Wednesday, March 31, 2010

And They're Off! Dubai World Cup 2010

As usual at the Dubai World Cup there are two competitions the first is between the horses of course, and the second is amongst the fierce fashionistas (and their obliging males) who dress to the nines and compete for prizes, notoriety and just the fun of it all.

This was our third World Cup so it's safe to say that we are getting the hang of it, but it's not without its effort! While Matt borrowed his tux jacket from the wedding and put a rush order in with the tailors for custom white suit pants and a shirt, while I was running around between hat fittings and looking for satin gloves. Audrey Hepburn was the inspiration this year and I was hoping to court public favor with our black and white combos! Not to mention the best dressed lady award comes with a Land Rover for the year - which is probably the only car big enough to wear a hat in!

We started the day at our friend Fiona's house where she put on a fantastic spread and we filled up on nibbles and bubbles (as the Brits would say) and once charged up we headed to the new Meydan race course. While straining to actually see a horse, we hung out in the Style Lounge and awaited the the fashion 'races'. After a long hot day in the sun Matt and I ended up in the top 4 of 200 entrants in the Best Dressed Couple competition and I was pleased to land in the top 20 of 500 Best Dressed ladies. Alas, like any good competition you can't predict who is going to pull through and we didn't clinch the title. Although, I'd already cinched my prize for the day - I am so keeping the hat!

This picture was featured in the Gulf News!

Milliner Karen Hamilton made this creation!
We didn't go to the races hungry, that's for sure!
Fiona is the hostess with the mostess
All the dolled up gals
The Top 20 - competition was fierce!
The massive Meydan venue - view from the Apron views
What do you think of our outfits?!

Monday, March 29, 2010

28 on the 28th

There comes a time is every woman's life when she starts lying about her age right? I was thinking that this might be the year except for the fact that my date of birth was directly correlated to my age this year! It was too obvious to start this year but next year when I turn 27 no one will be any wiser. I rang in 28 on the 28th of March this weekend and had a fantastic party coordinated by super husband of the year and all around awesome guy - Matt.

Not only is the featured cake a triple layer red velvet by Magnolia bakery, but he actually convinced the local gelato shop to make a few batches of mint-chocolate gelato to bring to the party. You forget how delightful ice cream cones really are until you realize that instead of a wine glass all the party attendees are manhandling a freshly scooped cone. Bonus points for Matt. Even more bonus points for not being able to find an "8" candle for the cake (now I can really lie about my age). Armed with only a number 2 candle, I was feted not only with the English but French and Italian versions of Happy Birthday. It was a great evening topped off by some dancing at Club 400 where there were a few dance moves on display that will live in infamy.

Oh yeah, apparently I'm losing my dexterity in my old age. My first slice removed from the cake ended up icing the floor after the knife got caught in paper....if there is one thing you’re never too old for it's the FIVE SECOND rule!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sir Bani Yas - I Beg Your Pardon?

As some of you might know, ever since our honeymoon in the Kenyan bush I've been pining to go back to the country to get my safari on.  Although the travel to such a place can be difficult and certainly costly, Matt was not about to give up hope of fulliing my wishes for the safari experience in the UAE.  Last Thursday morning, with my birthday on the horizon Matt told me to pack a safari bag and meet him at the airport in 4 hours.  A spontaneous safari - is there such a thing?

I was shocked and delighted when we boarded the sea plane in Abu Dhabi and set a course for Sir Bani Yas Island which is 160 miles SW of the capital.  The island is relatively unknown because until 2007 is was the private game reserve of the royal family set up by Sheikh Zayed back in the '70s.  It was great!  The tiny island is only 10mi x 5mi, but it packs alot in!  In additional to the great scenery and the game drives around the island you can also pick two organized activities each day that suit your fancy.  Summer camp for adults!  We did as much as we could with our 48 hours, and concluded with a fantastic dinner mountain side for just the two of us.  I don't like getting any older than the next person, but when feted like this it certainly makes it easier!   

