Friday, February 29, 2008
“Let go your heart
Let go your head
And feel it now
Babylon”

One of the great things about living where we do in Dubai is that we can hear concerts at Dubai Media City like the artists are playing in our bedroom. In fact, I’ve just been chilling in the bedroom listening to David Gray. Now that’s a different way to hear a concert—snuggled up in bed. Although there are some drawbacks… as David Gray was singing “Sail Away,” I sort of did sail away…and fell asleep. Luckily, Josh soon came in to check on me, him knowing my penchant for sleep. He woke me up just in time for me to hear “Babylon.“ Man, did David Gray sing that song like he meant it. It was a beautiful rendition…a little slower, a little more soulful than on the album/CD/download. (Take your pick of terminology as your generation dictates). I mean, I know he’s probably sung it a thousand times, like poor James Taylor and his classic “Fire and Rain,” but he made it sound fresh, like the music and the words were brand new. Listening to him…it was one of those moments when a song just soaks into you and takes you away at the same time. For just a moment, I did let go of my heart and let go of my head and simply felt…Babylon.
 
posted by Liz at 11:42 PM | 0 comments
Wow, so this afternoon I said the only way that today could get better was if I quote, "turned on Orbit ESPN and found live coverage of the Red Sox spring training".

How about live coverage of the Los Angeles Dodgers spring training?

Yep, right now I turned on Orbit ESPN and found the Dodgers playing the Atlanta Braves live at Disney's Wide World of Sports.

Since the Dodgers are my second favorite team in baseball, I'll accept this.

What a day!

Play ball!
 
posted by Josh at 10:48 PM | 0 comments
February 29Wow, I just took a whole week off. Sorry about that. We went away last weekend, our guests left early this week, I got a little head cold immediately thereafter, and, oh yeah, then I've been up to my eyeballs in school - both the teaching and studenting kind.

See last Thursday we took off for Musandam up in Oman, like where Liz and I went in October of 2006 (see Musandam). On Thursday I literally got home from teaching at 4 pm, took off my tie and threw on jeans and packed an overnight bag in the span of fifteen minutes, and was back on the road at 4:15.

The trip was great, though, I'll post some photos soon.

Not today, though. Today I'm relaxing like all get-out. I just had a fantastic grilled cheese sandwich and am sitting around in my pajamas listening to the Dubai Jazz Fest out the window (it's going on at Media City, around the corner).

And yes, right now I'm in a fantastic mood. Is it because of the magic of the Leap Day? One of my buddies in Portland has a birthday today. I think, theoretically, that makes her seven years old. That, or twenty-eight. Not sure.

My good mood could also be tied to my teaching gig. I found out yesterday that it'll likely end this coming week, which actually makes me more than a little happy. Teaching high school English? For the birds. I tried and tried to figure out how to grade an essay in the scantron machine, but I couldn't wrangle a way to make it multiple choice. And Shakespeare - geesh! I can't fathom how my Mom taught high school English for three decades. I've been there thirty-something days and I'm climbing the walls!

So it's a good Leap Day around here.

It'd only be better if I turned on Orbit ESPN and found live coverage of the Red Sox spring training. Although probably not a lot is going on in Fort Meyers, Florida at, what, 5 am?

Maybe I'll just use my Leap Day to re-watch Faith Rewarded: The Historic Season of the 2004 Boston Red Sox.

Man, I love the Leap Day.

It's odd how much I enjoy the Leap Day, considering how much of an aberration it is. Our whole calendar, actually. It honestly drives the organized sphere of my brain a little crazy. Why couldn't we have stolen the Mayan calendar, with its orderly eighteen months of twenty days each, plus five days at the end of the year for rituals and reflection?

Do you think I could do that, take December 27 through 31 as Wayeb'? Wikipedia (which never lies) tells me that people 'avoided leaving their houses or washing or combing their hair' during Wayeb'.

