Friday, November 29, 2013

Overheard on a Etihad Airways Toronto-Abu Dhabi flight

Canadian oil and gas worker (en route to Saudi) to oil and gas worker from India (previously worked for Hibernia, off the coast of Newfoundland):

"I travel halfway around the world to work offshore, you travel halfway around the world to work offshore; it's ridiculous."

Look who's coming to Dubai: Paris Hilton at Cavelli Club

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Dubai wins World Expo 2020; UAE proceeds to have best day ever

So you may have heard that Dubai won the right to host the World Expo 2020 last night. The country had fireworks ready to go from the Burj Khalifa as soon as the news was announced in Paris - special enough, one would think. But the celebration did not stop there, nooooooo it did not.

Among the hard-to-imagine in Canada awesomeness that sprung from this news: today was suddenly proclaimed a national holiday, free coffee at Tim Hortons and free ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery, a cool Google doodle and this, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, triumphantly raising the UAE flag atop the tallest building in the world.

There is some pretty cool video at his Facebook page, too.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Windshield selfies: Is this a thing now?

So I spotted this in my neighbourhood the other day. It seems to be a sticker bearing the image of the owner of the car. (Unless it's someone else I don't recognise?)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Still in Canada, because this much snow

The scene from my brother's front door Sunday morning.

I was due to arrive back in Abu Dhabi from a visit back home tonight. However as you can see, there was a giant dumping of snow on my hometown of London, Ontario this weekend. Several times over the weekend officials closed Highway 401, which is how we make the two-hour drive between London and Toronto's Pearson International Airport, and I didn't risk the drive. (More love to Etihad Airways, my favourite carrier in the world. I can say that, because I've flown a little, though never Aeroflot or Ryan Air, thankfully. Anyway, a call, zip, doodle, one small Mastercard charge and I'm flying out Tuesday night)

I have to tell you that while I am here, I'm loving the winter: the crisp, invigorating air, the cool coats and hats, warm cups of hot chocolate, furry slippers, flannel pyjamas, lots of comfort food and just the general cosiness of it all. (I'm not loving having to wear boots everywhere, the instant and unsolvable dry skin issue and of course, the bane of every Canadian woman, "static hair".)

Yet I know my delight at the season is due to my imminent departure from it for sunny, warmer climes. Next week there will be flip flops, and beach yoga, and warm evening breezes across my balcony.

If everyone around me is a little less excited than I am about the white stuff, of course that is because they are going to be in the thick of it for the next six months. And even though I've been gone from Canada for 5.5 years now, I still remember that winter loses its lustre very, very quickly.

Snap caption: Arabic coffee pot is a little bit rock 'n roll

Spotted at Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Jay Z in Abu Dhabi: The 3 best moments of his post-Abu Dhabi Formula One show

The power outage
This took me way too long to notice - after a few minutes I actually said to my friends 'he's taking a really long break' only to be told they blew a generator - but who doesn't like being part of something so large and unusual? And then Timbaland shouted out to the crowd

Thousands of blue wristbands flying through the air during Empire State of mind
I imagine the novelty of these du-sponsored wristbands, which light up simultaneously at key concert moments, ie "In Neeeeeeew York", will wear thin by the end of this weekend. But they really created a moment (and in a different way for my friend Julie, who was in the toilet when hers started flashing).

Jay Z turning the cameras on the crowd
I can't believe no other singers have tried this: it's a great time killer and an absolute delight for those in the crowd to be recognised on the big screen. He called out lots of fans, including one with a sign that read "Blue Ivy is the cutest" and another, asking "you hurt your foot?" And it was fun to hear him gently directing the camera man: "Y'all cut away too fast; you need to hold it a bit longer!"

These pics of David Hasselhoff in his Baywatch outfit on the beach on Saadiyat Island are awesome because ________

I can't believe I missed the Hoff this weekend in Abu Dhabi, because he was literally everywhere: on the Abu Dhabi Film Festival closing night red carpet, in the Flash VIP Lounge at Ferrari World and at the F1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Priz (as a guest of Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority). But it was a visit to the beach on Saadiyat Island, where Hasselhoff encountered some fans from Germany, that yielded the best photos. Not to mention the entertaining press release:

Among the autograph hunters was 21-year-old Ronja Hannsen a hotelier from Dusseldorf.
“This made my day,” said Ronja. “When I first saw David in the lifeguard’s chair I thought I’d had too much sun – but he turned out to be the real thing. I got my photo taken with him and it’s already on its way back to Dusseldorf. BayWatch may have been a long time ago but it was an iconic series and David’s still looking good. This is really something to talk about when I’m back home."

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 ...