The Glamorous Life

entertainerLiving in possibly the world’s glitziest city takes cash. Cold. Hard. Cash. There might be an oil field a few kilometers from my villa but I am not on the payroll. So therefore, we expats have to find ways to make the biggest splash with the least amount of cash — because this awesome lifestyle doesn’t come cheap! Those gold flaked cappuccinos… well, they don’t grow on trees.

The expat secret to living the luxury lifestyle can be found in one little book or now that we are in 2015, should I say, one little mobile app. And everyone knows it. It’s called The Entertainer.  Continue reading “The Glamorous Life”

Dubai Only City to Receive Perfect Score in Honesty Test

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7DaysUAE

As reported in 7DaysUAE:

Dubai has earned a perfect score in an honesty experiment. Filmmakers from the UK carried out the test 45 times on the streets of the city – and on each occasion a kind-hearted resident returned it to the owner.

Daniel Jarvis, 26, from the hidden camera prank series ‘Trollstation’ and cameraman ‘Digi’ Dan, 25, visited various areas, such as Downtown Dubai and Bur Dubai, in recent days for the ‘Would You Steal In Dubai? Social Experiment’, which has been posted on YouTube and had more than 70,000 views by last night.

Jarvis told 7DAYS that they were surprised and heartened that no one even looked inside the wallet, which contained a few euros and some dirhams.

He said: “We’ve done this in London and other parts of the UK, but we’ve never had an experiment where no one’s taken the wallet.

“First we did the test on Sheikh Zayed Road, near Trade Centre and Emirates Towers, but everyone kept returning it. Then we thought, ‘maybe it’s because people in this area are rich’.

“So we went to Bur Dubai, which looked like a poorer area… but people kept returning it there too.”

The wallet is returned once again
The wallet is returned once again
The pair tried out the same test in London and said someone ran off with the wallet on attempt number 12.

Jarvis, who plays the suited, wallet dropper in the video, said having the property returned was “such a nice feeling”.

“I feel the media always twist stories about Arab countries,” he said. “There was once a headline about something like a man getting 15 years in jail for stealing a teddy bear. We’re showing the world it’s not like that at all.”

Trollstation’s channel has 230,000 subscribers and the duo’s next stop is likely to be Europe then America and Africa.

“It’s impossible to beat Dubai’s score now, of course, but we’ll see if someone matches it,” Jarvis said.

Please visit the original article 7Days 

30 in 30: Day 7 Souk Painting

I love Amira’s 30 in 30 project and I love this painting! Souk is Arabic for open-air market. There are many different ways to spell souk, sooq, souq etc. they all mean the same thing. If you have a chance take a look at Amira’s art it’s lovely!

The Art of Amira Rahim

colorful abstract portrait painting by a “Afternoon Tea” 12×12″ acrylic on panel Available

Day 7. Today was a tough painting day for me. I started the day already anxious about fitting painting in and having time for some other commitments in the evening. And so, I started my day in the studio as usual right after breakfast. I can’t say painting this was easy.

“Afternoon Tea” was painted from some photos I snapped in Dubai while visiting the old souk with my friend. She is Somali and we gathered around her aunt’s shop that day to have the delicious cardamon tea just before maghrib, hence the title. I love the contrasts in the black and white, as well as the colorful background. And I am pleased with the overall product. But, today especially, I’m noticing a resistance in my hand. It is like I don’t want to perfectly render facial features anymore. After all, I am a self-professed

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Women’s Work in the UAE

2593111251 Want to support women’s work in the UAE? Plan to attend this NYU sponsored event exploring the various ways women’s work in the UAE goes beyond “fixing” the women to transforming the contexts in which they live and work. Representatives from the education, entrepreneurship, private, and public sectors discuss cutting-edge research and private-public partnerships that support work-life balance strategies, nationalization efforts, and social policy aimed at encouraging women’s employment. In examining different ways to conceptualize women’s non-linear career paths, the panel moves away from simplistic stereotypes about women’s “preferences” or assumptions about their “choices” to a characterization of the micro mechanisms that facilitate their learning, career development, and long-term well-being.

Date January 11, 2015
Time 06:30pm – 08:00pm
Location NYUAD Saadiyat Campus, Conference Center

Panelists
Fatima Al-Shamsi Deputy Vice Chancellor for Administration, Paris Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi
Rabea Ataya Founder and CEO, Bayt.com
Anisa Al-Sharif Entrepreneur and former Director of Policy and Strategy for Socioeconomic Development, The Executive Council, Dubai

Moderated by
May Al-Dabbagh Assistant Professor of Social Research and Public Policy, NYU Abu Dhabi

Please confirm your attendance to Maisoon Moubark Maisoon.moubark@edelman.com before January 8, 2015.