Hm, why wait until December? Sounds like I'm having a Wayeb' today!

So happy Leap Day and happy Wayeb' to me!
 
posted by Josh at 2:05 PM | 0 comments
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Next to the Dubai International Film Festival in December, the Dubai Tennis Championship—going on right now—is my favorite time of year here. I started going to it like four years ago. Bunches of us would jump in a car and make our way from Bur Dubai or Al Barsha to the tennis stadium and watch world class tennis players for less money it would cost us to go to the movies. Cooler still, we could get take-away from Dubai’s best sushi place, Sushi Sushi, that happens to be right outside the stadium and eat it as we watched Serena or Venus or Andre play. We would exchange (what we thought was) witty banter between points and then, after the silence during play, we would cheer loudly for a point well played. It was awesome.

Slowly, over these past years, the prices have risen, tickets have needed to be purchased before the day of the match, and the traffic to get to the tennis stadium has gotten increasingly bad. For tennis, though, we die hards would persevere. A few extra dirhams here, a few more minutes in the car there. No problem.

Until this year.

You see, even though I’m a member of the official fan club affiliated with the tennis tournament, I never got any warning that tickets were on sale and somehow all the seats to all the matches were sold out a month beforehand, long before tennis tickets were on my radar.

Why do I mention this sad story?

Because right now I’m in our apartment watching Justine Henin playing live on Dubai Sports Channel and there are empty seats. Plenty of empty seats, seats calling out to me, “Liiii-iiiz…why aren’t you here?” Or maybe they’re saying it in Arabic. Either way, I get their point and I’m annoyed. I mean, how did this happen? How did that many people find out about the tickets going on sale that much sooner than I did and then, after finding out and buying the tickets, how could so many people have blown it off, leaving empty seat after empty seat? And now Henin and Srebotnik are going into a third set! This is a sweet match that I should be sharing with friends. We should be passing sushi up and down the row and making (what we think) are witty comments. But instead I’m on my couch. Watching it on TV. Looking at empty seats.

I’m not at all impressed with this turn of events. I am, however, pretty darn psyched that Henin just won. Go Justine!
 
posted by Liz at 10:23 PM | 0 comments
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
It’s a little known fact that I love deviled eggs. I have no idea why I find them so delectable and delicious, but I do. Is it the hard boiled whites of the eggs that draw me in? Is it the yolk that's mixed with all sorts of bad for me yummy things like mayonnaise? Is it the paprika sprinkled on the top that’s just the perfect accent to this perfect creation? I don’t know. Perhaps it’s all these things together. In any event, last night was the first time that the universe conspired to make me make deviled eggs. Normally, you won’t find me much in the kitchen. It’s typically Josh making Chicken Coconut Curry (as he made tonight) or salmon with honey dijon mustard (as I hope he’ll make again soon) and me watching and cheering and getting in the way. Last night, however, a couple things happened: 1) Josh was super tired and 2) we had about two dozen eggs left over from a breakfast we meant to make when our friends were in town but didn’t. When I asked Josh what he felt like for dinner, he said sleepily, “Well, we should probably use those eggs,” and then turned over and closed his eyes. I was on my own with two dozen eggs. Don’t panic, Greason. I think: quiche! Eggs and whatever you can find in the fridge that goes with eggs: that seems like something I can manage. Put it all in a frozen pie crust, put in oven. That’s within my culinary skills. Ah, but pie crusts are hard to come by in Dubai, so I decide to make a quiche without a crust…perhaps a glorified omelette? And this creation seems like it will be decent as I put it in the oven, but I still have a dozen eggs taunting me. Twelve little devils. Wait: Did someone say “devils” and am I looking at eggs? Could I? It’s pushing my skills in the kitchen, I know. The people who make deviled eggs are women with much more culinary expertise and patience in the kitchen than I: Josh’s aunt, Natalie’s mom, people who are organized enough to bring something homemade to a get-together. God, how I admire those people who don’t secretly hope to be asked to bring cheese and crackers or drinks or (best of all) a loaf of bread to a gathering. It’s now or never, Liz. No excuses. No “making-deviled-eggs-is-something-other-people-do” crap. Liz Greason vs. 12 eggs. When I begin, I’m not sure who will win. But praise Buddha, I find a website called (I’m SO not joking) www.deviled eggs.com. Now, the woman who created this site is a freaking genius. She starts from boiling the water and uses non-condescending language such as, “For those who want to improve or perfect their egg-boiling and peeling techniques, read on.” As one who would like to improve her egg boiling technique, I WILL read on, thankyouverymuch. And, bless her heart, she guides me all the way from boiling water to scooping blobs of yolk mixed with mayonnaise and mustard and spices into those (slightly misshapen) eggs whites cut lengthwise. Now, they weren’t as good as Josh’s aunt’s deviled eggs or Natalie’s mom's, but by God, they weren’t bad. They were so NOT bad, in fact, that I ate almost all twelve of them in celebration of my accomplishment. Moderation: when will I ever learn? One thing at a time, I suppose.
 
