Saturday, January 28, 2012

UAE & H20: Sidewalk washing edition

I snapped this photo the other night walking on the city-side along the Corniche. Here's where I get judgey, and ask: Is it at all necessary to wash the sidewalk – in a desert country, to boot – like this?

Back in Canada we make fun of our neighbours who hose down their asphalted or interlocking driveways. And unlike the UAE, Canada has lots and lots of water. They even made a pretty compelling and scary mini-series about the US wanting to steal it awhile back, starring the totally awesome Canuck hottie Paul Gross.

Friday, January 27, 2012

JR photobooth at Emirati Expressions: Act now for a giant free photograph of yourself that may haunt you forever

This is the last weekend for the Emirati Expressions exhibit at Manarat al Saadiyat and I highly recommend you catch it. I also highly recommend that you take a giant black and white photograph of yourself in JR's Photo Booth and report back to me on whether you survived the experience. JR is a French photographer who has adapted his methods for this show. At last check there were more than 15,500 of these shots taken on more than 20,000 metres of photographic paper. 

They are huge. And although I hear tell of a colleague who so loved his that he had it framed (presumably to post over a home hearth to shock countless future visitors into an awkward silence) most people I talked to, depending on their vanity levels, have been horrified at what popped out. I spent part of yesterday afternoon killing myself laughing as a colleague described the humilation, step-by-step. His conclusion? "I don't think anyone over 30 should even contemplate it."

I am usually an optimist, but I can't help but think not everyone has been as happy as this guy after leaving that booth:

I'd love to hear about your experiences though! Please prove me wrong.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Lost in translation: Romantic room? Hmmmm?

Spotted this the other day when I was leaving the Marks & Spencer mall on Airport Rd.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Is there some sort of local Hallowe'en-type celebration I don't know about?

Okay, here is where I get a little judgey. I spotted this American Horror Story of candy and treats that seemed endless, with just some milk, juice and a few other items sprinkled throughout, in front of me in line at Lulu Hypermarket in Al Wahda Mall the other day. A mom and dad, with one small child in tow, were buying them. Even if this spread intended for a children's party, is it not still wildly inappropriate? There was literally almost nothing of substance thee.

There is an epidemic of diabetes in this country! Too much crap. Too much sugar. Too much of too much.

Monday, January 23, 2012

I like to write: Kim Kardashian's Dubai limo discussion may not have actually happened in Dubai

An entry  (by moi, BRING IT ON Anonymous) from The National's Scene & Heard blog:

A story making the rounds (and finally popping up in the UAE over at Emirates 24/7) indicates that Kim Kardashian and her mom, Kris Jenner, may have faked a key "scene" in the Dubai episode of E!'s Kourtney & Kim Take New York. In it, the pair sit in a limo with blacked-out windows, with zero background sound, and have the world's most non-emotional conversation (Blackberry checking included) about what in any other family would prompt screams if not physical violence: a daughter confessing to her mother that just weeks after her extremely expensive, big-deal wedding, she is having second thoughts. The "evidence" being presented online are pap photos taken in December, showing the pair leaving an LA production studio separately, Kardashian wearing the exact same outfit and hair, Jenner's tell-tale purple tunic seen trailing behind her.

To continue reading click here.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Tim Hortons in the UAE: And I thought you advertised heavily in Canada

Look, I have been one of the loudest proponents of the Gulf expansion. Why wouldn't I want one of the most constant and comforting aspects of my life back in Canada here with me in Abu Dhabi? But then I saw this:

Okay, it's a little hard to tell from the picture I snapped on my Blackberry while travelling down Sheikh Zayed Road toward Dubai before Christmas, but each of the three billboards that can be seen here on either side of the road are ads for Tim Hortons Cafe & Bake shop. They were among a series lining the highway. A quiet, deserted highly, lined with the same giant ad everywhere you looked. Then, to our right we saw a giant Tim Hortons warehouse, just as a Tim Hortons truck overtook us to our right.


Can this kind of wallpapering of billboards be an effective advertising tool? They were not even helpful billboards. At least the ones in Canada tell you where you can find the next Tim Hortons.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Tweet of the week: Nice job on linking Sheikh Mohammed's baby with Beyonce's, iAmLcoholic

 Adelle Lumalang 

Trending topics:  Zayed and Ivy Blue could possibly be bf/gf 10 yrs frm now :D 

Awww: Dubai's Sheikh Mohammed, wife Princess Haya and new baby son Zayed

The Dubai ruler tweeted news of the birth Saturday, prompting many to marvel at this break with the UAE's traditionally very private royal families. One might expect to learn about the new child of a ruler via the state news agency WAM, well after the fact – if at all. With his Facebook page and Twitter accounts, though, Sheikh Mohammed has been much more open. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Dubai largesse hits a new (low) high OR If you have ever been embarrassed by your bar bill

The National published an awesome story yesterday about a crazy-high bar bill from the Cavelli Club in Dubai's Fairmont Hotel that's gone viral (full disclosure: the Dubai Fairmont is a regular advertiser on this blog). The tally from Sunday night's shenanigans? Dh387,988, or more than $107,000 Canadian. As a non-high flier, I don't even understand some of the items on this bill – although I can't help but think the group was overcharged when they paid Dh125,000 for one bottle of Cristal. Outrageous. Also, these people drink WAY too much Diet Coke. (24; Dh528) I loved the first (and cheapest) item on the bill: Dh120 or about 32 bucks for a small birthday cake.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Today in strange group-buying offers for the UAE: The Snuggie

I just left Canada, Toronto specifically, where it was minus 15 Celsius and very snowy. Brrrr, a Snuggie would have come in handy. (And I have, while living back there, secretly coveted one). But as a Groupon offering in Sharjah and the Northern Emirates? I know it gets a bit less-hot at night in January, requiring a sweater or perhaps a light jacket, but seriously? I am wearing flip-flops right now.

Oh well, 17 people thought "Yes!" when they saw this and so and the deal is on people.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Have falcons, will travel

I spotted these two fine falcons in the duty free section of the Abu Dhabi International Airport as I was heading out for the holidays and asked permission to take their picture. Although I have friends who have spotted falcons in business class, in passenger seats of vehicles driving down Sheikh Zayed Road, in rest stops along the highway, I've never personally seen any in the airport and it was quite a thrill.

You know they were not going in a cage in the cargo hold. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Coldplay in Abu Dhabi on New Year's Eve: If only it were possible to be on two continents at once

I made a decision to stay in Canada a little longer this holiday, soaking up the love from family and some friends (hopefully giving a little back) – but it meant I had to give up my ticket for Coldplay's New Year's Eve show. (Instead I babysat my amazing niece while my brother and his wife slipped out for a little early dins. It was a pretty good trade)

Judging from these pics and Saeed Saeed's review in The National, it was a great show. Not sure I missed being in all that traffic though.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Tweet of the week: Tim Hortons in Dubai edition

Yasmin Al Mulla

That awkward moment when you order your regular Tim Hortons's drink at Starbucks! ... & Yes that's how I'm addicted!

Al Dhafra Camel Festival: Steven Seagal edition

Catching up on some old press releases this New Year's Day, I thought I could just post some cute camel pics. Little did I know that Steven Seagal had paid a visit. Does anyone know why this late-80s American action-movie staple (of late more the straight-to-DVD variety) has been spending time in the UAE? I cannot find anything online.

This autumn someone reported a sighting at the Intercontinental in Abu Dhabi, but I was never able to confirm. Now, photographic evidence that Seagal (accompanied by lady friend+child) has something cooking in the UAE.

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 ...