Thursday, September 30, 2010

It's Thursday: Why not kick off the weekend with a Chamas meat fest?

So it's basically one of the best deals around: Chamas, at the Intercon, offers unending meat, tasty salad bar – all deep fried bananas you want – and free-flowing caprihinas for about Dh300. (I say "about" because of the free-flowing you-know-whats.)

Canadian television reviewer tries to explain the popularity of reportedly sh*teous show

"Canadians would probably watch William Shatner make sandwiches or read the phone book."
-Andrew Ryan in The Globe and Mail today, trying to explain why Sh*t My Dad Says is a hit

Overheard at Heathrow Airport, Terminal 5

"Security at the other terminals is okay but here it is mad. I had to take almost everything off."

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Mini-review: the Burger King pizza burger

"It had pizza sauce on it, which I wasn't anticipating."
-colleague, after a bite of a "slice"

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Snap caption: Not a sign you see every day

Armed Forces Officers Club, Abu Dhabi

So there I was, a 9mm pistol in my hands

I do weird and different things in the UAE: spending too much time in malls, driving for hours in the desert to attend camel shows, checking out hunting exhibitions, dining in five-star hotels and the like. Which is how I found myself at the Caracal Shooting Club the other night, spending Dh230 on a lane and a box of 50 bullets. (Caracal is a made-in-the-UAE gun, by the way)

First of all, picking up a handgun like that is scary. Very scary. Even holding it unloaded freaked me right out. I think pulling such a trigger – slowly! said my patient teacher – is something everyone should do once. If only to put all that violence we are exposed to in video games, on television and in the movies in perspective.

This is a terrible killing machine and I found using it in a controlled environment exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. I hope that doesn't make me a bad person. Bring ID. They are located in the Armed Forces Officers Club, open from noon to 10pm except on Fridays, when they are open at 2pm.

Turns out I am an okay shot.

And as always,  it all went down under the watchful eye of a (this time gun-toting) Sheikh Zayed, founder of the nation. 

Overheard in the newsroom

"Hello? I think I ordered food from you. It's been about two-and-a-half hours."

Monday, September 20, 2010

Terrible old joke briefly unites Canadian journalist and taxi driver from rural Bangladesh

I had not realised just how far and how deep this particular misconception had penetrated the world. Here goes the conversation, which happened while idling, waiting to pick up a friend, facing a dumpster around which about 18 cats were milling.

Him: Chinese people, they like cats. Eat.

Me: Noooo! (Nervous laughter)

Him: No Chinese people here.

Me: No, not many in Abu Dhabi.

Him: (Gesturing at dumpster, giggling as he delivers his punchline) If Chinese people here, all cats gone.

Abu Dhabi, city of great salty snacks and terrible martinis

Free assorted nuts and salsa and chips? Yippeeee! Here is our table at Cooper's patio last week. Yes, it was still a little steamy outside, but for some reason even though it is still hot-hot-hot out the a/c inside restaurants seems to be getting unbearable already, so we went for it.  This Park Rotana pub is becoming one of my favourite places to hang out, although I wouldn't suggest the martinis. Stick with beer and/or free bubbly for ladies Wednesday nights. No one can make a martini in Abu Dhabi anyway. I challenge you to show me a barman who cares. I just need to stop ordering them. First off, the waiter always takes off the minute you say "martini". I have never been asked the pertinent questions, ie, "gin or vodka", "dry or dirty", "olives or a twist". 

This night I had to grab the *waiter* (thanks anonymous! yes, even editors need editors) to say "vodka", then stop him from leaving to say "dry" then stop him again to say "lemon". Par for the course. But it was good when it arrived, so I ordered a second one.  I didn't think we would need the whole rigamarole again, so I stayed quiet. He brought me a gin martini, with olives. Sigh. I would have just had it, but I hate gin so I asked for it with vodka. Waiter brings vodka, with olives this time. I give up and go with olives. The first sip was so confusing it took me a moment to realise what was going on in that little cone-shaped glass. I kid you not, it also had white creme de cacao in it. By now I was the most high-maintenance bar patron ever, so I drank it. I drank a vodka martini with olives and a chocolatey liqueur. And you know what? Once I ate the olives, it wasn't half bad.

 I'm still swearing off martinis in Abu Dhabi though. 


Snap caption: What are you doing on Hamdan Street, red London phone booth?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

No flowers today, says the man working in the flower shop

Today was almost the day. When I got flowers, from my boyfriend. He entered the flower shop at the One to One Hotel, noticing immediately it was empty of its most important inventory. Here is how it went down:

Him: Do you have any flowers?

Flower shop man: No flowers today.

Him: Why are you open if you don't have any flowers?

Flower shop man: Flowers tomorrow sir.

Snap caption: Oh dear

This pic's been making the email rounds for the last week or so.
Unfortunate tailpipe placement.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Saji Karunakaran: One to watch

The National commissioned Mr Karunakaran to produce these Eid cards after he was profiled in the paper. Mr Karunakaran, 39, spends his day fastening equipment to oil rigs that are under construction for the Gulf Piping Company. Then at night he goes back to his camp and paints – often using only his memory and imagination as a guide.

“He is usually in his own world,” says Biju Thomas, a welder who shares a room with Mr Karunakaran. “He paints every day, and even on Fridays, and for that, there is a lot of respect for him here. Usually he is very quiet, so not many people know that he is a painter.”

It was a friend, who framed one of his paintings and took it to the company's human resources department, that got Mr Karunakaran noticed. His paints, the reporter, Suryatapa Bhattacharya, told me, are mostly those little plastic pots children use. I absolutely loved and am inspired by this man, who sees so much beauty, who has so much devotion. I hope you are too.
Eid Mubarak.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Ba ha ha: Nice one Fake Plastic Souks

Loved Alexander McNabb's "Your Call is Important to Us" parody of call centres here this morning, especially this:

"When answering the phone, say 'Hello'. When the caller says 'hello' back, keep saying hello until the caller becomes angry."

That freaking happens all the time here. 

Friday, September 3, 2010

Hey thanks for stopping by! Love your keywords...

As Google Analytics is broken and I don't have the patience to fix it, I have moved to Stat Counter, a new device that lets me see how many people are coming to the blog, from where, and a whole bunch of other cool stuff I am currently addicted to.

But my favourite feature is checking the key words people use, which mistakenly bring them here when in fact they were searching for "abu dhabi" "cellar" and "howard johnson" (I kid you not).

Here are some of today's fun ones, (although I think "loui vuitton steering wheel cover" is one of my faves, I also love the one-two punch of the "do not go to" and "can't leave" abu dhabi:

nigerian girls in abudhabi

hot cat in the city

eat pray love uae

loui vuitton steering wheel cover

text from stranger

do not go to abu dhabi

can't leave abu dhabi

Snap caption: Now THIS I have to see

*Thanks again to Essam al Ghalib in Al Ain

A rant about going grey - on purpose, by moi

From The National NewspaperAs far as I can tell, 
I have three grey hairs on my head – and have had for 
the better part of a decade. If you happen to be nearby 
when they next grow in and I spot them, for example
travelling in a car, I apologise in advance for whatever 
danger I pose by my spasms of removal while staring 
into the rearview mirror. 

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 ...