Monday, February 21, 2011

Manarat Al Saadiyat

It's amazing how interesting things are not promoted enough here in the UAE. In most cases, you will only know about an exhibition or event once it has long ended. If you are lucky enough, you will hear about it from someone and make it in time; or you will simply bump into things by mistake.

That's exactly how I came to discover Manarat Al Saadiyat, a 15,400 square meters type-of-cultural-center located in Saadiyat Island. Never heard of it? Then I suggest that, from now on, you keep this hidden secret in mind.

Manarat Al Saadiyat is supposed to be a 'place that provides enlightenment' (this is actually the literal translation for Manarat Al Saadiyat). It houses four major galleries and is often the home to several exhibitions celebrating contemporary and universal arts and also a series of special events.

If you haven't yet stopped by, I have the perfect excuse for you to make the trip: check out the permanent exhibition - The Saadiyat Story - and learn everything about this great island which, when completed, will have seven diverse districts, several museums (like the Louvre and Guggenheim), a multitude of hotels and many other masterpieces.

And you can even end the day at a cosy little restaurant on site, with one of the cutest little backyards I've ever seen... What are you waiting for?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Basic Arabic

I’m a bit embarrassed by what I’m about to say, so I’ll just come right out and say it: I haven’t yet mastered the Arabic language.

I did try it once. Bought a complete pack with CD, DVD, etc. (you know, the one sold in airports and major malls in the US?), but it did not work out for me. The whole method is quite interesting and probably would have worked if I tried learning Italian or French or something along those lines. Not Arabic.

Spoken by more than 280 million people and the official language of 22 countries, Arabic is certainly beautiful (specially the caligraphy), but it can be tricky. Basically, you have to deal with an entire different alphabet, written from right to left, several dialects and various interpretations. Tough…

So, after four years, I’m still stuck with the basic stuff, like hello, goodbye, welcome, thank you and so forth.

I know it’s not much, but I am happy to share it with you. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Full speed at the Yas Marina Circuit

Who says you need to be a professional driver to experience a race car track and its amazing turns?

Well, I just came back from the Yas Marina Circuit and I can say this is certainly not the case.

Every Tuesday evening, from 6pm to 8pm, cyclists and runners are welcomed to the popular Yas Training Nights, with free entry to all.

The adventure starts at Gates 6 and 7. After a quick and simple sign-up process, Abu Dhabi residents and visitors can opt to use the Full Circuit (5.55km) or the South Circuit (2.35km).

It is really a once in a lifetime opportunity. Besides the thrill of actually setting foot inside the circuit and to be able to see the entire race through a totally different perspective, it is also nice to see all kinds of people (professional and amateur runners and cyclists, adults, elders, kids, etc.) together, enjoying a great night outdoors.

I am definitely going back before the temperature rises again, but, for now, I’ve got to run and get my toosh into a bucket full of ice. I don’t think it was very wise of me to hop onto a bike and do 10km after approximately 20 years without riding one. Already feeling the pain…

So, if you’ll excuse me - gotta go!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Crazy weather

While several parts of Brazil suffer with the rain, many US states are on alert due to the snow and sub-zero conditions and Australia faces cyclone Yasi, the UAE can’t get rid of winds and sandstorms.

This was actually the first time in four years that I’ve seen such strong winds and that much sand up in the air. But perhaps that’s because this time around I was actually in the middle of the desert.

That’s right. My husband and I had a brilliant idea: take my parents for a night out in the desert to celebrate their 36th wedding anniversary in style!

The hotel – Bab Al Shams – is simply amazing and I do believe they did enjoy the experience. But I am not sure they were expecting such a close encounter with the Bedouin way of life…

Well, what can I say? This is one anniversary they will never ever forget!!!!