Saturday, February 27, 2010

It's Raining, It's Pouring...Dubai Mall is Flooding?

The news has already struck the mainsteam media outlets worldwide, now even more people can google where Dubai is on a map!  That's right two days ago one of the world's largest aquariums, in the world's largest mall, sprung a leak!  Vistors at the time said that water started pouring from the tank and flooding the entire area which prompted officals to shut down the entire mall.  A pretty dramatic event!

At the last update, six divers had entered the tank and appeared to be coordinating with workers outside the glass, while workers mopped up water from the floor, and the mall is open again. Whew!  As much as we love our man-made lakes over here, we don't want them full of hammer head sharks and 500lbs groupers!

This isn't the first time the aquarium has had a little glitch.  In the weeks before their opening sand tiger sharks killed at least 40 smaller reef sharks and were aggressive towards divers working on final preparations in the giant tank.  Yikes!  This sounds like a clear case of 'revenge of the sand tigers' if you ask me!

Friday, February 26, 2010

A Dubai Tailgate

Tailgating in Dubai is just a bit different. With the absence of any real professional sporting teams - including "football", rugby, and cricket - we transplants rarely get the opportunity to pack up the picnic goods and hang out in the back of cars in anticipation for the big event.

Last week, we finally had an opportunity to spread out our blankets and pop up our fold out chairs for the Prince's Cup Polo matches. It was glorious 85 degree day and we took in the fun with a number of our good friends including the Colonel (that's right we had a bucket of KFC on hand - told you it was a real tailgate). Of course there are a few things that are different, the attire suggests something a bit more refined than the average NFL game, and hats are always welcome. I never pass on an opportunity to sport my big 'ol hat!

Of course, imbibing is always a part of a good tailgate and this was no exception.  The polo club staff had this aspect well in hand - there was a golf cart running up and down the length of the field selling bottles of Veuve Clicquot.  That's a first!

As for the games, it's hard to tell who is working harder the jockeys or the horses?

Dubai, Now With 300% More Muellers!

They came, they saw, they avoided the Washington DC snow! Last week, my parents barely escaped the Mid-Atlantic snowstorm, and despite losing a day to weather, joined us here in Dubai for some fun in the sun. We were delighted to have them for the first time - and they couldn't have picked a better time. The desert was nice and calm, and Jimdad got in on the action with his own quad bike. My mom, however, wasn't too happy with my dune bashing skills, and demanded that I let her out and pick her up on the way back. I'm not kidding.
She was a good sport about the whole flying-off-a-200-foot sand dune thing, and we did indeed make it back unscathed.
We were really happy to share a wonderful Valentine's evening at Reflett, which again re-affirmed it's dominance over other Dubai eateries in both service and food. It was also the first Valentine's meal I've had containing oysters, caviar, truffles, veal, and fois gras. Not so subtle with the aphrodisiacs, but delicious!
Overall, they definitely made the most of just a few days time - tea at the Burj Al Arab, a relaxing beach day, and some of the more touristy areas in the creek and souks. 
We didn't get them up in the seaplane, but it's great to have something to look forward to, right mom? (PS - She's terrified of heights).

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Shop Till You Drop!

The mark of what makes a sport can be defined by many things. However I've always thought that if there is a marching band involved there is a pretty good chance that you are watching an athletic spectacle.

If that is the case, then our recent trip to the Dubai Mall for dinner might qualify shopping as a sport! To celebrate the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF), which is a month-long shopping event where scores of stores slash their prices, the Dubai government provided us with some fun entertainment. An entire parade including a band, drum core, whirling dervishes, and even dancing shopping bags came through the mall in full force. Check out the videos of the parade in action – especially those dancing shopping bags? Who said there’s a recession?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

When the Saints Go Marching In

There are many benefits to living in Dubai, but when as a red-blooded American, you want to take in the Superbowl the 3:45am start time just isn't sleep friendly. 
However we don't give up so easily - even if we have to ignore all social media, news outlets and annoying spoil-sports for a whole day just to enjoy the game with an element of suspense.  At 9pm the next day our local sports pub was kind enough to host a viewing session for those dedicated few.  They even put together a special American-style snack menu for us (because pita and hummus doesn't really scream "football"), although I have no idea what a "bulldog" hotdog is supposed to be.

As we finally tuned in I realized, to my horror, that the stations here have cut out all of the commericals and the half-time show.  This is the Superbowl people!  Don't you know it's all about the commericals?  (I heard I wasn't missing much from the Who's peformance.)

So post-game I of course hiked it over to YouTube to catch up.  I leave you with this.  "Keep yo' hands of my momma, keep yo' hands off my Doritos."  Indeed!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Cupcakes and Merry Go 'Rounds! The Fun Just Keeps Coming

The risk is finally paying off.  After two years of living in a barren wasteland of sand and construction materials, we are finally becoming a real neighborhood!  Well not "real" like in the US where we would own push mowers and have cul-de-sacs and take the time to mulch on weekends.  In Dubai it means that we finally have side walks...that actually LEAD somewhere and that it's possible to walk around without scaling scaffolding and jumping concrete barriers (both necessary skills in the past).

Our 'hood is quickly becoming one of the nuttiest places we've ever lived, you never know what you are going to get outside the front door.  A few days ago we set out to take a stroll and see what else was new (read: what stores and eateries are open at the Dubai Mall).  As we strolled in from the fountain enterance, there she was - Bloomies!  We've been waiting 18 months for this!  The beloved Bloomingdales was finally open and it looked like, well, home.  It was as if Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware had a love child and it was adopted by Dubai.  Finally a bastion of modern hardware and home decor.  Matt quickly found a "must have" item, below:

Then it appeared, somewhere between the gourmet teas and the juciers, I saw the sign and couldn't believe my eyes.  Did that say Magnolia Bakery?  It DID!  The famous cupcakery from NYC has come to to the Middle East.  Life is good.  It's an added bonus that outside of a small few, nobody here knows what it is and that means no line.  I, of course, wasted no time running up to the counter and grabbing a freshly iced red velvet cupcake.  Yum.

After our cupcakes were were on a high, sugar high that is, and we were content to head home delighted by our new found treasure.  We were suprised by one final act of random fun.  Over the past few weeks we noticed that for a reason unbeknownst to us that a merry-go-round as been installed on the boulevard in front of our house.  I figured it was for an upcoming event and paid it no mind.  On our way home we decided to ask about it and the operator said "there is just here for people to ride for free, want to go on?"  Well, sure but huh?  Yup, that's right, there is free merry-go-round outside and we don't know why.  So we took a few spins.  Can't let a good merry-go-round go to waste!