Thursday, January 15, 2009

Travel Log, Part 2

Jeff and I arrived home last night around 9:30pm. It was a long day of traveling! We were greeted by the cold embrace of negative temperatures in Illinois. Wooo! It's a winter wonderland here.

We hope everyone has enjoyed our blog. Pics will be up soon.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Travel Log, Part 1

After a one hour drive to the airport, 7 lines before boarding the plane, and 14.5 hours in the air (watching a combined total of 8 movies, 1 documentary, and 6 tv episodes along with reading one book), we have landed in Washington, DC. Tomorrow we head to Chambana!

Watch out, y'all! We're back. :)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Farewell Qatar

We leave Qatar tomorrow. I can't believe that I've been here for two weeks. It feels as though I just arrived! And since I overpacked, I could actually stay for almost another week. :)

During dinner tonight Denny asked what my impressions of Qatar have been and what I'll tell people back in the States. I have found this place to be wonderful. There are so many interesting things to experience and see. There is culture, tradition, growth, wonderful food, beautiful views, and interesting people.

Education City is an amazing project and I look forward to staying in touch with the folks I've met who work here. I'm eager to see how the Qatar Foundation brings its vision for EC to fruition. The unofficial information I heard from a few people is a goal of 10,000 university students. That's huge!

I'm happy to have had a chance to learn more about the Muslim culture. As I had assumed, it is not an aggressive or barbaric group of people (even though I think this is how they are portrayed in the US). Yes, there are militant followers of Islam who do cross the line, but these people cannot be allowed to serve as the sole representation for the Arab world. And shame on anyone (media and news!) for perpetuating that. The Emir and Her Highness seem to be progressive leaders for Qatar. Perhaps their leadership will help others know and understand the Arab world better. Or at least this small part of it.

I hope to come back to see the progress the city makes. There is an incredible amount construction (did you know it is estimated that 90% of the world's cranes are in the Gulf?)! I'd love to see the result of it all.

All of this may sound a bit sunshiney and maybe it is. There are problems in Doha. One example is how the immigrant work force is treated. They are seen and treated as the lowest class in many, many ways. Clearly the Arab world has a history of issues, the most current being the situation between Israel and Gaza. However, the participants from LeaderShape give me hope. Their insights and ideas for the future are inspiring. Each of us can impact our community in great and positive ways. Let us take action and do just that! To quote our incoming President, "Yes we can!"

Thanks for a wonderful experience, Qatar!


PS: I will do my best to upload our pics to flickr and post the link here, just in case you are interested in a pictorial of the trip.

A Dune with a View

Hello from Qatar again! Today we began our last day in this wonderful country. This was the day I had waited for as today we went dune bashing. After a few days of challenges trying to set up the dunes trip, we finally settled with the company that today we would be heading out.
Our driver Sami picked us up at the villa and we drove about an hour plus to the south of Qatar. When we arrived at the beginning of the dunes, we got out of the land cruiser and while Sami let the air out of the tires, it makes it easier to turn, we got to see our first camels of the trip. We were instantly ushered to get on the camels and we were taken for a short ride around the little camp. It was fun to ride on the back of the camel and the guide snapped pictures of us. Kristen's camel was really noisy and was grunting and yelling like he was unhappy! It was a blast!
Once we got down from the camels, we hopped back in the landcruiser and away we went. It was awesome! We went up and down the dunes and were bounced around all over the place as we sped through the desert on the way to the inland sea. We stopped to take some pictures along the coast and the views were just amazing. We even got to stand on the slope of one of the dunes and it was really wild how you could stand and not slide down. Of course our shoes then got filled with sand!! We also got to see some herds of camels roaming in the desert, they weren't wild camels though so Sami could pull right up to them in the car and we got some really great up close pictures!!
We went for over an hour and arrived at the inland sea, which is bordered by Saudi Arabia on the other side. You can see the Saudi cliffs from where we stopped and we took some great pictures. After that we went to the Qatar International Adventures camp and got a little break. This is where groups camp overnight if they had signed up for that trip. We got a drink and were able to try on some traditional Qatari clothing.

We hit the road back to the villa and got ourselves cleaned up so we can head out to dinner tonight, our last night in Qatar. It has been a wonderful time in this country and I am sad we have to come back so soon. Looking forward to getting my sleep patterns back to normal though!!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

No Symphony for You!

