Saturday, April 30, 2011

Royal Wedding frenzy

Up until today I have managed to stay away from this Royal Wedding frenzy. Not because I have anything against it, but simply because I don’t see why it should matter to me – or anyone really – who is invited for the big day or the songs chosen for the ceremony or the details about the bride’s dress.
But, today, after waking up to so many different posts on Facebook regarding the wedding, I decided to investigate how the British nationals that live here in the UAE (approximately 100,000) celebrated the Royal Wedding.
While people in London took the streets to participate in William and Kate’s, ooops, I mean, Catherine’s nuptials, people in the UAE had several options to choose from. Some watched the entire thing at home, with friends and lots of free flowing drinks. Others headed down to venues that embraced the wedding fever and hosted lavish parties and screenings to celebrate the big day. Dressed up or dressed down (as you will see in some of the below images), people definitely did not miss out on the action in London!
And, as British pride and patriotism was celebrated all over the UAE, I must confess that I too took the time to actually watch the famous couple tie the knot. After all, this is history in the making… And, I guess, at the end of the day, everyone is fond of a beautiful fairy tale, right?
I just hope that people manage to get past all this madness, stop making comparisons and allow the couple to breathe and be happy.
The end.

Pictures from:

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Stress-free fun

Last week I went to another amazing concert here in the UAE. As Maroon 5 stepped on to the stage and I remembered all the other concerts I’ve been to before, both in Abu Dhabi and Dubai (Elton John, Shakira, Jon Bon Jovi, Stevie Wonder, Bryan Adams, etc.), it suddenly dawned on me: this is such a stress-free experience if compared to what we have to endure in Brazil every time we want to check-out the live performance of international artists! Here are a few examples:
NO stress to purchase tickets
Here you don’t need to stay up until the first hour of the morning, glued to your computer waiting for tickets to start to sell online or stand in line at box office for endless hours. Everything here is pretty simple and you can often find tickets available online or at box office until the very day of the concert!
NO stress to drive and park
You know all the logistics involved to get to and from concerts in Brazil? Leaving our house hours ahead of the concert because we know there will be traffic all around the concert grounds and that we still need time to find a parking space? No need to worry about this here! No traffic and lots of parking spaces!
NO stress to find a good spot and enjoy the show
I really do not like crowds and I hate going to concerts where I am forced to fight for a mere little space where I can – at least – breathe. Of course you can have that here if you really want to be right in front of the stage, but if you are more like me, I am sure you will enjoy the available space you have to the sides and back of the venue where you can drink, eat and dance the night away!
NO stress to buy food and drinks
Hungry or thirsty? Here you don’t really need to walk long distances for a hot dog or a cold beer or stay too much time in line wasting precious time and missing out on your favorite song. Lots of booths and cashiers will make this process really easy for you!
NO stress to alleviate the diuretic effect of all that beer
All of us know that if you drink a lot of beer – or a lot of any liquid, for the matter – you will most probably want to go to the bathroom over and over again. The good news is that in most concert venues here in the UAE you will find many bathrooms. This means no long lines. Plus, they are usually pretty clean – which is always an added bonus!
NO stress with the heat
I bet you did not see this one coming right? Well, but it’s true. Many concerts take place indoors, where the AC is usually turned on at full power, and many are scheduled between November and April, when temperatures are still reasonable…

And, since the temperatures are not that high yet, Abu Dhabi will be stage to a couple of great concerts: Shakira, tomorrow night, and Snoop Dogg, on Friday, May 6. Both at the Yas Arena, Yas Island.
Cheers!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Splendours of Mesopotamia

Splendours of Mesopotamia is the name of the most recent exhibition organized by Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC) at Manarat Al Saadiyat (a 15,400 square meters type-of-cultural-center located in Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi), open until June 27, 2011, from 10am to 8pm.








The exhibition, which showcases objects from the Middle East collection of the British Museum and from Al Ain National Museum, actually delivers what it promises: an introduction to “the history of the ancient civilisation of Mesopotamia as the crucial region in the development of human civilisation” and an exploration on how “knowledge has been passed from the ancient to the modern world particularly in areas of science, communication, art and literature”.

Visitors will be able to enjoy not only the exhibition and its guided tours, but also a series of related programs and events, such as workshops, talks and lectures – all free; though prior booking and registration is required. There is something for everyone: children, teens and adults!
Splendours of Mesopotamia is the first in a series of exhibitions preparing for the opening of Zayed National Museum in 2014. Judging by the quality of this exhibition, related public program and supporting material distributed, we can all expect great things to come.
For enquiries and bookings call +971 2 657 5900 or email artsabudhabi@tdic.ae.

Don’t miss it!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Bikini or Burkini?

