Showing posts from 2016

Overheard in the Newsroom: Kitty cat edition

See if we had a cat room, this wouldn't be an issue. 
There must be a maker out there for false toenails.
That website is a waste of virtual space.
Editor A: I'm worried it won't be enough for you. Editor B: Well I had like seven chickens last night so...

Coming home for a visit: Still the best feeling in the world

If you are wondering what the two pictures on the right side are (as was I on first glance), top is Gord Downie, the lead singer of The Tragically Hip - who has lead news coverage after a brain tumor diagnosis and who basically shut down Canada with a performance that our national broadcaster CBC pre-empted the Olympics to show - and below that, a walkie-talkie. Because that's the last gift I got my gorgeous niece and nephew.

Snapchat Day: Opening night of Bounce at Marina Mall

I swear this place is the cure for the summer grumpies. Get there! The entrance is a bit strange and hard-to-find (it's at the back upstairs, via the restaurants) and I wish they would turn the music down. But just try not to giggle when you are bouncing around on a trampoline. And it's hard work! There are also loads of other things too, besides 100 trampolines in this 3,500 sq m space, like two slack (zip) lines, a two-story freefall and a pretty zippy 40-metre slide.  There's also loads of slushie flavours if you don't mind a cold headache.

Open 10am-10pm Sunday to Wednesday and 10am-midnight on weekends. The price is Dh80 for the first session, Dh70 after you get that pair of fancy socks. Go to for more.

Snap caption: Someone's confident


Thank you Expat

I was thrilled to hear from the lovely ladies over at, who named A Canadian in Abu Dhabi among their list of 9 of the capital's best blogs.

They pointed out I've been blogging since 2008, kindly not mentioning how much I've slowed down in recent years as life here has become my normal, writing:

"That's almost a decade of first hand experiences, advice, thoughts and tips on what life is like in the capital of the UAE."

To celebrate, I give you this post, which I wrote at the end of the year I became an expat. It was nice to read all that I learned in those early months, just for perspective, all these years later, when I often forget.

Thanks ladies! Keep up the good work.

There are some other cool blogs on the list too, a really nice cross-section. Check them out here.

Happy Canada Day!!!!


POUTINE! POUTINE! POUTINE! Where to eat it in Abu Dhabi and Dubai

In honour of Canada Day Friday, I resolved once and for all to find and add up all the places in the UAE serving this most fattening and comforting of dishes. It turns out there are 12. Please tell me what I've missed. It's a bit weird writing about something you know so much about. I'm not sure it works, but I tried.

Meet Dubai's newest mascot, Mr Burj

Emaar properties has introduced a new mascot for visitors to the Burj Khalifa and not surprisingly, he wears a big-old smile and giant squishy Burj on his head.

From the press release:

A replica of Burj Khalifa, Mr. Burj is effortlessly flexible and wears a heartwarming smile at all times. It is born from the wish of Omar, a fictional Arab boy, to have his toy come to life. Pronto! Mr. Burj arrives and takes him on some leisurely, adventurous, entertaining and educational experiences.

Canada Day in the UAE: The last supper at Maple Leaf Diner in Dubai

I am super sad about this. Apparently the Maple Leaf Diner in Jumeirah is already closed and July 1 will be the last chance to visit the location in JLT. Opened by brothers Ahmed and Moutaz Al Ghussein, Maple Leaf offered yummy smoked meat sandwiches, hand-made cheese curds and lots of Canadian memorabilia.

You have three days to visit.

Canada Day in the UAE: Hocky Night in Abu Dhabi


The Laughter Factory joke from a Canadian that can be repeated

'We set fire to Fort McMurray to drive up oil prices - hope you appreciate it." - the brilliant Vancouver-based comic Pete Johansson
This weekend's lineup in Dubai is brilliant, I caught the show in Abu Dhabi last night. Go.

Spotted: Toronto on the menu in Dubai


Fairmont The Palm, Dubai gets a Canadian executive chef

I've only ever eaten a pizza poolside at Fairmont The Palm, Dubai, but it was delicious, and I've always meant to go back and have the lobster burger at Seagrill on 25° Restaurant and Lounge.

Maybe I'll hurry that plan along now that a fellow Canuck has been named executive chef. Alain Gobeil has had a pretty cool - not to mention international - two-decade career, working on three continents.

He graduated from the  Institut de Tourisme et d’Hôtellerie du Quebec, with stints at the Fairmont Château Laurier, Ottawa, and Fairmont Queen Elizabeth, Montréal. Moving back and forth between Canada and the UAE, he worked on opening teams for the the company's two previous properties in the UAE: Fairmont Dubai and Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, with stints at The Address Downtown Dubai and The Address Dubai Mall in recent years.

Early on he trained under the famed French Roux brothers - Albert and Michel - during his time at their two Michelin-star Le Gavroche restaurant in Londo…

St Regis Dubai welcomes a Canadian in chocolate

I'm staying at the (fairly new) St Regis Dubai for a couple of days in Al Habtoor City. It's gorgeous and restful and opulent and lush, just as a St Regis is. 
And then there is this gorgeous chocolate bar that was just delivered to my room. Someone Googled me! So cool. Should I eat it or save it?

