Saturday, January 28, 2012

Floating on a Sea of Bubbles: The Opening of Jumeirah Etihad Towers

In the Emirates people often lament that there isn't a lot of "old" stuff around town.  We don't have a lot of old main streets or squares, buildings or shops - but we what we do excel at is new.  There is always something new opening up and if we are lucky sometime we get invited to check out some of the brand new digs around town, and this time around we were really in for a big treat.

Matt and I were invited to attend a private event in the new Jumeirah Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi the evening before it opened for business to the public.  The occasion was to mark the first dinner in the hotel with the help of a private tasting of Dom Perignon vintage.  Anyone knows that bubbles are pretty much my favorite accessory for an evening out - so this was like wearing the crown jewels!  The hotel was in top notch, untouched form as we entered the spacious foyer - greeted by a bell hop who said "welcome to the Fairmont!" with enthusiasm and then upon realizing his mistake said, "sorry sir first day in the new job".  It's so new the staff haven't even said the right name yet!

It was a beautiful and memorable evening where we had a chance to sample some of the finest years on offer from the house of Dom Perignon, proving that pairing something old with something new is a winning combination.
The beautiful lobby is a great open space with a water feature built right into the floor.
All smiles when Dom is on the carte du jour.
The specialty of house comes with it's own luggage.  This is a hand crafted champagne fridge that was brought in from France for the event.  Even the flutes must travel in style.
Our fabulous hostesses for the evening from Duty Free Shopping.
I was admiring the craftsmanship (and adding to my dream Christmas list)!
As a former clarinet player, I'm always happy to enjoying the music stylings of a fellow woodwind.
The table center pieces were simple stunning - hello secret garden.

Every good party sends you away with favors!  We each received a Dom champagne preserver.  Ironic - who wouldn't finish a bottle of Dom!

The meal from the team at Etihad was fantastic.  Each dish was designed to pair with the sparking from the specific year.  It was a wonderful treat!
Class is in session!  Learning about the history of champagne makes Benedictine monks look like party animals!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Dirty Jobs, Dubai Edition: Cleaning a Skyscraper

For anyone, it's a bit disturbing to hear a knock on your window.  When you're a few hundred feet off the ground, and the knock is someone's foot, it's a bit freaky.
Mike Rowe, eat your heart out - this is a "Dirty Job" that your producers will never let you try!

Cleaning skyscrapers is big business - every tower has a window-washer basket that lowers from the roof.  In the olden days (2010), people would hang out in these baskets - it wasn't a job for the faint of heart:
Apparently, they're not very efficient - so now buildings hire teams of dozens of rappelling window washers, that cheat death every day.  Enter "Spider Washers" - a company that is taking over the market in the UAE and scaring residents every day.  Here they are invading my balcony (I knew somebody was stealing our outdoor pillows!)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Back From The Holidays!

For 2012 Matt and I both have a lot of New Year's Resolutions, one of which is trying not to procrastinate on putting up our blog posts, so if this holiday wrap up post is any indication we are not off to a good start!  As we enter our 5th year in Dubai - yep, we've graduated from Senior year and are working on a post-grad degree - we've got a lot to be thankful for and a lot of high hopes for the year to come.

Our favorite time to prepare for the coming year is naturally spending Christmas with both of our families and ending up in NYC for New Year's Eve is becoming quite a tradition as well.  This year we were lucky that we were almost able to squeeze everything in - although it never feels like quite enough time before we head back to the land of sand and sun.  So long story short - who's coming to visit us in 2012?

See ya soon!
Wade and Ryan are completing to see who will be the next Brawny man.

Chris is even better than one of Santa's elves!  He set up a cookie decorating station so I could express myself with icing as soon as we arrived!
This was some of our best work!
And then as a Christmas gift he prepared an authentic Iron Chef crab cook off for Matt and I to compete in!
With Chris and the family as judges the competition was stiff - here I am trying to get a leg up on Matt's dish.  In the end we tied and now I'm already planning a strategy for next year's rematch.
This is what make your own pizza night looks like in the Mueller household.
Ringing in the new year at the Chatwal Hotel in Times Square.  Here's in 2012!
Of course a visit to FAQ Schwarz was in order and we both found things we wanted, for Matt it was a giant sized Rice Krispy treat.
For me it was the Statue of Liberty made out of legos!
The weather was so mild we even when to the Central Park Zoo where Matt got friend with a goat at the petting zoo.
Waking up to this view of Central Park was a great way to send off 2011.  Can't wait to see what the next year has in store!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Chivas Legends Dinner with Sir David Frost

And...we're back!  What a hiatus - we came, we saw, we drove, flew, and walked all over the world, and are finally back in Dubai to focus on what counts - working off those extra holiday pounds.
Step one - exercise those fingers with a little blog typing!  To kick things off, I'd like to bring you some photos of a little thing called the Chivas Legends Dinner, this year held at the Burj Khalifa's Armani Hotel, with guest Sir David Frost:
He's a bit of a firecracker, having an illustrious broadcast and reporting career spanning The Nixon Interviews (he's the Frost in Frost/Nixon), The Week That Was (a 1960's Daily Show), and 
apparently being one of the most frequent fliers on the Concorde.
The evening was a blast all around - good food, good Chivas, and good fun - and a great way to cap off a great 2011. 

 And, no that's not a famous person in front of me - just a guy who was apparently erroneously told that it was a "casual" event, and not to wear clothes from work.  True story - rather than step it up, he went khaki (and, yes, I'm laughing at him).
Of course, a hangover wasn't the only thing I had to worry about the next morning.  I've had to apologize for leaving Katie at the apartment to watch TV during my "Gentleman's Evening" - for that, you'll have to wait for our holiday festivities in the next blog posts!