1. I checked out the Pine Leaf Boys, a Cajun band from Lafayette, Lousiana, at the Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation. I was a little more taken with the Arabic oud player who opened the show, but it was cute to see these young musicians still a bit befuddled about their US State department-organised visit to the Middle East. Then there was the audience, which didn't seem to know what to think, but obviously liked it. The frontman Wilson Savoy was a little befuddled when we all clapped for an encore. "They told me y'all don't do encores. They said if we do encores, everyone would just leave."
2. For the first time, Abu Dhabi Police offer a reward to catch a criminal. Dh50,000 (Cdn16,500) for information on the wherabouts of a man wanted in the death of his wife's friend (CORR "friend's wife) in Al Ain in 2005.
3. A group of experts met in the northern emirate of Ras Al Khaimah to discuss equality when it comes to diyya, or compensation for accidental death, also known as "blood money". Under UAE federal law, anyone who accidentally commits a harmful act that causes the death of another must pay Dh200,000 for male victims. In RAK, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, it's the same amount for women's families, but in the other emirates, the obligation usually is to pay half. Obviously this concept, which is not at all unique to the UAE, is far-out foreign to many of us in the Western world. But if you accept that it happens here, by law, for the time being anyway, it's shocking to think there are areas where a woman's life is valued by half to that of a man.
4. Dubai's Sheikh Mohammed takes questions from the media on his official website. Re: the financial crisis? "The worst is over and behind us," he said, adding that no company or bank has declared bankruptcy. Democracy in the UAE? Not so much.
5. The National turned one; most of us are still standing, as is, more importantly, the paper, and on Friday night we all celebrated at the Hiltonia Beach Club. I couldn't believe what a difference a year makes; I crept into the party last year, one day off the plane, not knowing a soul. This year 10 of us spent an the afternoon on an aged yacht watching the Red Bull Air Race over the Corniche before composing ourselves and afterwards, half the newsroom turned up to continue the party at my company flat. Our editor-in-chief Martin Newland gave a stirring speech ("some people have left," he said, "sod them") addressing some of the tougher things that have happened, and told us we have done more in our journalism careers in one year than most people have in a lifetime. Who knows if those words are true; it's definitely very hard to tell most days when you are just slogging through. But as the lights of Marina Mall twinkled across the water, and a warm breeze blew across us, I took them and remained glad I came.