Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My new obsession...

... is this picture. It was snapped by The National's travel editor, Rosemary Behan, on a recent trip to Sir Bani Yas island. Basically I look at it about twice every day. Who even knew giraffes could bend their legs like that? Look at the awkward angle of the joint! Don't they just look like two best mates? Like they are recreating some sort of iconic Sinatra-era buddy shot? Don't they look happy? Satisfied? As if they are kind of pleased, at themselves, and at having their picture taken?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Saturday, April 17, 2010

If I had a butler, I'd ask him to...

I was out with some work friends last night and one of them was talking about spending a night at Emirates Palace, where he and his wife were upgraded to a suite as it was their wedding anniversary.

With the suite came a butler. There is actually a sort of remote control for the room, he said, and on it is a button you can press to summon the butler. (I guess he just waits outside the door or something)

What did you get him to do? I asked.

We couldn't think of anything, he said. (I guess as much as we all think we would like a butler, if we had one we wouldn't know what to do with him, at least at first)

But then, just to illustrate the absurdity of it all, he added: "I've heard of people who call him up to say things like 'can you make a jacket for my cat?'

Friday, April 9, 2010

It happens to all of us...

"You are fun in Abu Dhabi."

-Kim Cattrell's Samantha to Cynthia Nixon's Miranda in Sex and the City 2, which hits (but definitely not in the UAE) theatres May 27.

Check out how they created an idea of Emirates Palace out of some sort of set in Marrakesh (Dubai passed, which begs the question: did producers even ask to shoot in the capital emirate or did they just get tired?) here.

Random menacing text from a stranger

So I got up this morning and, as per a conversation I had with a colleague last night, sent a text to his cleaner, who apparently might like some work. (My cleaner is away and I know, this is all eye-rollingly lazy, but ... well... it is what it is)

My text: "Hey Kris it is Ann Marie from work, wondering if you want to clean my flat as my cleaner is away?"

Return text: "I'm not chris and if you bothered me again Ill give your number to the police"

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Dear Emirates Palace

I had a fantastic time at the Wynton Marsalis concert on Monday night. I think it's really classy how you serve champagne and tiny sandwiches, and I have soon realised any vantage point is good - even the cheap seats.

It's about the bell-ringer.

The vigorous bell-ringer.

This man, the man you have assigned to ring the bell to tell us the show is about to start (10 minutes before the show, then 5 minutes before the show, then in the intermission) – this man that takes his job so very seriously. It made people look annoyed. I even saw a man and a woman covering their ears. I personally experienced some serious nerve-jangling, and instantly wished I was not going to a concert, or going back to a concert, but was instead at home on the couch in my pyjamas, watching reruns of How I Met Your Mother before turning in early.

Maybe for future concerts you could go the North American route? Gently dimming the lights? It seems to work over there. Or even a gentle ringing. That might work too.

Ann Marie McQueen

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Overheard at the Sri Lankan yoga retreat

(Delivered to a staffer from a guest with a posh British accent, the words floating to my hut through the darkness of the jungle)

"Edwin, there seems to be a monkey in our hut. I believe it's the one that's unwell."

HI-larious Abu Dhabi Facebook update of the day

HOT! HOT! HOT! BURGER KING's NEW ANGRY CHICKEN ROYALE & ANGRY WHOPPER are OUT NOW, can you handle the fire? Call 600522224 to End Hunger... (text message to me, from Burger King... why are they angry? Don't know... why the upper/lower case confusion? Not sure... does Bono know this is how you REALLY end hunger? Who can say... am I glad they thought of me & took the time to text? I think you know...)

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How to be a happy expat

Because a cloud wall makes you want to take a selfie.  After 10 years living in the UAE, some of that time happy, some miserable and ...