Friday, 25 April 2008

Only a woman knows the value

of green shoes!

I am firmly of the belief that everyone must own a pair of nice bright red shoes. Not only do they look great with a black business suit or evening dress but they brighten the day considerably. When you slip them on in the morning they make you feel bright and happy and a bit saucy. People always comment on them and they give a nice bit of zip to a casual outfit as well.

Recently I dropped into Banana Republic in Abu Dhabi and bought a pair of ‘nice black office shoes’ that would also do for a night out. As I was shelling out the astronomic price for them I noticed they had the same shoe in lime green….will I …….won’t I….perhaps if they are allright after wearing for a week I’ll come back and pay another king’s ransom for the green pair.

Why would you want green shoes I hear you ask! Well green is my favourite colour – always has been. It was my father’s favourite colour (Mum says he was colour blind and green was the ONLY colour he could see!) It is also my sister’s favourite colour and she has very good taste!

So the black shoes survived the comfort test and the very next opportunity I had to visit Abu Dhabi I ducked in a bought the green ones. Everyone loves them. I never wear them that someone doesn’t make a comment on them. And just this week my friend Sheila who has returned to Canada put a comment on the blog asking how they went. Well I have to say they have been a success – don’t you love them!

Monday, 21 April 2008

Abu Dhabi Air Race

So we went down to Abu Dhabi for a bit of a break from the desert. One nice little perk is that the company I (Ron) work for currently has a vacant apartment in Abu Dhabi – so no accommodation costs when we go to town for the weekend.

The Air Race is sponsored by Red Bull and features aerobatic planes and pilots racing the clock through a series of “gates”. The gates are blow-up vinyl/plastic and, in Abu Dhabi at least, float on the harbour. They are about 12-15m high. - - - - - Yes - this means the pilots must fly their little craft at speeds of over 200kph at a height of 15m. - - - - And THEN, also do amazing flips and spins in-between gates.

Amongst all the gates and parts they have to fly through, there are 2 sets of 3 slalom gates. To get through these the pilot has to fly the plane on its side through one gate, and then switch onto the other side before going through the next gate. And this at a height of 15 m and at 150kph or so. Hairy stuff.

There are some news photos here: . FInd the photo with the scripted Abu Dhabi sign on the beach and we were about 100m to the left. And there’s a Cool You Tube video of last year's race at to give you a bit of an idea.

It was great fun to watch - but B--- hot on the beach. And so we retired to the Hilton Bar after a couple of hours!! - - to rest up before our evening dhow cruise of course.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Return the folder

Well I can't help but have a giggle about this little story. I was in the office today and one of my tasks was to review some documents for the Secretary General of the university. I needed to discuss the changes with a colleague and then type them up. So Abdul Nasser, the Chief Financial Planning Officer, dropped by. He had already done some work on the docs and had pencilled in changes he thought were necessary and put his documents into a folder. We discussed the changes and agreed on what needed to be done and then he left the folder with me to refer to as I was doing the typing and loading them onto our group on the uni portal.

Feeling very satisfied with myself I finished the review, loaded up all the documents, alerted people to some bits and pieces that needed doing and sat back to have a lemon tea. Cleaned up my desk and noticed I still had Abdul Nasser's folder. So I wrote a 'post-it' note on the folder and put it in the internal mail tray. The note said 'Please return this folder to Abdul Nasser, Chief Financial Planning Officer, Level 4'. The office boy came in and checked with me that he was going to the right office - 'yes, right, level 4 - up the same end as the Secretary general's office - yes - Abdul Nasser - ok, ok, everything good - I go now - return the folder' and off he went.

Just before I was due to come home he came back into my office with his face beaming and presented me the folder. I asked why he bought the folder back and he looked at me as if I was not quite sane and said 'yes, madam, bring folder back - good, yes, madam' Well who am I to argue? So I wrote an email to Abdul Nasser saying I didn't know why I got the folder back but that I hoped he had received the notes. He wrote back saying how he and his secretary had really had a chuckle because the boy had insisted on him only taking the notes and giving back the folder. He said he hoped I had good use for the folder and that he thought it was very funny that the boy had told him I had said 'Return the folder!!!!!' It took a few minutes and I just laughed out loud! - Do you get it? The note said - return the folder - so the boy did........and he had really had to convince the secretary to take the papers out so he could return the folder - TO ME!!!!

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Only in the UAE! We are not able to attend - oh dear!

UAE stages camel beauty contest

The first camel beauty contest in the UAE took place six years ago

Ten thousand camels will be fluttering their long eyelashes in a unique international beauty pageant being held in the United Arab Emirates.

The contest in Abu Dhabi is one of the richest and biggest events of its kind, with more than $9m (£4.5m; 5.8m euros) and 100 cars in prizes up for grabs.

The contest will feature camels or "ships of the desert" from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Organisers hope it will remind Emiratis of traditional desert values.

The contest is part of the Mazayin Dhafra festival, which starts on Wednesday, and organisers say it is the biggest contest of its kind to be staged in the Arabian Gulf.

A panel of expert camel appreciators will choose the best animals for each age group.

Entry is open to anyone who can prove ownership of a pedigree camel, and the animals must be free from contagious diseases, and without any serious defects.

The ruler of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, has sponsored the event.

It is said he wants Emiratis to help preserve their national identity through the respect of an animal central to Arab culture.

The first camel beauty contest in the UAE took place six years ago.

Camel racing is a popular sport, with money from the region's oil riches often placed in huge bets.

Long before the oil industry moved in, the Bedou tribes prized the animal known as the "ship of the desert".

Camels were the main measurement of wealth, along with horses and falcons.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

The Sheikh Zayed mosque is on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi as you approach from Al Ain. You pass the mosque on your way into the city from the airport so it is difficult for us to miss it really. The mosque looms large on the skyline both in daylight and at night when it is fully illuminated.

Dedicated to the memory of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan late President of the UAE and fondly known as the father of the UAE. the mosque is a tribute to a life that made a huge difference in the UAE. Sheikh Zayed has his photo in many conspicuous places and is seen as the most revered and honored leader of the Emarati population. His sons are the current rulers and his memory lives on through them. I think I could do a whole exhibition of the monuments to Zayed - they are everywhere.

Now back to the mosque.......We have been watching the construction of this building since our arrival in the country. Even at that time the mosque was a magnificently lit building that was part of our introduction to the country. Our limousine driver whisked us past as we approached Abu Dhabi on the night of our arrival. I think our comments at the time were something like - "Holy cow what is that!" We tried to gain access to it in our first couple of weeks but it was not yet open to the public.

Just recently we heard that there were tours being conducted for school children and that the mosque was accepting visitors, so we decided to have a look at it. We took Jenny, the trainer from BCA who is doing management training at the University with us.

Here is a link to some information about the mosque. No amount of written words can describe the grandeur of the place. On leaving Ron said - "I really feel like I have been to church" - he was overwhelmed by the building, even more than the Vatican. I suppose that's because it was just so unexpectedly peaceful and beautiful. It does compare already with the Vatican and I believe when finally finished will have to be added to the list of the great wonders of the world.

Here are some photos - one of them is us in the main prayer hall. Yes that's me in the abbaya and shayla! Women must cover from head to foot and men must not wear short trousers and also need to cover their shoulders. The other woman is Jenny.