Almost every single time I tell my friends from other parts of the world that I am about to go to the beach here in Abu Dhabi, I get the same set of basic questions. So, just in case there are more people out there curious to know the answers, I’ve decided to write them down here for you…
Are you allowed to go to public beaches in Abu Dhabi?
Yes, I am definitely allowed to go to public beaches in Abu Dhabi and enjoy the sun and sea.
Can you wear a regular swimsuit?
Yes, I can wear a regular swimsuit and I am not forced to put on a burkini (polyester swimsuit that covers all body parts except for face, hands and feet).

Do you feel comfortable parading in a bikini out there?
It depends. Although I am allowed to go to public beaches, I do not really feel comfortable in a bikini there simply because there are too many men around and they do look – stare sometimes.
Thankfully, there are other options. For AED 10, women and men (accompanied by wife and children) can have access to what is called a family beach. It is much more private and filled with expats. Besides the fact that you won’t feel like a piece of meat around here, you will positively be able to relax. Just throw an extra AED 25 and rent an umbrella to protect you from the sun and a chaise for when you decide to work on your tan.

Now, whichever the case, I highly recommend that you choose your bikini carefully. No need to be dressed in a burkini, but also not wise to show up wearing a G-string bikini anywhere around here. Be sensible please!
Can you go to the beach throughout the year?
Well, the beach remains open to the public all 365 days of the year, but I doubt you will attempt to go there during the summer months. Although you can rent an umbrella and you do have access to public showers at the beach, it is excruciatingly hot – not even the sea will refresh you. You can try, but will probably not last too long out there…
What do you miss the most from the beach experience back home?
I must admit that although I was brought up in Rio, I was never really a beach girl and would often prefer the pool to the sand and sea. However, there are a few things I do miss a lot whenever I am at the beach here: Globo crackers, grilled cheese and a very cold beer!!! I am sure the Cariocas (people born in Rio de Janeiro) scattered all around the world will agree with me on this!


Thursday, April 7, 2011

WOMAD in Abu Dhabi

Once again, WOMAD is back in town!
Never heard of it? Well, if you are into music, arts and dance, perhaps this is something that might be of some interest to you…
The World of Music, Arts and Dance (WOMAD) Festival celebrates the world’s many forms of – as the name says - music, arts and dance. The shows, workshops and other initiatives organized by WOMAD have one main goal: to excite, inform and create awareness of the worth and potential of a multicultural society.
First held in the UK, back in 1982, WOMAD has since then travelled the world creating events, introducing artists and promoting different forms of cultural expressions for over one million people in 27 countries.
The 2011 WOMAD Abu Dhabi will run for three days starting today (April 7 – 9, 2011) and will welcome artists such as Dr. Jimmy Cliff, from Jamaica, Paloma Faith, from the UK, Baaba Maal, from Senegal, Sain Zahoor, from Pakistan, and several other performers from countries like Colombia, Honduras, France, the UAE and many more.
But WOMAD shares more than just music - it also shares techniques through workshops and shares traditional cuisine through cookery stages. And you can enjoy every bit of it for free!
Activities will start a couple of hours from now. However, living right across from the stages set-up at the Corniche, I can already hear the drums and feel the rhythm.
If you are in the area, go to www.womadabudhabi.ae and check out the complete schedule and timings. If not, go to www.womad.org to find out in which part of the world WOMAD will be next. Who knows? Maybe it will soon be somewhere very close to you!

Shawarma X Kebab

I’ve noticed that some of my guests (especially the ones coming from Rio, Brazil) who get to Abu Dhabi excited at the prospect of savoring a nice kebab are often frustrated once they look at their plates. Finally, I think I solved the mystery… What they call a kebab has a different name around here: shawarma.
The truth is, despite the name variations, the doner kebab (from Turkey), the gyros (from Greece), the tarna (from Armenia) and the shawarma (from several Middle Eastern countries) are pretty much the same: lamb, goat, chicken, turkey or beef roasted on a vertical rotating spit, shaved and usually served as a sandwich.

The problem is there are several types of kebab, not just the doner kebab mentioned above. Have you heard of kathi kebab, kakari kebab, chapli kebab, burrati kebab? Well, these are just a few of the available kebabs out there!
But, in most places, a kebab will be associated with the famous shish kebab – which basically consists of grilled meat on a skewer. And I guess this is what my guests are usually served around here when they actually crave tender slices of meat wrapped around pita bread (shawarma).

So, if you ever feel the urge to have a kebab, I suggest you first do a research and make sure you use the correct word to give qualification to your kebab; or find out if there are any name variations depending on the country you are in. Otherwise you just might end up with something entirely different from what you envisioned...