Welcome to a new year filled with new adventures for all of us.  It might just be your mind wandering away in a good book or your body joining us on a more active adventure.  Not that “active” is a very strong word for any of us.  The joy of our adventures is that they are geared to a slower level of activity.

As with most years we do not do a lot of things during the winter months.  Those are for us to stay indoors to be safe and warm.  Occasionally we wander out but for the most part the roads are slick, the wind is blowing and our winter coats are too heavy for our bodies to hold up.

We do start the year off with a trip in January that you have been reading about.  A small group has taken up the offer of going to Panama without going on a long cruise.  They will depart on Feb. 23 for this wonderful adventure showing them Panama in much greater depth.  A stay in Panama City; out into the rainforest; a full day cruise to the locks; and ending with a beach resort.

Those of us who really want to get out of the cold and start our warm weather a little early are leaving on March 11 for two weeks on Oahu, the north shore of the island.  We have rented houses and truly plan on relaxing and staying warm.  We will take short adventures to the Arizona Memorial; the surfing beaches, the new Disney resort, Turtle Bay and the local hangouts.  It won’t be hard for us to fit in with the general public and “chill”.

Two cruises are available in April: the first goes out of Ft. Lauderdale on April 1 for seven days with Princess to St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Grand Turk and Princess Cay.  The second cruise (this one with Celebrity) departs Ft. Lauderdale on April 25 and goes through the Panama Canal ending 16 days later in Seattle.

In the spring, plans are being made to travel to Ashland for Romeo and Juliet as well as The Very Merry Maids of Windsor.  A trip to Victoria is scheduled for late April; August will find us in Leavenworth for 2 nights and 3 plays; an overnight at Crystal Mountain is in the works; Dinner Dates and Mystery Trips start up again in April and will run throughout the summer and into the fall.

Why not think about joining us as we go about being “active”.  Come along for the ride.  Get on the email list for periodic updates  (linda.finch@gmail.com) or call to be put on the snail mail list  (253) 927-8207.  The calendar should be ready shortly with more dates and further information.