Wednesday, August 31, 2011

All I want for Eid is this Smeg refrigerator dressed up as a UAE flag

The UAE retailer better Life has released this limited-edition, made-in-Italy fridge*. If you want it, go and get it: it's available at Mall of the Emirates, Mirdif City Centre, Al Raha Mall in Abu Dhabi and Al Hamra Mall in Ras al Khaimah.
In the words of Abdullah Al Gurg, head of Better Life's owners, the Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group: "Every home in a country is a microcosm; just as our homes give us a sense of comfort and lift our spirits like no other place, the sight of our country’s flag makes our hearts swell with patriotic fervour. I am honoured to call this land my own, a pride that I would like to share with all my fellow countrymen with this product specially created for our homes."

*UPDATE: price is Dh10,999

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Overheard in the newsroom: Slightly special Sunday edition

Hello, do you sell banjos?

A man cannot say no to a free iftar.

Why do people keep opening restaurants here? Is it a test market?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Three random acts of Ramadan kindness

Pay double for your taxi fare - more than once

Fill up on stuff for bachelors through The Box Appeal programme

Help DAM, a group of Palestinian rappers get their next album made. Go to and pay US$1 and up for varying levels of downloads in return.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The censor strikes again, this time in Dubai, with stickers

This photo is quite old (I can tell by the mag covers) but it's still fun. A reader snapped it last year in a Dubai International Airport bookshop. The logic behind covering up Christina Hendricks on the covers to the left, but letting her all hang out on the right, has yet to be unravelled.

Monday, August 22, 2011

One of my favourite things: Little Mr Arab phone holder

I have just switched to a BlackBerry, which means Little Mr Arab – who I picked up last year at the One to One Hotel gift shop – is no longer needed. But I think I'll leave him in my purse anyway, because seeing him nestled in there always makes me just a little bit more happy.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Arabic labels sometimes make cooking challenging

Update: My colleague tells me that even if you speak Arabic you are often no better off, because many stickers (like the bottom one) do not supply the corresponding information. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I had an amazing iftar in Fanr at Manarat al Saadiyat, the exhibition space, courtesy of TDIC last night. I snapped the yummy dips and my first-ever glass of jalab, a mixture of rosewater, molasses and dates that tastes like flowers and perfume smell.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Crikey! Censorship in the UAE! The thick black marker strikes again

I get magazines sent over from the US via Aramex, a not-very-sustainable practice that I am ending this month with the acquisition of an iPad. All that to say, I still find it quite jarring when I do buy a magazine here and see the censors work first-hand. I can't help picturing a man in a massive warehouse somewhere. For some reason, in my imagination, he is sitting on a stool and wearing a green jumpsuit and a baseball hat. And I only ever picture one man, as opposed to the team of more than a dozen people whose job it is to to flip through all the publications that come through here daily.

I'm not sure exactly what the censors took issue with in the above photo, it seems to be some sort of device with which I am definitely not familiar. More of their work can be seen here and here.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Overheard in the newsroom: Super special Thursday edition

"I'm very skilled if you put me in front of a chicken carcass."

"I love pig farmers."

"It's the call to water! Cheers."

Saturday, August 6, 2011

It's hot. Summer survival guides are a joke. Except in the UAE, now, when you must have one

I have said it before and I'll say it again: August in the UAE is not that different from the depths of a harsh Canadian winter. I am as pale as a cadaver, my clothes are all too tight and all I feel like doing is laying around watching repeat episodes of all those shows that keep up with the Kardashians.

But while I never felt going outside when I lived in Canada's capital of Ottawa, where it gets seriously cold, the bottom line was that I could and if I did, I would be better for it. Much better. Once I realised that if I put on snowpants and braved it through 45 minutes, no matter how biting the wind or driving the snow, sometime in the last 30 seconds or so I would begin to feel more alive than I had ever thought possible. Once home and in my jammies I would feel so cosy, so happy and warm and lucky, that I would fall into the sleep of the dead and wake up the next morning a new, un-Seasonal Affective Disorder-ed woman.

And because I forgot to say it before now to the Muslim readers out there...

Tim Hortons in Abu Dhabi: Thanks commenter Moe!

Somehow just seeing this picture, thoughtfully submitted moments ago by commenter Moe, makes everything in my life seem better. 

Also Moe reports that Mushrif Mall, home of the world's newest and possibly most exotic Tim Hortons franchise, opens on Wednesday. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Tim Hortons is still coming to Abu Dhabi: 3 positive indications

Again, my hand. My Tim Horton's. Summer, 2009. 

You may remember this bloggy blog reporting way back on February 3 that a Tim Hortons was probably coming to set up shop in the new Mushrif Mall. (The picture seen here even made it into the Canadian Business Council's spring newsletter, which hopped on the anticipation bandwagon)

That news was obviously super exciting. Well, April 5, the supposed opening date, came and went with no Tims. I am here to say: don't give up. Keep up the faith. I believe, and so should you, because:

Dubai sex-on-the-beach case one you probably didn't read about in the Daily Mail

Vince Acors and Michelle Palmer they are not. A maid and her lover, a Pakistani accountant, were each handed a year in prison followed by deportation yesterday for having an illicit affair, water-based affair.

The pair reportedly met in a disco and came to the attention of authorities when the maid's sponsor reported her pregnancy. They took to the waters off Jumeirah Open Beach, where police said the maid confessed to three trysts.

Only in Abu Dhabi...

... would my friend and colleague's upstairs neighbour, a single man from Jordan, present her with a little ceramic bell (bearing, helpfully, the name of his home country) and tell her to ring it whenever she needs him.

*Not the actual bell presented

Overheard in the newsroom: Super special Wednesday edition

"I am an expert at staycations."

"Seriously, is no one hearing jazz music?"

"My mom is calling me on Skype. She has never in my life acknowledged that I have a full-time job."

"Nothing to infer about our arriving together."

Reporter A: "So you don't like rollercoasters?"
Reporter B: "Absolutely no. I don't like adrenaline of any kind."

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 ...