Image Credit: Niño Jose Heredia/©Gulf News

VOSS, Mermaids and Al Badia Golf Club Picnic

real-voss-pic2VOSS water makes me feel like a metallic mermaid or one of those ladies carrying a ruffled parasol. It makes me feel fancy just by drinking it. A little upper-crust, a little high-brow; which is very hard to do because I live in the land of oil, wealth, and excess. One rule of thumb when visiting a place of leisure — if they serve VOSS then it must be nice. So the afternoon I spent at the Al Badia Golf Club’s Picinic Brunch was nice, actually something out of a George Seurat painting. I felt like a character in A Sunday on La Grande Jatte. Leisurely picnicking on the lake with a cascading waterfall overlooking some of the most magnificent greenery I have seen in the UAE. Right there on the 9th hole. I felt like I died and woke up in Florida or some place even nicer.

The Al Badia Golf Club’s Picnic Brunch is a cozy, romantic, gastronomic daydream with red and white checkered table cloths on picnic level tables with gourmet food stuffed in classic woven baskets. The ambience is magical with a guitarist serenading in the background as little girls in princess costumes twirl in circles. Along with the picnic basket stuffed with gourmet goodness there was a large buffet and live stations scattered around the garden. After the meal guests relaxed on large comfy bean bags chatting it up with friends as the kids entertained themselves in the kid- friendly area. I remember thinking to myself that this moment would only be better if everyone I loved was right here beside me. It was a great day. It was a lovely surprise. I truly did not expect to be so in awe of the experience. If you haven’t been to Al Badia Golf Club’s Picnic Brunch. Please go. Do it now while the weather is perfect. I promise you, It will not disappoint.

Information on the Al Badia Golf Club’s Picnic Brunch (hosted both Friday & Saturday) can be found on their website. Just a short drive from Abu Dhabi to Dubai’s Festival City you must take the opportunity to experience this unusual relaxing afternoon. Be sure to bring your friends!

Information is as follows:

AED 275 with soft beverages

AED 375 with house beverages

Days: Friday and Saturday, 11.30am – 3.30pm

Email: restaurantreservation.dfc@ihg.com

vosswater

Would you like VOSS water delivered to your home in the UAE? Vossdirect.ae offers a comprehensive list of sales and product information, including prices per size, style of the bottles including high-grade PET or glass. In addition, there is the option of paying by credit card or cash on delivery and also provides estimates for shipping and taxes. The launch of the website coincides with the recently launched home and office delivery service. This new service, offers customers the convenience of artesian VOSS to be delivered directly to their door. Tailored for various consumption events, VOSS’ numerous product offerings can be viewed online, offering accessibility to all across the United Arab Emirates.

For further information or to order please visit http://www.vossdirect.ae or contact the team directly on +971 4 384 6797

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* a big thank you to Shippey Photography

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My Abu Dhabi Thoughts 2014

— The big smile of a laborer — because I know it comes from the heart

— The smell of shisha at a cafe — even though I don’t smoke

— The thrill of the city lights as they shine against the dark desert sky

— The willingness of a friend or a stranger to do almost anything — for nothing in return

— The way a friend from another country pauses to come up with the best word so I will understand them accurately

— The twinkle in an eye from a soul that has lived through tragedy

— The cheery conversation of two British kiddos during the morning school run

— The smell of foods I have never heard of — from countries I’ve never visited

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— How I secretly am drawn to the chaos of miscommunication

— That I have almost grown to appreciate the smell of oud

— That I could now compete on a game show and correctly guess a sentence understanding only two words

— When disaster strikes we all pull together empathizing with people and countries we have never met or visited

— I am addicted to the surprises that the UAE constantly offers

— Realizing I now understand global politics, history, relations and also realizing that many people don’t

— My empathy for others has grown enormously

— What I want is for everyone I love to feel/see what I am experiencing

— I have grown used to driving in the chaos of the UAE roads

— I feel a little lost without a National dress

— Mam/Sir doesn’t bother me anymore

— It saddens me to know that many people around the world are misinformed about life in the Middle East

— The slang words I don’t understand but am always willing to try

— I love rubbing elbows with people in the supermarket

— The smell of rain is like heaven

— I love unexpected friendships that pop up out of nowhere

— And most of all, I love seeing the world in my child’s eyes

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— My heart is full for the one we lost on a sad December day

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Thank you to the unknown artists whose photography and art I have used in this post.