posted by Liz at 9:48 PM | 1 comments
Thursday, February 21, 2008
So we just talked about the Brit with pot who got four years in jail, here's another "crime and punishment" story from the courts of Dubai ...

Six months jail for 'daydreamer' who killed traffic policeman

Oh, don't worry. The 22-year-old Emirati also had to pay 200,000 AED ($55,000), and he lost his license for a year.
 
posted by Josh at 3:08 PM |
So people in the States probably haven't heard much about this one, but apparently a big-name British radio DJ has been jailed on a drug charge in Dubai. Four years in a Dubai prison for 2 grams of marijuana he forgot were in a pair of pants in his luggage.

It seems, over the last two or three weeks, that Dubai's getting more press for their strict drug laws than their ability to build big stuff.

Unless, of course, their intent is to make the world's largest jail ...
 
posted by Josh at 3:01 PM | 0 comments
"Run! Go! Get to tha choppah!"

This week the Dubai police bought a helicopter to get to car accidents, their way around the massive traffic problem in town.

Dude, all the fire fighters got was a Corvette (see News: Dubai's Firefighting Corvette).

Apparently these chopper cops have little mini jaws-of-life cutting tools, which they'll carry on the shoulders as they rappel down to the accident scene.

That's insane.

I mean, totally rational human beings turn into gawkers when they drive by an accident already, can you imagine the gridlock and additional accidents when there's a police helicopter hovering overhead and dudes jumping out of it as if they were GI Joe troops?!

Photo and story at Gulf News.
 
posted by Josh at 10:04 AM | 0 comments
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
So I wasn't going to talk about this here, 'cause it's completely absurd, but if you haven't seen any articles (or email forwards) about The $14 Million License Plate in Abu Dhabi yet, well, check it out.

Yes, it's completely true.

I personally think it's ... well, does it even matter?

Probably not.
 
posted by Josh at 4:24 PM | 0 comments
Did you see that His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, went to Iran this week to hang with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?

No story here, I just like saying Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Mah-moud.

Ah-ma-di-ne-jad.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Mahmoud Mahmoud Mahmoud ...
 
posted by Josh at 4:20 PM | 0 comments
You're a week late and a buck short, Gulf News! Just read yesterday's article Number of malls in Dubai to double.

Sadly, I already covered this last week (see Do Buy!).

Boo-yah!
 
posted by Josh at 4:17 PM | 0 comments
Monday, February 18, 2008
20080218_burj120.pngSo yeah, you'll never guess what we did yesterday afternoon?

We had High Tea at the Burj al-Arab hotel.

You know, the 7-star Burj al-Arab.

The Burj al-Arab that costs something like $2000 a night for a room.

That Burj al-Arab.

And you all thought my middle initial of "P" stood for "Paul". Really? It stands for "Pretentious".