Tonight we were supposed to be enjoying the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra. Sadly, the concert was canceled. Word is that some folks thought that a celebration of music shouldn't occur with the situation in Gaza as it is. It's disappointing. So we are laying low at Denny's house.

We did have dinner with a couple of LeaderShape folks, Lindsay and Jill. We went to a place called Sarai for a really fantstic meal. We got lots of little plates and shared. I was happy to have the chance to spend some more time with these folks before we head back to the states.

Before dinner, we enjoyed massages at The Intercontinental's spa. Aaaaaah. It was fantastic. And did I mention that a 50 minute massage is only 40 U.S. dollars. Hello!!! If I lived here, I'd be getting at least one every week.

Tomorrow we are going Dune Bashing. We'll be riding in some 4-wheel drive vehicle and speed through the desert, over the dunes. Jeff is crazy excited about this adventure. I hope I don't die or throw up or cry like a baby. Keep an eye out for tomorrow's blog so you can find out!

Picture Pages

Jeff dipping his fingertips in the Persian Gulf.

Kristen & part of the New Doha's skyline

and we walked and walked and walked....

Good morning from Doha! it is a wonderful morning, sunny and cool. It should be another great day in this beautiful city. I will fill you in a little about our day yesterday as I was too tired last night to update the blog. In fact, we got home from dinner and i went right to sleep at about 10:30, it was a looooonnnng day.

In the morning we went to the rug guy Mohammed and picked out a rug for our house. We decided on a rug to hang on the wall so we have to go back today and pick it up, he was going to add some loops to it so we can hang it and package it up so we can bring it home and not have to worry about it.

We then went to the Villagio, a really high end mall, reminiscint of the Venetian Hotel in Vegas. it has some of the really high end stores in the world, an ice skating rink and an actual canal with Gondolas right in the mall. Kind of fun! We walked around for a while and Denny our host actually was able to get his car washed in the parking lot for like 3 bucks! While we shopped! Why doesn't this happen in the states I will never know!

After the mall, we stopped and grabbed some falafel at a local food stand and took our lunch to the Corniche for a little picnic. Denny dropped us off at this park that is right on the Persian Gulf and we lunched on our flafel overlooking the West Bay part of Doha and the museum we visited the day before. The Corniche is a 7km long walkway that runs along the water. There a dhows (traditional fishing/pearl diving boats) and trees and flowers all along the path. It runs from the museum to the Sheraton hotel on the peninsula and is a really nice long stroll. We started walking and taking lots of pictures and walked all the way to the museum and decided we would go back to the Souq we were at the day before for a drink. We sat for a while and enjoyed the afternoon and then got to do some bargaining. The vendors here expect that you haggle for the wares and i enjoyed talking them down on price for a few items that we bought.

About this time the sun was going down and it was time to find our way back to the Villa. Although we were expecting to grab a taxi, none were to be found. So we started walking, and walking and walking some more. We ended up walking the entire Corniche again and getting to the Sheraton hotel where our luxurious Jaguar taxi took us back to the Villa. It was a great experience, but we were tired!!

Once we got back, it was time to eat and we hopped in Denny's car and went to Bakura a really wonderful Indian restaurant. The fun thing about this restaurant is that it is right next to the Tennis stadium and we just happened to pull up as the final match of the Qatar Open was letting out. Apparently Murray beat Nadal, but who knows....i don't follow tennis much. It was a little hectic finding a parking spot but once we did and made it into the restaurant, it was really great food!

So that's pretty much how the day went, as i mentioned earlier, i was pretty tired and went straight to sleep after we got home. I hadn't slept a lot the night before I think the time change was really playing with me. But i got a great 10 hours of sleep, one of my favorite past times!! Today it's off to pick up our rug, get massages and see the Qatar Philharmonic in concert! Tomorrow...we hit the sand dunes!!! Bye for now!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Highlights from Friday

Jeff did a great job letting you know all we did on Friday. I'll be brief with my impressions.

