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Showing posts from June, 2010

The end is coming, just thought you should know

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I pulled up behind this guy the other day (I am on vacation in Canada, and was in Ottawa) and he had a message. I thought I should pass it along. This is the best part, though:

Snap caption: If it looks like a duck...

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Shadow Lake, near Norland Ontario

One bar attempts to air-condition the outdoors

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I am in Canada at the moment - the weather is freaking glorious - and I basically ran out of Abu Dhabi in relief because it was already so hot I felt like a hair dryer was being pointed at my face.

It's only going to get hotter, of course, and will remain so until the end of September, and I think that is why when I left most people were freaking out and exhibiting short tempers. (Or maybe that was just me) Anyway, I snapped this really crappy pic with my phone just to show how one of my favourite hangouts in the city is trying to keep people outside as the temperature rises. Thirty 1st at the Holiday Inn has erected these fans, which mist water as they blow. The reviews have been mixed (and ladies if you go, don't put any effort into styling your hair beforehand) but I spent a night there before I left and while it was very moist, and I don't even want to think about the environmental implications (energy, desalinated water, oi!) I was able to be outside for part of an e…

The true meaning of devotion: anytime, anywhere

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A recent Friday morning, after prayers were called. There is not nearly enough room for everyone, so they pray where they can, by dumpsters, on sidewalks and sand, in parking lots and on the side of the road.

Snap caption: Who says malls in Abu Dhabi are boring?

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Marina Mall ice rink, June 12.

Snap caption: So just the medium latte next time then

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Mini-restaurant review: Elements, at Fairmont Bab Al Bahr

Elements is a buffet restaurant and has a pretty great Friday brunch I'm told, but we went there for my birthday dinner. All I can say is: oysters and shrimp and sushi. LOADS. Don't bother with anything else actually - it looked pretty passable to me. Five cooking stations blah blah blah. I think I might have taken a piece of cheese and some moutabel, but other than that I just gorged on seafood. And then entered the dessert room. Everything was delicious (not like other brunches where the desserts just look delicious but rarely are) and I loved how it was all cut up into tiny portions for you. No more passing on a cheesecake because it has been rendered unrecognisable by the heavy hands of those who came before you.

It was my birthday and I was with my friends, so this meal gets :) :) :) :) :) automatically, although it's not cheap: with a few drinks it was well over Dh300 per person and like all buffets, I can't be entirely sure it was worth it. Also, and if I can hea…

Fairmont Bab al Bahr: Where even cigarette butts get the posh treatment

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The Fairmont Bab al Bahr is one fancy dancy place. The hill to get up there alone is daunting, and then there is the disco-glitter lobby. But this is what really did it for me: even the sand where people put out their cigarettes before getting in the elevator (not that many people in Abu Dhabi do, you know, bother to stop smoking on elevators) is upscale:

(Imagine having that job, fishing the butts out and re-swirling the sand?)

Overheard at the yoga studio

"Why do you do this to me? Every year, you ruin my summer."
-Man at the Yoga Tree Monday night, after the ashtanga teacher announced it would be her last class until September

Snap caption: Hot cat in the city

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Presented without comment, only a sigh and a prayer

A judge throws the book at an Emirati woman while the five men accused of raping her are acquitted, as it went down in Abu Dhabi's Criminal Court today.

Woman who reported rape jailed for one year - The National Newspaper

Tip list for moving to Abu Dhabi

I am contacted by loads of people who are considering moving here and want to know what it is like. (Like it is possible to explain this crazy place) However I completely understand, and remain grateful to the high school friend of a guy I was dating before I came here. She patiently asked every last one of my screwball questions in a series of email exchanges, easing my anxieties and providing a realistic window you just cannot get from the Internet. The artistic renderings are just the beginning, my friends.

Anyway, a few things popped into my mind today, stuff I wish I'd thought about before arriving. I may add some others as they occur to me later, but here goes:

1. Vow that you will only shop for clothes and shoes on trips to Dubai or when you are out of the country. My group of friends is always complaining about aimless days spent in the malls getting out of the heat, which usually involve a pointless purchase from the Gap (no bargain rack, last year's designs) or some…

Overheard at Starbucks

"If he tries anything like that again knock him out."

-A mom who returned from buying a snack for her kids to find her older boy had apparently tried to put a bag over his little sister's head. My favourite part of this anecdote was how the little girl just nodded, as in 'right then, will do'.

The sport may differ, but fans are the same the world over

There are several McDonald's ads like this one airing right now in the UAE, ahead of the World Cup 2010, and for some reason they crack me up. I think it might be the dishdash/jersey combo.

This may be why I don't get to the cinema very much here

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Did this not go straight-to-video in the US?

Overheard in the office: Another lunch order bites the dust

"I'm sorry - you can't deliver it for two hours?"

SJP on Abu Dhabi: "A lifestyle that most of us only dream about"

"It was actually prompted by (the director) Michael Patrick King. He wanted to take us out of our comfort zone and put us in a completely different culture so he thought of the Middle East, the new Middle East. And the UAE is now one of the most exotic, sought-after locations in the world, a place that is completely modern and entirely traditional and by having Carrie and company take a holiday in Abu Dhabi, our characters and audiences get to experience a lifestyle that most of us only dream about."
-Sarah Jessica Parker, on setting most of Sex and the City 2 in the capital, to Emirates Woman

Nepal: Land of yummy appetizers and mean mosquitos

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I just returned from a four-day jaunt to Kathmandu (and again, have to thank the travel gods who brought me to Abu Dhabi, the place in the centre of it all). The place is brilliant. Desperately poor, but full of life and character and colour. We stayed at an amazing, quaint hotel called Dwarika's (not the cheapest option in a land where most everything is underpriced) and took little jaunts out into the city, up into the mountains and to a truly cool medieval city. More on that later. 
I may or may not have had my legs permanently disfigured by a nasty band of mosquitoes, who spent several hours feasting on my calves the first evening as we dined al fresco by the pool. I am now well-acquainted with the manure-esque scent of calamine lotion, and, although a dedicated skirt-lover, am considering investing in a dozen pairs of pants. (And by pants I mean the North American, not British, version)
For now, I introduce you to the little bundles of deliciousness, sticky dumplings and their …