The Expat Trade-Off

IMG_0012_2Life is a trade-off. I have the Maldives and you have Miracle Whip. You have NY&Co and I’m trying to squeeze my arse into French fashion. Expats do not have Girl Scout Cookies, Andes Mints, and beef that tastes like home. Chili powder, Cheerios that taste right, and good New York bagels. Pork? Forget it! Whatever they do in the UAE twists the taste into something unrecognizable.

We traded a country that operated pretty much like a well oiled machine for a multi-ethnic experience where we only comprehend answers to questions, directions, and a restaurant menu about thirty percent of the time. And since we have no other choice, we have learned to trust people with things that would absolutely shock Americans. 

Yes, we live an exotic life.

Which may sound like a dream to some, yet in reality it is a trade-off for things expats hold dear but gave…

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NYE @Asia de Cuba

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No plans for NYE?!? How about the St. Regis at Abu Dhabi’s Nations Tower newest Chic, sophisticated, glamorous, witty and above all, fun, Asia de Cuba? Combining a high-energy environment with its Chino-Latino menu; intensely flavored, imaginatively prepared and ultimately celebratory. Rooted in the Chino-Latino cafes that dotted the streets–first of Havana, and then of Miami and New York, Asia de Cuba has created a style of food and service all its own. Havana’s Chinatown, El Barrio Chino de la Habana, is one of the oldest and largest in Latin America. Beginning in the late 19th century, 150,000 Chinese came to work the sugar and coffee plantations, many from Canton in the south. As both are near the Tropic of Cancer they share similar weather and climates, and so Chinese vegetables were able to thrive in the Cuban soil. In the next few decades, many Chinese immigrants from California settled in Cuba, bringing with them new techniques and recipes, like Fried Rice, further improved by the island’s abundant shellfish.

I love all things Cuba and all things China….I’m definitely interested. How about you?

The itinerary of the Evening:

6:00pm – 8:00pm

DINING AREA A la Carte

9:30pm

DINING AREA (indoor): AED 850 per person

3 course meal with items chosen from a seasonal la carte menu
Unlimited selection of premium beverages
Dine indoor and party on the beach deck, enjoying the fireworks at midnight and our resident DJ all night.

BEACH DECK AREA (Outdoor):

Party on the beach deck, enjoying the fireworks at midnight and our resident DJ all night

Cabanas – AED 6000 minimum, for 6 people. Extra person @ AED 800 per person

Loungers – AED 6500 minimum, for 8 people. Extra person @ AED 800 per person

Pergola – AED 10,000 minimum, for 12 people. Extra person @ AED 800 per person

Welcome Fruit and Cheese Platter
Ceviche, Salad and Hot Appetizer Platters
Unlimited selection of premium beverages

STANDING BAR: AED 550 per person

Unlimited selection of premium beverages at the bar or cocktail tables.

Entertainment:

Spinning live all night is our Resident DJ – Marise Cardoso from Brazil

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For Reservations Contact : 02 699 3333

For More Information on Asia de Cuba visit their website http://www.asiadecuba.com

I Was a Pilot @iPilot

ipilot_logo-01-300x300The Abu Dhabi PTA was invited to the iPilot grand opening at Yas Mall; and of course, we accepted because when else will we have the opportunity to fly an Airbus 380….in the mall? Never. So we went.

We arrived at the little iPilot office which is conveniently located near Cheesecake Factory for our flight simulation experience. The design was very airport like. The flight attendant greeting us looked just as spiffy as any Etihad or Emirate attendant and was accommodating too ushering us into the cockpit of what looked like a REAL PLANE!

Here’s what the company has to say on their website, “At iPILOT we enable you to fulfill your dream of being the Pilot of a Boeing 737 or an Airbus A380. Our simulators are so real that Pilots can train in them. They offer a total immersion experience with a fully enclosed Cockpit. You can take off and land to any of over 24 000 Airports around the World, with Hong Kong Kai Tak and St. Maarten being firm Favorites. Our Instructors, many of which are Experienced Pilots, guide our Customers through this experience of a lifetime. iPILOT has been featured by CNN, The Sunday Times, BBC London, The Observer, German TV Sat 1 and RTL. It has been voted by Sunday Times Travel as one of the hottest things to do… Book Your Flight Experience Today!”

