Monday, October 24, 2005

What I Have Learnt in the Last Year

Well, we have survived our first year in the sticks (well, the sand really) and even more amazing – the Arabs have survived US!! So, time to take stock, reminisce and see what (if anything) we have learnt ….

I have learnt that

* camel milk is best left for baby camels (camellettes)

* out of sight is definitely out of mind, or so it feels sometimes – people are obviously getting on with their own lives, but being so far away can sometimes feel soooo lonely

* taxi drivers with hair dyed red should be avoided at all costs – unless you really ARE suicidal

* lots of money certainly does not give you lots of class

* “mosque music” can actually grow on you and often sounds quite pleasant

* not all meat labeled “lamb” comes from actual baby sheep, sometimes it tastes like it could be baby iguana – Syria does not have delicious lambs

* South Africans are not the worst racists in the world

* small brown round fruits should be avoided at all costs – maybe they should be sent by the ton to New Orleans to soak up the flood water …

* STAY OUT OF THE UAE in summer
* STAY OUT OF DUBAI at rushhour
* STAY OUT OF THE FAST LANE when driving

* Abayas and shaylas are not only beautiful, but practical as well – but also damn hot

* Don’t eat before going dune-bashing in a 4 x 4!!!

* “Inshallah” and “tomorrow” are good all-round words to use often

… I am sure there are many many many more things I have learnt – I will add them as I think of them!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Movie Sub-titles

Most of the English movies shown on tv here have Arabic subtitles. Now, I find subtitles irritating at the best of times - I won't even consider going to a movie with them because I am so busy concentrating on the bottom of the screen, I usually miss all the actual action above.

But you have no choice on the tv screen.

My points are :

How can it take three lines of Arabic to translate the words :"Yeah, ok"
Sometimes the Arabic squiggles take up almost the whole screen.

Then, if you are watching a non-English, non-Arabic film, you have the English translation with the Arabic translation superimposed on top. So nobody can understand anything!!

What are they translating when music is playing and nobody is talking?
"La la la di da doh..."

And, for goodness sake - what are they translating when a horse neighs or a dog barks?
"Horse says .. bhrrr" or "Dog barking in shrill voice" ????

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Let there be light ...

One of the most impressive mosques in Abu Dhabi is the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan mosque which is named after the late Sheikh and is very hard to miss. It is considered one of the biggest mosques in the world and covers 22 000 square metres.

And now - according to the Khaleej Times newspaper, the world's largest chandeliers, worth $8million will be installed at this mosque. They will consist of Swarovsky crystals and the largest chandelier will be 25 metres in height, 10 metres wide and will weigh 9.5 tonnes!

So... size DOES count!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Women's Culture

DD and DM took a drive to the Women's Cultural Centre the other day. Here are some photos we took ....

At the entrance - couches and chairs covered in wonderful, handwoven fabric - in front of a magnificently carved door

A picture of the late Sheikh - made entirely of tiny beads -

an absolute masterpiece!

... and the gorgeous DD is a masterpiece too!

Inside, we found a bevy of ladies beavering away making baskets

How to make a stunningly beautiful young girl look like a horse!
Or Goucho Marx!

Monday, October 03, 2005

The other side of the Emirates Palace Hotel

You know that larney hotel near the Marina Mall in Abu Dhabi - the fancy one we have all been dying to have a peak at. Well, fortune smiled on the "Lulu" family and we were able to gatecrash ...

Like typical "niks gewoond" tourists, we gazed and gasped and gawped ... and snapped photos of anything that moved (or didn't move, too)

We were even stunned at what was in the basement parking - rows and rows of sparkling, brand new BMW's, Merc's and even Bentleys (or were they Rolls Royces?) DH couldn't tell me - he had tears streaming down his face at the time and his tongue was hanging on his tie, so he couldn't speak!

One floor had all white cars, the next floor had all black and a third had all silver! (I think they are part of the hotel deal where you get a chauffeur driven car as part of the stay).

We took the obligatory photos of the chocolate pudd with actual, real, proper GOLD LEAF on it, and the ice bar - made of actual, real, proper ICE!

You really know you are a peasant when you are so overwhelmed that you take photos of the toilet signs, the toilet doors and the washbasins!

But, what are you when you sneak a piece of toilet paper into your handbag to show them folks back home - 'cause it is so thick and so soft????

I've got PMS today

... and in case you don't know what PMS is, it is Putting up with Men's Shit.

A recent scientific study found that women find different males attractive, depending where they are in their menstrual cycle.

For example, when a woman is ovulating, she will prefer a man with rugged masculine features.

When she is menstruating, she prefers a man doused in petrol, set on fire, with scissors stuck in his eye and a cricket stump jammed up his a**.

Yup, got a bad case of PMS today - can't live with them and now we can't kill them either!