Sunday, 23 November 2008

I should be so lucky . .

The Dubai Winter Season is upon us and that brings with it plenty of outdoor entertainment as the weather is truly lovely (sorry everyone out there where it's raining or snowing). 

The Atlantis resort on The Palm had its formal opening last Friday which hit the worldwide press.  I’m sure you will have seen the amazing firework show which lit up Dubai . . . . if not, you can view it here:

http://www.atlantisthepalm.com/grandopening.aspx

Did we see it.  No.  Dubai and it's beaches were pretty much on lockdown from 4pm that afternoon.  Some lucky folks viewed it from the high floors of neighbouring hotels!  Residents of The Palm were told that they were not allowed to use their private beaches and that they were not allowed out between 4pm and 2am.  All down to security we believe – and the huge amount of pyrotechnics that would have been everywhere!  Needless to say, I had an early night and was asleep by 10pm.  But what a shame.  It was incredible to see, albeit on a video clip!

However, Friday night we went to see Kylie Minogue onstage here . . . . it was great!  It was a clip_image001very civilised affair with only about 20,000 in attendance.  Well behaved, despite there being free flowing alcohol.  Despite it being an Islamic country, the “venue” was next door to one of the big hotels, so it managed to get a liquor license through the hotel . . . . . strange! 

There were those of us who were quite old – and by that, I mean those of us who remember her from her Neighbours days, and there were also those young ones present who know her current music.  It was very funny when she played an “old” song and all us oldies were jumping and clapping whilst the “young” ones looked on in amazement!  I felt my age many-a-time!!!

We got quite close to the stage and had a laugh. 

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Next up I think is George Michael who plays in a couple of weeks in Abu Dhabi and Sting a week after that.  But before that, we have the Dubai Rugby 7s which is this weekend.  We are taking the children for “family day” – not entirely sure what that is, but we are assured they will enjoy it.  Let’s hope so – I can’t imagine my two wanting to sit still enough to watch a whole day of rugby!!!  We will keep you posted!

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

It's Party Time . . .

 

We’ve been threatening it for ages . . .

We moved into our house in February and said “we must have a party” – time marched on and we didn’t.  Then we thought about it again and the weather was just too hot.  We have finally – just 10 months after moving into our house – thrown a housewarming party (combined with our birthday party).  About time!

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We had an amazing time, although it is really hard hosting a party for a lot of people!  We invited a fair few people – our friends from schools, friends from work, friends from all over really – everyone is very social here . . . .   How lovely that we had a headcount of about 60-70 (including children) turn up last Friday.

We had decided to do something a little bit special. We hired a “Shawarma Man” to do the catering.   Shawarma is a Middle Eastern style sandwich typically filled with chicken. 

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The classic shawarma combination is arabic bread (a thinner type of pitta bread), filled with tomato, pickles, cucumber, chicken.

 

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Shawarma is simple fare, but when prepared well, is gloriously mouth-watering – this was no exception, although I was too busy talking to people that I only had one!  I have to thank my fellow blogger, The Englishman in Dubai for the introduction to his shawarma man.

 

 

We hired a magician and a bouncy castle for the children – to keep them amused while the grown-ups knocked back a few, and knocked back a few we did.  DSC00687The stragglers left at about midnight and that's when we resumed our roles as parents and put the children to bed!

Next year is a "big number birthday" - that's all I'm saying . . . . . what will we do then . . . ??

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Sunday, 9 November 2008

Appropriate or Inappropriate?

Anyone who is living in Dubai - or perhaps a Daily Mail reader - will have seen this photograph before.

My reason for posting the picture on my blog is simple . . . . I LOVE IT!!!  This photo has been used whenever a disparaging article is written about foreigners (probably the British) not respecting the local traditions and culture.

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This picture was apparently taken at the Dubai World Cup last year and clearly shows a "westerner" in rather skimpy clothing next to a more suitably dressed (for the region) Arabic lady.

My question is . . . . do you really think that the lady in black is thinking "what a terrible outfit - how dare she wear something like this in my country" . . . . . or is she thinking "what lovely hair and a very pretty dress"??? 

Meanwhile, her husband is most probably thinking, "look at the legs on that!"

Quad Biking

We have recently had another family from the UK out to join us for a week's holiday and what a blast we had . . . .

Apart from being absolutely exhausted from all of the activities we did with them, the boys decided to go quad biking.  We went  to one of the quad biking places at Big Red, only to find that there was a bit of ruckus going on between some customers and the owners.  Something about the bike being damaged and the owners demanding payment . . .  we are not sure, but there was another place across the road, which was not drawing a crowd, so we went there instead!

 

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Apparently, the helmets were not really up to much and the lads felt that one bang on the helmet would make it fall apart, but the boys weren't up for going really mad, so they went with it!

(I sadly was stuck in the car with the exhausted children, so I didn't get to go on the bikes.)

Apparently there were some ladies on the quad bikes with their abaya's on.  That I would love to have seen.  Brilliant!

It was approaching sunset and they had a fantastic time - they came back though looking rather windswept and sandy.  Perhaps not a great activities for some of the "oldies" to do when they are out here, but for those adventurous enough to try, a great end to a great day!

It's my turn next time . . . !

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Telephone Culture

 

blackberry There are many of you out there who will laugh at me when you read this admission . . . .

When I lived in the UK, I pretty much refused to use my mobile phone – I did carry one for emergencies, but for the most part, my attitude was “if people want to get hold of me, they can leave a message on my machine at home”.

I didn’t know what my number was and I turned the thing on, maybe once a week – if I remembered! It wasn’t that I was a techno-phobe, I just couldn’t be bothered with it all . . . some people did get a bit cross with me.

However, the culture here is very different. No-one really phones anyone at home – I’m not even sure that everyone has a land line! Dubai’s social scene seems to exist on phoning/texting people’s mobiles.  Heaven help me if I lost my contacts list – every number I need for my life is stored in it!! I now send hundreds of texts every month and my phone is rarely far from sight.  Similarly, my family and friends from the UK do send me loads of e-mails and I spend a huge amount of time on the computer.  I rarely surf the net these days as I don’t have time – I simply send and receive a good amount of mail from those far away – which I love sending and receiving (keep them coming)!  I was completely gutted when my mail server went down, somewhere on the other side of the world, for the best part of a week, which meant couldn’t get any of my mails. . . . my world nearly stopped turning.  How very sad.

For my birthday – Tim bought me a BlackBerry.  An all-singing, all dancing machine (a smart-phone I think it is called) which is not only my phone but offers me permanent access to my e-mail. It is wonderful!  It now pings when I get an e-mail, bleeps when I get a text message and rings when I get a phone call.  I can even have MSN Messenger conversations on it – that is, if I learn to type fast enough on the little QWERTY keyboard!  All my contacts are now synchronized with my e-mail!  Even better, it is programmed to turn off at 10pm and to switch on again at 6am Dubai time (a girl always needs her 8 hours).

How things have changed – in a good way?  Or I am I just a sad, desperate person who can’t bear to be on her own and out of contact with people?

The answer – my family and friends rock my world and given that I am so far from so many of them, it makes the world feel that little bit smaller!