Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Brunch With Friends

Last Friday I was at a good friend's for brunch.  Here are a few pictures just for fun...


Friday, April 20, 2012

I Got Your Nose

My mother-in-law is currently visiting, and last week Erin decided to show her the “I got your nose” game.  All good, right?  For those of you not familiar with this game, you gently pinch someone’s nose and then put your thumb between your first and middle finger.  Thumb representing the nose.

I am sure we wowed my mother-in-law with her grandson’s fluency in Turkish.  This innocent game that we grew up with in the Anglo-Sphere is how you flip someone off in Turkey. I am not sure if it is used in other countries or cultures.  It's not something I would really do, but I have not tried to flip anyone off in Dubai, so can't speak for what works in the Middle East.

I did some Googling about the variety of ways to insult people around the globe, and found several funny blog entries about this.  I thought it might be interesting to explain here, but it is quite technical.  Nor would it be as good as one site I found with Jack the Sailor demonstrating various gestures.  If you want to travel and not offend anyone, I suggest you look him up to cover all basis.  Or you could just keep your hands in your pockets.  If this proves to be offensive somewhere, I take no responsibility.  If you choose to insult people in this way, it’s all you.

However, I can advise you that just because another country has their own sign language for flipping someone off, this does not mean that the middle finger does not translate.  I’ve not tested this myself, but I have experienced it first hand.

The first time I was encouraged to drive in Istanbul – three days after I moved there - someone who was in the car “waved” his middle finger to a guy who was driving very badly and almost hit us.  Be sure, the driver of the other car knew what that meant and proceeded to run me off the road onto the very narrow shoulder of the Golden Horn bridge.

I don’t think this was staged to teach me how to drive and gain street smarts in Istanbul.  If so, the guy was a great actor and looked pretty angry as he proceeded to get out of his car and come toward us.   We were out of there as fast as the heavy car with no power steering would allow – screeching tires and all.

I think we can thank Hollywood for this.  It must be the result of all those action movies that has globalized the middle finger.  So, maybe better to take the risk and leave your hands in your pocket.  And do not try to hide anyone’s nose!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Yas Marina Viceroy

Last year at a charity auction we bid on a one night stay at the Yas Marina Viceroy Hotel in Abu Dhabi.  No one else seemed too interested, so we won it at a great price.  We decided to redeem it last weekend.

Yas Island is a $36 billion development in Abu Dhabi.  It is part of the Formula One circuit and further plans are  underway to make it a comprehensive tourist destination.  The Viceroy Hotel is located on the island in the middle of the race track.

If I am brutally honest, I am not into race cars or car races - although learning since my son likes cars.  Nature over nurture.  He is like that by nature and nurturing me.

I went with no real expectation of the hotel.  Perhaps this is why I was so wowed by it.  Or, it could have been the amazingly friendly and helpful staff, the great service, amazing food we had at the South East Asian restaurant Noodle Box, amazing lobby with its subtle turquoise and brown color scheme complete with photography and architecture books that invite you to sit and read all day, or maybe just all the natural light.  I never thought something that looked so much like the mother ship would appeal to me, but it did.

I did realize while staying there it fed my need for repetition and lines.  I often end up with this in my images for no explainable reason, but I am drawn to it.  This is how I subconsciously define a "good" picture at some level.  So maybe this confirms that I do belong on the mother ship.

If you are not into racing and plan to stay during a race, be warned it will be very very loud due to its close proximity to the race track.  There were a few cars on a distant track a few times while we were there.  If the hotel supplies ear plugs to guests during Formula One, this says a lot.

The race track goes around the hotel, actually through as it passes through the bottom.
On the other side of the track is a marina with some crazy big yachts.

One of the rooftop swimming pools

Entrance to Nautilus, a seafood restaurant.
 I loved these larger than life eunuch looking guys.
Skylite Rooftop Bar

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Dubai World Cup

Last weekend was the first time after several years that I went to the Dubai World Cup.  I could never quite understand the hype.  It is world's richest horse race with a payout of $6 million for THE Cup, and a total of $22 million paid out throughout the night.  It is one of the most expensive sporting events in the world.

This is a big deal if you have anything to do with horse racing.  However, I was most perplexed by the majority who dress up and go to an event where they sit around and drink all afternoon and never see a single horse.  Sometimes events are fun, but in this case as the day progressed, it was not pretty.  This along with the challenges for parking, organization and waiting forever for a taxi to get home were not appealing.

Years later, we decided to give it a try.  We were on the fence until the last minute.  So late, that I found our tickets the day before.  We arrived at the Meydan, the new racetrack that opened in 2010 and it did not feel like the typical race day I had observed before.  There was parking available, the line to get in seemed well managed and the place was huge.  In short, I can say this new venue is amazing.  And the best feature of all, you can enjoy the races.

As usual, it is a great place to people watch - and hat watch.  I never understood the hat fascination.  Some internet research tells me that this tradition started because there was a strict dress code at the Royal Enclosure at Royal Ascot in the UK.  All males had to wear full "morning dress" including a top hat.  Ladies could not show bare midriffs or shoulders and had to wear hats.  On race day here you will see a lot of shoulders and possibly mid-drifts, but more than that you will see hats of all shapes and sizes.

Below are a few interesting hats from last weekend.  It was fun and I will definitely go again.

Honestly, the above was one of my favorite looks.  I thought it looked so elegant.

Love the images where you cannot see the face because of the hat.

These ladies were a pair that attracted a lot of attention.  "Hats" made from hair.  Burj Khalifa and a horse.  The girl with the horse said it was a tribute to Sheikh Mohammed as he loves horses.  I believe the Burj was a tribute to Dubai.
This was cute and she wore it well.
There was a Japanese group enjoying the races in their local dress.  Loved them.

By the end of the evening, we were inspired to wear our hat to the side!