The Museum of Islamic Arts is gorgeous. The approach the museum has taken with it's collection is so interesting. The theme is to share with visitors how Islamic art has taken form all over the world. It has impacted and been impacted by other cultures. Islam has a place in this world, not just in Arab countries. My favorite part of the museum was the room showing the use of pattern in art. On the wall was this - "All Islamic pattern is based on the idea that what we see is always and only part of a whole that extends to infinity." This is how I feel about the world. We are part of everything and each other. It reminds of a quote by Cheif Seattle that talks of how what happens to one of us, happens to all of us. That we are all a part of a web - connected.

The Souq was bustling with activity last night. As we are in the Middle East, we are among people speaking Arabic and wearing thobes and abayas and head coverings. It is interesting to see it as a regular occurance. In the States I feel like when we see someone dressed like this, there is a level of distrust, suspiscion, or judgement. There have been times here when I am accutely aware of my whiteness and my American-ness (like the forum at Education City I talked about). Other times we are in such a diverse atmosphere that I feel as though I can embrace my place as a citizen not just in the States, but in this world. I am really loving being among people from different parts of the world. And I love that it seems (at least to me) that it is a much more comfortable and natural atmosphere than in the States. Now I'm not so naive to believe there is no conflict or issues here (the issues surrounding class here are significant), but I do appreciate that the diversity of people seems to be less of an issue.

On a lighter note, let's talk food. I love food. New things I love to eat include thai iced tea with milk, dates, and a tangy yogurt called lebneh. Mmm mmm.

Please note

In case you haven't noticed this, you can see who is posting to the blog at the end of each post. Jeff and I are both blogging here. It's kind of interesting to see how we are each experiencing our time in Qatar.

I saw Blue...and it was GLORIOUS!

For those of you that catch the title reference it was a fantastic day. The weather here was absolutely beautiful today. I think it was around 22.5 celcius and sunny all day long. We started this morning in a very relaxed way, with a good night sleep under our belts, we took a nice little stroll around the compound and sat in the sun while Denny was at fellowship. When we got moving to go get some food, Denny and his daughter took us to this great place that is frequented by ex-pats called Ric's. Kristen had some great Megas ( a Mexican egg dish with jalepeno and tortilla strips) and i had the pancakes. They were both wonderful!!

With full bellies and a desire to get out and see the day, we headed out to what is called "The Pearl" this is a great manmade island area that will have a ton of high end shops and residences, villas and even private islands for sale. All man made! Only part of it is open right now for people to come in and see, so we walked around for a bit and really were amazed at the quality of craftsmanship and the attention to detail. It is all an island so it has a lagoon area and the water is a beautiful blue-green color.
After the Pearl, we drove to the Museum of Islamic Arts. This has just recently opened and it was designed by the acclaimed architect I.M. Pei. He was the one who also designed the entrance to the Louvre in Paris, and I am quickly becoming a fan. His work is amazing!! The museum is beautiful, unlike most museums that try and cram too much to look at into small spaces. This place really did a great job of balancing history with variety. It was very interesting to learn about the impact that islamic art has had on cultures and the effect culture has had on islamic art. We spent a few hours there and then headed out to the Souq Waqif.

The Souq is a market. In Doha they have Souq's for all kinds of things. There are car wash souq's, tailor souq's and so on. They are basically like strip malls with a theme, but not this one. This is the oldest and largest souq in Doha. It has pretty much everything one could want, from garden equipment to cooking utensils, to nuts, spices, scarves, clothes, electronics and restaurants. We walked around there for hours and really enjoyed looking at all the things that make up normal life in Doha. After a while we stopped for a bite to eat at the Iraqi restaurant there. I don't know the name, it just said Iraqi restaurant on the sign...we tried our best to undertand what we were ordering but the waiter didn't really speak much english. We did get lentil soup and an appetizer plate that had amazing hummus, baba ganoush, and some other salads and dips. The pita was warm and delicious! We even got to have some Iraqi tea at the end of the meal.
After our meal we hopped down the street a bit to another cafe where we had some coffee (Kristen had a hot chocolate) and i decided to smoke from a hooka! It is kind of like smoking a cigar, you dont inhale and its really quite smooth. They take what looks like little pieces of wood and put it on the top of the hookah and there you go, puff away. It was very flavorful, i got apple flavor. We got a little more shopping done after that and then it was time to head back to the villa for an easy night and a movie, it was a full day!

