Sunday, November 27, 2011

Tim Hortons in Abu Dhabi: Literally, just moments away

My colleague was out at Mushrif Mall earlier and snapped this photo. She said goodies were in the oven and staff told her it would open in "two to three hours".

I cannot get out there until tomorrow evening (see you all there!) so am seeking any and all man-on-the-street reports.

Friday, November 25, 2011

But I don't have an alias

I had to fill out some paperwork recently and was immediately stumped by the second question. I briefly considered "Blackjack" and "The Lone Ranger" but ultimately left the space blank.

Only in the UAE would a health club promote their shisha night

I got this email the other night:

Greetings from Al Wahda Health Club!

As from tomorrow night, we will have our Sisha Lounge back on the 31st floor again. This is a great way of enjoying a Sisha and Mocktails with the best view of the city!...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Snap caption: You don't have to get so touchy, I just thought I'd ask

Puss In Boots hits the screen in the UAE this weekend- kind of

The censors say it wasn't them (not that I am suggesting it would be for any reason... so why change it? To make it more relatable to Gulf audiences? It's Cat In Boots in Bahrain as well.

UPDATE: The National's Scene&Heard blog contacted both the National Media Council (no censorship, they said) and the local distributor.

Four Star Films says nothing was cut and as for the title: "It is common practice to many foreign territories outside of the US to change a movie title to suit their territory better, which is what we did with Cat In Boots".

Only in the UAE: Have you met my monkey?

The best thing about my encounter with this guy and his pet monkey on the Corniche tonight was not that he had a monkey as a pet, or that the monkey was wearing trousers, a striped T-shirt and (I think) a belt to pull is all together. The best part was that the monkey was chewing gum. Look closely, he's playing with it just like an 11-year-old girl.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Friday, November 18, 2011

A slight thaw appears in frosty Canada-UAE relations

Canadian foreign affairs minister John Baird will visit the UAE (and Kuwait) this week "to underscore Canada’s commitment to working with regional partners to help build strong democracies that respond to the needs and interests of their citizens", according to the ministry.

Might be nice if he could settle this spat over UAE landing rights, so "Canadian citizens who need/want to travel to the UAE don't have to pay for it with hundreds of dollars and loads of bureacracy in securing a visa".

He will join other leaders at the Sir Bani Yas Forum. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I still can't believe that the only two countries in the world I have ever lived in are so grumpy with each other.

Tim Hortons in Abu Dhabi: A little birdie told me ...

... the outlet in Mushrif Mall is supposed to open tomorrow. Inshallah, of course.

UPDATE: And... the little birdie was wrong. Is that thing ever going to open?

Overheard in Mushrif: Woman calling the police

"My housemaid has run away and she has taken all my gold."

Thursday, November 17, 2011

450 Canadian Christmas trees are now heading to the UAE

Relations between the two nations may remain frosty, but there is a ship bearing a refrigerated container with the UAE's name on it, holding with pure Canadian greenery in the form of fresh Balsam fir trees from Nova Scotia, heading this way.

I am of course Canadian and I have a fondness for real Christmas trees, but I have to be a bit of a Scrooge here and ponder the environmental impact of this particular operation. I completely get the sentimental pull here though. I would love to hear from anyone who's decided to get one. Also, it's hard to make a tree last past New Year's Eve when you buy it from a tree lot in mid-December. I have no idea how these trees, arriving on November 30 after what had to be a long and arduous journey, are going to hold up.

Overheard in the newsroom: Thursday edition

It's weird because he can see out, so he just sits there and watches everyone.

He's given our lawn some kind of lawn STD because there are mushrooms growing all over it

I want to work somewhere normal, where people act as they should.

I wanted to dress up as swine flu for Halloween, but then I got sick.

It's alright in the winter but in the summer it's hell.

I cross-stitched Tina Turner.

That's it. I'm so having carbs today.

Today in things you cannot do on the Dubai Metro

Add slipping in a cat nap to the list (which includes kissing, eating and bringing along any sort of luggage, even though the Dubai Metro ends up at Dubai International Airport). An American visiting her parents nodded off on the southbound Red Line, only to wake up past her stop to a ticketing inspector handing her Dh300 fine (about $83  Canadian).

Two train attendants confirmed to XPRESS that passengers caught taking a nap inside the train may be fined. But one of them gave a qualified answer: “If a passenger falls sleep and snores or disturbs others – by drooling or falling over on to someone else’s space – that can invite a fine.
“As long as they don’t disturb other passengers when they sleep on the train, then it’s OK.”

Only in the UAE: Valet parking edition

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Marvellously ambitious woman aims to mount iconic production all about lady parts in Abu Dhabi

I have got to admire this kind of chutzpah in a place like the UAE, where I cannot recall seeing the word for vajayjay in print in all my 3.5 years.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Michael Bolton brings his (pirate) show to Dubai next week

So if you've caught the television promos for Michael Bolton's show at Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai next week, and you are not from North America, you may have thought to yourself "why is he wearing a pirate costume and singing about Johnny Depp"? (And people are: I overheard two editors at work talking about this just yesterday)

Turns out that the footage that is being used to promote the show is from a gag digital short produced this autumn by Andy Samberg's Lonely Island crew for Saturday Night Live. The premise is that a bunch of rappers have hired him to do the soaring hook for their hard-core video, but he only wants to belt it out about Jack Sparrow. Like most of their shorts, it is very stupid and completely hilarious. Please watch.

Dinner at Red Castle: You say Kleenex I say Klenex

I took this photo at my favourite Chinese restaurant in Abu Dhabi, Red Castle, the other night. It's in Abu Dhabi's Chinatown, which is admittedly very little, in the middle of the block between the Madinat Zayed Centre on Muroor and HSBC on Airport. (I recommend the salt-and-pepper shrimp.)

I have two things to say about this photo. The first is that I love that almost every restaurant outside a five-star hotel in the UAE dispenses with napkins and simply places a tissue box on the table.  The other is that it is hilarious how this tissue company is so lethargic about their brand they could not be bothered to think up a proper name for it. Let's hear it for Rolerblades and iPhons.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Da da daaa, da da daaa... doo doo doo doo, doo doo doo doo: Tom Cruise and Mission: Impossible Ghost Protoccol team head to Dubai for DIFF

The Dubai International Film Festival just got a whole bunch more interesting with the news that the fourth Mission film will have its world premiere in Dubai next month. And so it should; no matter what the film turns out like, I want to see more of this. And this:

Tom Cruise does his own mental stunts. Photo/courtesy of DIFF.

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 ...