Matt suprised me with a cake when we walked in the room.  Phase 1 - check out cake, Phase 2 - enjoy the sign...
Phase 3 - eat the chocolate!
An early morning picture in front of the sand gazelles
You gotta love the look
The activity said mountain biking, turns out beach biking is much harder!  Bonus points for Matt for centering and taking the shot while pedaling.
I loved the archery - and I still have the huge strawberry on my arm to prove it!  I'm signaling that I got 2 bulleyes (try not to look at how many I shot...)

Matt demanded the big guns so they found a 75 pound bow for him to play with.  When he missed the target the arrow actually when through the 2ft bale of hay and lodged in the rock mountain 100m away.  Do NOT get in front of this thing. 
I spotted this string ray on our snorkeling trip - I was so proud!
It doesn't get better than this.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Tasty Dubai

It's hard to deny that Dubai is a city with some great food! You can get almost anything here, from sushi to sandwiches and curry to crepes, you don't have to look far for your favorite foods. Unfortunately, part of that reality is that eating out in Dubai can be really expensive - nearly everything is imported (you can't grow much in the desert) and a bottle of wine is usually about 8x what you find in the US. (No kidding, Yellow Tail is about $50 a bottle know the stuff you can buy at CVS for $6.99?)

Taste of Dubai offers patrons the option of trying a miniature version of dishes from the trendiest and tastiest restaurants in Dubai and keeps you entertained while munching away. The only catch is that to buy the dishes from the various stands you have to use a form of fake currency defined by the event, and each one of these monopoly monies costs 5dhs ($1.36) and a standard dish is 8 fake bills so yeah, in reality it's about $10 a dish - not exactly a cheap night out when you are sampling several.

But it's still a great way to spend an evening! In addition to sampling the wares, we participated in a South African "whites" wine tasting, watched a throw down in the chef's theatre a la Iron Chef, and even attending a cooking class taught by Chef James Martin and made a grilled chicken and curried pumpkin dish. They best part is you can have all the fun and not have to do the dishes!
The Chefs from two of the Radison hotels faced each other in Battle Seabass!
Probably the only picture of me in an apron, er...trashbag.
Matt getting down and dirty with some butternut squash in our cooking class.  I'm "monitoring" the chicken via the viewfinder.
Lurpak butter - might be Matt's favorite stand.

Chef James Martin.  We don't actually know who he is but apparently he's on alot of UK cooking shows.  Wikipedia also tells me that he holds the world record for most carrots peeled and chopped in one minute - who knew?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Ry Does Dubai

It was great to have my younger brother Ryan here for the past 10 days!  He made the Shaver-clan three stong here in the Middle East, just enough to start a rebellion with our state-side counterparts, almost a quorum.  It nearly took brute force to get Ryan to leave the county when his time was up, appartenly hanging out on the beach is significantly more fun than studying for his PharmD exams.  Here are a few highlights from his trip. 

Ryan tries fondue for the first time while overlooking the slopes of the Ski Dubai

Smoking the shisha for beginners

Shopping for a yacht at the Dubai Boat Show
Ryan's first Indian food - you can see a little sweat on the brow...
I think this look is suprising natural on him!
Bash those dunes!
Enjoying the dessert room at Traiteur for brunch
The lobby of the Atlantis hotel
Who says they don't have pork in Dubai?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Fishing for Haiti

In a time of crisis, we all know that every little bit helps and resources, especially money are paramount. Although a long way from Dubai, the misfortunes in Haiti still resonate deep in the hearts of many of us who live here. Last week a few enterprising and philanthropic friends decided to put together a weekend get away outside of Dubai to raise money for a good cause and have a good time.

We were lucky enough to have my brother Ryan in town for the event! We picked him up at 2am from the airport and by 6am he was on his way to the fishing boat - jet lag does come in handy sometimes. Unfortunately, despite the fact that Dubai is know for its beautiful winter weather, we didn't get great weather for the event. It was a cold blustery day and both the fishing trip and all the water sports were happening on an at-your-own-risk basis. Both Ryan and Matt stepped off the fishing boating looking at little green. Ironically no actual fish were caught by anyone the entire day! However, given the severe weather conditions the boys entertained themselves by surfing the swells at the front of the boat.
The day concluded with a beach BBQ and a presenation regardind the Save the Children fund where the proceeds of the day will be donated. Good fun for a good cause - a great match!