Well that was our day, and it was a long great, full day. Funny little story though. while we were walking through the Souq, there was this one little alley that was kind of nice and more "mall like". We called it the sexy alley, because it had some pretty racy (for this culture) women's clothing. We used it as a reference point while walking around. So we were talking to Denny about this and apparently that is a women's only area in the Souq!! OOPS! So I learned a little something today!!

Off to hit the sack for another full day tomorrow! Hope everyone at home is having a great day!


Yesterday the Qatar session of The LeaderShape Institute came to an end. 59 participants from Education City are now out in the world with the opportunity to impact their communities and change the world. It was an amazing week that I am thankful to have been a part of. It's also the kind of week that I have to reflect so I won't be going into detail here. So I said farewell to Al Khor and the Al Sultan Resort and headed back to Doha.

Denny Roberts, a member of the LeaderShape community, is very graciously hosting Jeff and I in his villa. Not only is he a wonderful host, he's quite the tour guide! We are already having a wonderful experience.

Once we got back to Doha, we went with Denny to the Education City campus to attend a forum on the situation in Gaza. The forum was hosted by Her Highness Sheikha Mozah. The attendance was impressive and there was a large contigency of students from the LeaderShape session there. Three students spoke to the crowd; one from Education City, one from Qatar University, and the last was a Palestinian student but I didn't catch from where. Those in attendance were given the opportunity to share their ideas on how the Arab world can help the situation in the Gaza Strip. Her Highness was extremely interested in what ideas the students had and although she did share some thoughts of her own, she encouraged those in attendance to speak. It was so interesting. Most of the comments were about the need for the Arab world to unite. There was also talk of how education is essential to the success of the Arab world.

Many in attendance were wearing stoles with the Palestinain flag to show their support. Others were holding signs and one group was holding up a banner. We were wearing translaters since the forum was held in Arabic. There were documentaries on the Gaza Strip shown. It was a fascinating and rare experience.

In the evening we went to Denny's rug guy, Mohammed. The Persian rugs he had in his store were just beautiful. They are amazing works of art and I really enjoyed learning about them. We looked at rugs made from silk, wool, wool and cotton, wool and silk, and synthetic silk. They are from all over the Middle East - Turkey, India, Iran, etc. Some took as long as 3 years to make. We found a couple that we liked but just couldn't decide. Mohammed insisted that we take them back to Denny's to sleep on it. We'll go back tomorrow with the rugs and our final decision. Then we'll have a lovely piece of art for our home!

I'm going to let Jeff make his post and then I'll be back to talk about how today went.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I made it!

Well hello there! Now its my turn to say hello and that i made it here safely. So after leaving really early in the morning from Champaign it was a long journey taking a total of about 27 hours of air and airport time. The flight from Washington to Doha was very nice. the crew was helpful and it was full to capacity with screaming babies and people making Doha their final destination or just a stop on the way to elsewhere. The gentleman sitting next to me was very interesting and was going to meet his new fiance in Karachi, Pakistan, so we bonded on our journeys to meet up with our loved ones from far away!
Once i arrived in Doha, it was surreal, it seemed like only a few hours before that i saw the sunrise over Ireland and then set over the Saudi desert. The weather was cool and slightly humid but a welcome change from the sleet and freezing rain that i left in Champaign. Our host Denny Roberts greeted me and was so gracious to drive me to education city and his villa where we are staying.
This morning after waking up at 4:30 am and not being able to get back to sleep (a common occurance apparently) i was able to get a little breakfast before getting on the road to Al Khor to see Kristen and the students finish up the Leadershape program, something i thought was a great experience for me to see in action. I am really proud of Kristen, she did a great job and a lot of the students really enjoyed meeting her and learning from her. After that we hit the road back to Doha and a quick bite to eat. We are getting ready to go to Education City for a bit this afternoon where they are having a demonstration about the goings on in Gaza. I am interested to see how the opinions over here are expressed in a learning environment.

That's all for now!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Day 5 at LeaderShape

Today I had the opportunity to sit and listen to a group of participants talk about the situation on the Gaza Strip. It was fascinating and enlightening to hear the points of view from people living in Arab countries. It was also inspiring to hear the students talk about how they can work to make a difference in their own countries as well as work to unite all of the Arab countries. I am learning a lot about this part of the world. I'm also realizing how much I don't know and that I want to learn more.

