When the weather cools off and it is not so hot, we take Graziella to a park near our house for a morning walk. We try to go on Fridays and Saturdays when John is home as I cannot take her in a taxi. Dogs are forbidden to travel in a taxi. I cannot tell you how much this dog loves this outing. We have to spell the word W-A-L-K so she does not get too excited in advance of our departure. However, she knows all the signs of readiness and has usually figured it out well before we call her to the door and tell her we are going out for a walk (we actually say the word). This causes her to go into a delightful spin---literally turning round and round so much you would think she would get sick from dizziness. She waits patiently for the leash to be hooked to her collar and then she's off! She trots happily to the car, jumps in, and climbs onto my lap so she can see out the window as we travel. She typically accompanies us to the car wash on Fridays, sits patiently on my lap through the automated wash, and then sits again patiently on the bench while we wait for the workers to clean the car. She knows the routine. When we pull up to the park, she jumps up to the window and looks around and begins to whine to get out. I cannot get out of the car fast enough to please her. She's down on the pavement and off for her big adventure. Even though it is the same adventure each week, she doesn't seem to mind. She trots along ahead of us checking out all the sights and sounds of the park as we walk along at a brisk pace. She often hangs back for us to catch up with her and then walks between us. She makes sure she stays between us---it is like her little comfort zone. She knows all the places where the park strays hang out and checks out each one as we pass. She's encountered a few of them in the past and never forgets where they hang out.
The park is one of the many parks throughout the city. There are a couple of parks near our house on the canal. However, you cannot see the canal except for a few lookout points built out over the water along the way. Such a shame the water cannot be seen all the way through the park. There are actually two parks that are connected by a long, paved walkway through a grove of trees. This walkway is perfect for walking as it is shaded by the trees and makes it easier to go to the park even after the heat begins.
I have always found this photo of the bicycle in front of the reduced speed signs to be amusing. These signs and the bicycle have been here in the park along the trail for as long as we have been going.
The one thing about the parks is that sometimes they are very littered with trash. This is still a young nation and things like littering is still a problem. Even though, garbage cans are all over the park, people still drop trash on the ground, often within just a few feet of the trash can. Sometimes you will even see whole picnic parties just left where they were the night before. So sometimes in the mornings, the parks are littered and not very pretty. Lately we have noticed the sanitation people are working earlier and the parks are cleaner by the time we arrive, which is around 8:00 a.m.
In the UAE, people go to the parks at night, not during the day. The parks are relatively empty in the daytime except for sanitation workers and gardeners. However, the parks come alive at night with people picnicing, grilling, and celebrating birthdays and such. The Arabs are nocturnal because of the heat. Even when the weather is better, habits are hard to break. You do see more people in the parks in the day during the winter months---October to April--the weather is so much cooler and the parks are very pleasant.
We end every visit to the park with John and Graziella looking over the cobblestone wall that traverses through the park. John just happened to decide to look over the wall one day to see what was behind it. Graziella immediately climbed the wall to look with him and it has been a tradition since that day. She loves it. She has NO IDEA what she is suppose to be looking at or for but she clambers up that wall every time to see what she can see. John thinks she may think they are hunting something. She gets very excited about it and it seems to be the highlight of her trip to the park. We save it for the last thing we do. You can tell she knows that it is about time because she will trot in the direction of the wall as we get to the end of the walk. It is very funny
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