Maha was dressed for the occasion. Sporting her usual uniform of heels, Bebe top, and ripped cool jeans; she was ready to take on any of the 24,000 airports mentioned above. Of course there is always a pilot and then a co-pilot; so we agreed to take turns. I would take off and Maha would land. As it mentions in the company info it FEELS like a real plane. Not that I have ever sat in a real plane cockpit but let’s just say, it’s a plane, in a mall, and it fooled me. All the buttons, and lights, and gears, and even a working headset so Maha and I could communicate our flight patterns. That’s industry talk. I know. You won’t get it until you too have had the iPilot experience 🙂

So we were prepped on the important stuff and then practically left on our own to guide the big bird into the air. I must say it is quite the sight to see a well-dressed woman behind the controls of an airplane. Yes, the UAE does have the famous female pilot Major Mariam Al Mansouri, but she wasn’t wearing stilletos and ripped cool jeans while flying an Airbus A380, which I was informed, is the big monster double decker of a plane. The whole experience was a little surreal. I felt the motion of the plane as I guided it off of the runway and up into the air. I managed to not harm anyone on board or take out any high-rise buildings in the process. I turned the controls over to Maha and she steered the plane in for the landing. We waved hello to the Burj Khalifa as we speed past enroute home. Two chicks. Two PTA moms. Bringing a big giant plane in for a safe landing. What an experience! We looked at each other as we were leaving and said, “Our husbands would love this!” Go and fulfill your dream of being an airline pilot. Go experience it for yourself. What a great gift to give for the holidays.

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iPilot at Yas Mall is now open and there is currently a Groupon offer available. For more information on iPilot please visit their UAE website for general information or stop by and visit them at Yas Mall.

Carols, Marshmallows and Santa

Santa GirlYes, Christmas in the Middle East sounds like an oxymoron — and a little far fetched I agree. I too was blown away when I laid my eyes on my first Christmas tree. And of course, in full UAE style, there’s never just a simple Christmas tree but instead holiday sequoia-like trees that are three stories high and decorated by highly qualified Indian engineers. They spring up overnight immaculately decorated from top to bottom with an elaborate Santa village and dancing Filipino elves singing at the top of their lungs while enthusiastically pulling the willing into Santa’s house for a chat with the breaded guy. Even in the Middle East there’s a fascination with Christmas and all of the festivities; the colors, the baking, the snow, the giving. It’s the magic of the holiday and you don’t have to believe to participate. Muslims, Hindus, Shinto and Buddhist lined up in long queues to snap a pic and share in the joy.

This weekend we attended our first Carols in the Desert which has become an Abu Dhabi tradition for expats and some locals to drive 45 minutes into the middle of the desert to cook, dance, sing, and camp. This year over 2,000 people attended making the place look sort of like a festive refugee camp with the barren desert dotted with family camps spread over a large area of sand dunes. We arrived past dark without any idea of where we were going. Dragging a rolling Nascar cooler through the sand, up the dunes and stopped just as we crested the top only to find our friends had given up at the very same spot. Unable to see, unable to walk, we all decided this looks like a good spot. Since I had never attended I had no idea what to expect. Our Arizona friends, remember them, the Partridge Family of the Middle East? They were there of course because they will bust out in a song and strumming a guitar at any given opportunity. I could faintly hear them jamming away on the other side of the camp. In fact, many of my friends were there but it was so dark you couldn’t see. Hello. Hello. Hello. You could scream into the pitch dark night. Everyone around us was keeping a close eye on their small children for fear they would wander off and end up as camel food.

My friend Kerstin brought along ginormous marshmallows and they were the talk of the festive refugee camp. Never knowing what will be the conversation piece that pulls people together from the far corners of the desert, I was not surprised that it was the incredible hunk of gooeyness that was on the end of our camp fire stick. “Where’d you get those marshmallows? They’re like incredible. They’re like on steroids. They’re like a science experiment. They’re like the size of my bra cup. They’re like the size of my jock cup. They’re like a two-day meal. They’re like swelling up in my belly and I am not feeling so well.” Looking back on the event, I believe if I had a little more insight I would’ve definitely been better prepared for the Carols in the Desert. I would’ve made sure I had on a costume. Maybe a Grinch or a Mrs. Claus. I would’ve brought a lighted Jedi sword, a headlamp with an adjustable strap, popcorn, glow sticks, a pop-up tent, and maybe a glow in the dark frisbee. I believe that could possibly make Carols in the Desert an extraordinary event. There’s always next year and many opportunities in between to practice for perfecting the practice of being a festive refugee.