I don't know if I mentioned it earlier, but the weather has been a bit cool here. Well, today it turned. It was warm and there was no breeze with the sun shining. It was beautiful and lightened everyone's spirits. It was nice to be outside, taking pics, dipping toes in the Gulf, and soaking up the sun. I hope tomorrow is the same way.

Off to dinner........

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Dancing Queen

I just spent the last half hour dancing Bhangra with our students to Indian music. They had a lot to teach me. It was awesome!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Tired on Day 3

There are so many things going on and there are so many things I want to share here, but I'm a bit tired and my mind is a bit full. I'm going to do my best to make sense of it right now. I may revisit some of these ideas later.

One of the things that I appreciate and enjoy most about The LeaderShape Institute is the opportunity to sit and talk with people. I love learning about where they come from, what they care about, how the LeaderShape experience is impacting them, etc. Here are some of the things I learned today!

I was able to connect with a couple of students I had not yet spoken with. I learned about how difficult it is for some of these students to get visas for travel. A student here who is from Iraq can travel almost nowhere. The European countries and Americas will refuse his request or give an excuse. This situation is similar to an Afghan student here. It certainly makes me keenly aware of the opportunities and privileges I have which based solely on where I was born.

On the other hand, some of the students hold passports from many countries. It seems as though this increases their opportunities for travel.

I also had the chance to again sit and speak with Ameena. She was sharing with me about the abaya and shaila that she wears. The abaya is the robe that women wear over their clothes and the shaila is the head covering. What I learned is that the abaya is a tradition associated with the region. The shaila is related to Islam.

We also talked about the journey to Mecca. It was very interesting, but I'm a little tired to go into it now.

Today was the day that the participants make a pass at creating a vision statement. It is always moving to read what the participants say about how they'd like to see the future. This session is no different. I was inspired as I read what these students are passionate about and how they would like to impact their communities with that passion.'s incredibly late here and we have a big day addressing life as fascinating, reframing fear, and exploring the concept of power. Phew! My brain needs to be working well for all of that.

Much love to my friends and family!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Do you see what I see?

Here is a picture of the view here. It doesn't really do justice to seeing it in person. The water is beautiful shades of blue and green. The boat you see here is an old pearl diving boat. Pearl diving was once and important trade on the Gulf. The combination of Japan's man-made cultured pearls and the extreme dangers of pearl diving has ended this vocation.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Day 1 and a beautiful beach resort

Greetings from Al Khor, Qatar! It's been a great day here at LeaderShape. Our first day has gone so well. The students are already engaged and the energy level is strong. The faculty are connecting well to one another and to the students. It's a good start to the week. Hoorah!

I am learning that time is a bit relative here on the Gulf. This is a bit challenging to me as I do like to be on time. Additionally, the LeaderShape curriculum is pretty time sensitive. I will certainly need to work on balancing my time expectations with the cultural practices here.

I'm also trying very hard to learn and correctly pronounce the names of the participants. Many of them are from Qatar and the Middle East and, of course, have names of the region. They are unfamiliar to me, but I want to be able to address folks by their names without butchering them. I'll keep trying! :)

We are staying at the Al Sultan Beach Resort. It is a lavish hotel. Check out the photos of some furniture in my room. I have a bed fit for an Emir! My room also had a lovely fruit plate, bottle of water, and dish of pistachios waiting to energize me when I arrived.
The hotel is also located right on the water. The view is stunning. I will be sure to take photos and post them here. It was extremely windy today, making it a bit unpleasant to be outside longer than it took to walk from one building to another. Who knew such a cold wind could blow in the dessert.

Where we hold the large meetings of The LeaderShape Institute is called The Learning Community (see photo with chairs). Next to our LC, we have a lounge for the students to relax in. Here are a couple of pics of the lounge (photos with couches). It is very fancy! In the States these sessions are held at camps (like church camps and 4-H camps). The lounge space has never looked like this. It is interesting to learn about the differences in expectations when it comes to retreat space. :)

It has been a long day and we have breakfast at 7:45am so it is off to bed for me! G'night all!

Friday, January 2, 2009

A lot of little things

I am quite tired tonight. I woke up at 3am last night and could have sworn it was time to get up. Perhaps the jet lag is hitting me. It's going to be straight to bed for me after this entry.