In all seriousness, we went to the Burj al-Arab yesterday for tea.

See Liz has a bunch of friends in visiting this week, two friends from college and their mens. They're staying at our apartment with us - the four of them - so when you add Liz and me and throw in the two cats it's like an episode of "The Real World". There are just people everywhere. Animals or suitcases underfoot at all times, clothes on hangers all willy-nilly. And the glasses of water! Oy! It's like we're living with that little girl from the movie Signs.

Anyway, when they were planning their trip out here someone threw out the idea of going to the Burj al-Arab for tea. And Liz, having lived in Dubai for four-and-a-half years has never been. Well, that sealed it.

Now me? High Tea is not really my scene, I'm more of a wings and draft beer at CJ McThirstys kind of guy myself. But the Burj is so exclusive and so well known, well, I had to go.

Plus I really, really was looking forward to driving the Toyota Echo over the super-exclusive bridge to the super-exclusive island to hand the keys to some super-exclusive valet. Porsche, Ferrari, Maybach ... Echo ... hahahaha!

A few fun facts:

* The Burj is the world's tallest hotel at 1053 feet - or, at least it will be for the next few months - they're building a taller hotel in, you guessed it, Dubai.

* The Burj is on an island about 900 feet out into The Gulf.

* The atrium in the Burj is the world's tallest, at 590 feet.

I took a ton of photos, but they're on slide film so I'm not sure if anyone in Dubai can develop them or not. So I also took a few with Liz's digital camera, which I put up over here at my Flickr Page.

The tea itself was fine - actually I had coffee. But the meal was something like seven courses of little finger sandwiches and sweets over the course of about three hours. We actually were sitting in the atrium looking up the whole time. I wish I had my photos right now, but you can google this: the landings on each floor are painting a different color, a different shade. So it starts in a royal blue color and slowly goes to teal and then yellow. It's fantastic.

I'm really not one for showy things, sometimes they actually make me nervous. I was actually dreading going to tea for a bit yesterday afternoon. I hate pretention. I really do. But the afternoon turned out to just having tea with a couple of friends. In a redonkulously expensive hotel.

But good company? You can't buy that with all of the money in the world.

Burj al-Arab
 
posted by Josh at 4:47 PM | 3 comments
JackassIt actually is a happy Presidents Day, the best one in ... oh, say about the last eight years. (Get it? Today's the last Presidents Day under George W. Bush.)

C'mon, from what'd I read today only 30 percent of American voters approve of the job he is doing as president! That's funny stuff!
Jackass

Um, but it really shouldn't be funny to you, bud.
 
posted by Josh at 4:23 PM | 0 comments
Friday, February 15, 2008
This morning I was up early, so I drove over to Dubai Marina to take some photos.

They're up at my Flickr page now.

Here are a few right now. Can you see my "Nina" in the last photo?

Dubai Marina Construction

Dubai Marina Construction

Dubai Construction on Sheikh Zayed Road
 
posted by Josh at 3:13 PM | 4 comments
So Liz made me a card yesterday - a card that says "I love you" in thirty-one different languages.

Shoot, I can barely think of thirty-one different languages.

Isn't she great?

"Mahal Kita" to you too, honey!
 
posted by Josh at 3:05 PM | 0 comments
Thursday, February 14, 2008
candy heartI don't touch upon the whole Newlywed aspect of my life here often (especially since it's in the title and all) but those of you who know me well know that I'm a pretty happy camper when it comes to being married to Liz.

And for those of you who don't know me ... well hey, I'm a pretty happy camper when it comes to being married to Liz!

In all seriousness, I think we compliment each other nicely. We each have our strengths, neither one of us runs the show too often, and we both amuse each other something fierce. I mean, this woman cracks up at my lamest jokes (the ones that are so bad I wouldn't even put them here!).

If that's not love, I don't know what is!