Toronto restaurant group Icon Legacy brings Weslodge Saloon to Dubai: Meet executive chef Ben Heaton

I'm pretty excited because I am hanging out in Dubai this week, and some friends and I are going to pay a visit to Weslodge Saloon, the first foray into the Middle East by the popular Toronto-based restaurant group Icon Legacy, which has 10 restaurants back home. 
I chatted recently with the 39-year-old executive chef Ben Heaton, a Yorkshire-born Canadian who arrived in the middle of March for the frantic launch process. He will leave Dubai at the end of April, when things are appropriately humming along, but return for several week sessions throughout the year. 
"I really want to nurture and grow the restaurant here," he said. "It's like my baby."

Canadians of the UAE: Meet Nisreen Jardaneh

I am originally from Jordan but moved to Ottawa when I got married to my husband, Nawriz. He works in IT and has lived all over the US, but chose to settle in Canada after he fell in love with the country when visiting friends there. We studied and worked in the capital, Ottawa, from 2004, and I was able to pursue my first love of music there. Although I was already a business graduate, I went back to studying piano pedagogy at the University of Ottawa, completing my Masters. I am currently working on a PhD in music education via distance.

Overheard in the newsroom: The not-an-engagement edition

Yeah, that was stupid and we had to have a talk about not giving people big diamond rings just as presents.

Overheard in the newsroom: Justin Bieber's is it too late to say Sorry? edition

It's an apology bear. It should be bigger.

#CANADIAN University Dubai School professor writes competition-topping songs

Okay so technically Franziska Apprich, an assistant professor in the #CANADIAN University Dubai School of Media and Communication Studies, is Irish. 

But that won't stop me from pointing out that she is a pretty relentless and apparently talented songwriter. According to a press release from the school, her song As much as I want you- described in her words as "Norah Jones meets Sarah McLachlan", a noted #CANADIAN -  has reached the semifinals of the International Songwriting Competition.

Last year Apprich wrote a song for Etienne Cousineau, star of the Quebec-based #CANADIAN talent show La Voix.

Winners in the International Songwriting Competition are due to be announced later this month.

Now here's a #CANADIAN in the UAE: Flash Entertainment's John Lickrish

It's been pretty cool watching the evolution of the entertainment scene here in the UAE since 2008, which is the year that the Abu Dhabi government-owned Flash Entertainment was founded by John Lickrish. The-now 47-year-old has brought everyone from Madonna to the Rolling Stones to Dave Matthews Band to Coldplay - in a magical, rain-drenched show at Emirates Palace - to a capital once starved for live gigs.

Overheard in the newsroom: The weekend can't come fast enough edition

I need to eavesdrop on your laughs as I'm short of my own.

Canadians of the UAE: Meet Hala Khalaf

Meet Hala Khalaf, a writer who has lived in the UAE for seven years.

"I’ve never felt more Canadian than I do living right here in the UAE. I acquired Canadian citizenship as a teenager living in London, Ontario, after having grown up in three different Arab countries before that. Then, after university, I left Canada - more than 13 years ago - and I’ve only been back “home” to Ontario for short visits. When I’m asked where I’m from, I didn’t always identify as a Canadian immediately.

What it's like to live in Abu Dhabi, summed up nicely by a New Yorker

A writer and PR representative living in the capital, Christine Hinz has written a really good column about life here. It was top of The National's website all day, so you know it resonated. You can check it out for yourself, but I give you my favourite line:

For the most part, people who live in Abu Dhabi don’t like the idea of living in Dubai, and people in Dubai wouldn’t dream of living in Abu Dhabi.

When a loonie is more than a loonie - and doesn't buy very many dirhams

I don't usually get too excited about currency fluctations - the drop in funds that I experienced when transferring money into US dollars back in 2008, when I moved here was shocking and I totally freaked out when my financial adviser showed me the figures. Since then I have calmed down, having the benefit of time to see that what goes around comes around. Having said that, I did just transfer a chunk of savings into Canadian dollars with the idea that it is either a good time to invest in property back in Canada or just hang onto the Canadian dollars until the US dollar weakens. A foreign exchange expert I am not.

One thing I do know is that it's important to diversify your currencies when living over here, and yes, also to possibly take advantage of the dollar's fluctuations. The National breaks down the current dollar situation here.

Gutsy #CANADIAN Lysanne Richard wins the women's 3rd Fina Diving World Cup in Abu Dhabi

On Sunday the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and the UAE Swimming Federation brought high diving to the capital for the first time.

I wish I could have been down at the Abu Dhabi International Marine and Sports Club to see it. Instead here are some pics we grabbed off Abu Dhabi Sports after Lysanne Richard, a 34-year-old who hails from Chicoutimi, Quebec, nailed her 20-metre jump to grab gold.