Dust in the Wind
Would you like to know the weather? I do love the weather. It was a windy day in Doha today. This meant lots of dust. I saw one quick glimpse of the sun when I woke up and then not at all for the rest of the day. It was cool by Qatar standards (about 70) and most people were bundled up.

Go, Speed Racer, Go!
Let's talk about driving in Doha. It seems the practice is to drive as quickly as possible on the straightaways and then just as quickly slow down when entering a round-about. There are a LOT of round-abouts so this process is repeated over and over and over again. Hoorah for sea-bands as they are helping me to not get too terribly ill on the drives. There are also almost no stop lights. There are 2-3 lanes in each round-about. There are rules for each lane, but I don't think people really stick to the rules.

LeaderShape, Day 0
I spent the day at EC with my fellow faculty members for The LeaderShape Institute. We spent the morning getting to know one another. Each member of the faculty is so interesting. I am eager to work with them this week. We had an awesome lunch with falafel and a wrap filled with potatoes and peas. YUM-O!

I do worry a bit that the afternoon wasn't as inspiring or engaging as I would have liked it to be. I was reviewing the curriculum with everyone and I have not found a lot of different ways to go through it. I think it's important to focus on the information. The curriculum really does come to life during the session though, so I am confident that they will feel more connected throughout the week.

Tomorrow we travel to the session site for Day 1. I hear it is lavish and will be sure to post pics. The participants will be arriving in the afternoon and we will be starting at 4pm! The students are from 26 different countries and from the 6 universities in EC. It will be unlike any experience I have ever had. I am both eager and nervous about the week.

A continuation from yesterday...
In my post yesterday I mentioned a meeting going on in the soccer stadium near where I had dinner. It was front page news in Qatar's Daily Newspaper, The Peninsula. It was reported that 15, 000 people were in attendance. The pictures showed people holding signs saying "End the Occupation" and "Stop Killing Our Children." The group was addressed by members of Qatar Univeristy, Qatar Charity, a Qatari poet, and more. Just thought I would share with you what the news was saying since I mentioned it yesterday.

Until tomorrow, I hope you all are doing well.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

My First Day of 2009

I started off my morning by walking to the beach and sitting on a bench by the Gulf. It was just beautiful. It was warm and breezy, much different than the weather in Illinois! It was a lovely and relaxing way to enjoy the morning.

Around noon, I was picked up by Ameena, a woman who works in campus life at Education City. She took me on a driving tour of Doha and then to lunch. I really enjoyed talking with her about Doha, her family, and her job. She is very honest and willing to share her thoughts. I appreciate that I am able to speak with a Muslim woman about her life and experiences. Her perspective is certainly a different one from that which I have gotten in the States. I am going to enjoy my time with her at LeaderShape.

So - the city of Doha. It is undergoing a great deal of construction these days. The new buildings are grand! They are glittery and large and say, "Look at me!" This new Doha is quite different than the old Doha. Those buildings are, well, older. They are small and plain. Ameena said that they are taking down the old Doha to put up all the new buildings. This means no more old Doha and a great deal of construction, traffic, and dust for those living in the city.

Following lunch we took a drive around Education City (EC) and to the campus life offices. Like the city, there is a great deal of construction going on in the EC. The Qatar Foundation (QF) has a lot of very ambitious plans for the project. The architecture is really beautiful inside the EC.
After a bit of rest, Lindsay took me to dinner at an Indian restaurant with folks from residence and campus life. They were all nice folks. We were very near to one of the soccer stadiums, which was holding what looked like a pretty large meeting in support of Palestine. The situation between Israel and Palestine is, of course, very much in the news over here.

I tried two new things today. Mint lemon and date pudding. A mint lemon is a fresh lemonade with mint in it. Very refreshing. I plan on drinking more of these. The date pudding was more like a cake with a sauce on it and totally delicious. I haven't really eaten dates before but they are very popular here.

Tomorrow is Day 0 of The LeaderShape Institute - Faculty Training. We'll be at the EC getting ready for LeaderShape. It's time to focus on the task at hand now.
Here are a few pics...enjoy! The first is the view from my room and the next is a picture of the skyline from the beach.