So I just want to say how thankful I am.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: The snarky comments about Dubai will return tomorrow. We’re terribly sorry for this interruption of service. The Newlywed in Dubai web site may contain information that is created and maintained by a variety of sources both internal and external. These sites are unmoderated forums containing the personal opinions and other expressions of the persons who post the entries. Newlywed in Dubai does not control, monitor or guarantee the information contained in these sites or information contained in links to other external web sites, and does not endorse any views expressed or products or services offered therein - except Wikipedia. They're never wrong. In fact, one could go as far as to say that Wikipedia is God's gift to humankind. Anything that Wikipedia says, you believe, got me?

All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.)
 
posted by Josh at 4:29 PM | 3 comments
Lost logoOur friends at the LA Times finally tell us the news that's fit to print - that 'Lost' will have thirteen episodes this season.

WHOO-HOO!

I've been concerned about this since November (see The WGA Strike and 'Lost'). Seriously.

And E! Online reports that seven episodes will run through March 13, then take a break until April 24 where we'll catch the back six.
 
posted by Josh at 4:10 PM | 0 comments
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
So not that 70% of you care, but apparently there was a tornado in Cocoa Beach yesterday.

My parents are in Brevard County for the winter. Like, around the corner from Cocoa Beach.

Crazy.
 
posted by Josh at 10:18 PM | 0 comments
Every day I try and read the news, both local and global, to see what's new in Dubai to share with you all here. Today I found a kind of funny typo in a press release for Dubai World.

dubai world logoDubai World is the company that owns the Palm and World islands, Dubai Waterfront, Discovery Gardens, Ibn Battuta Mall, Dubai Ports World ... pretty much everything that Emaar Properties (Burj Dubai, Dubai Marina, Dubai Mall, Emirates Hills, the Lakes, Views, Greens, Meadows, Springs) doesn't own.

Anyway, I guess Dubai World is teaming up with the Roads & Transport Authority (RTA) here in some kind of agreement about the roads on the upcoming Palm Deira that I was talking about last week.

So this is the paragraph that I want to share with you. Check out the last line:

He added that Dubai World is working on furthering the joint cooperation with the RTA in a manner that will serve the drive of the RTA, and provide convenient and easy access to the inhabitants of various Nakheel projects. He particularly singled out The Palm Deira; which is one of the giant urban projects in the emirate spanning an area of 48 million square meters (4800 hectare) covering 9 neighbouring islands poised to be inhabited by 1.3 persons.

Hm, 1.3 persons?

12,000 acres ... nine artificial islands ... for not even two people?

This town is crazy, I tells ya. Crazy.
 
posted by Josh at 4:24 PM | 0 comments
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Dubai Shopping Festival logoI haven't talked much about Dubai Shopping Festival, and I apologize. Let's go ahead and fix that right now.

DSF is exactly what it sounds like - a festival of shopping - pretty much a citywide sale at all of the malls. And it's promoted quite a bit in the region to get shopping tourists into the city.

It's actually kind of goofy, they bill it as the fifth season in Dubai ... the other four? Well, best I can figure they're: summer, surface-of-the-sun-hot, summer #2, and a breezy autumn.

I just read a crazy article, though. This year DSF is taking place in 35 shopping centers around Dubai, covering 14 million square meters (almost 151 million sq ft) of retail, with more than 3,500 stores and outlets participating.

Dang!

But it gets crazier.

The number of shopping malls in Dubai are projected to double in the near future, ultimately covering 40 million square meters (430 million sq ft)!

This reminds me of a report from Colliers International I heard about last March. They found that per capita Dubai residents spend $3,500 annually in mall. But with all of the new malls coming on-line here soon, the number will have to go up to $8,400 by 2010 or the retail space just won't be viable. Leases will be bigger than sales, and whole malls will go broke.

This isn't as insane as it sounds, though, because in the United States the comparative figure is $12,000 a year, while for Europe it is $8,000.

I saw recently that the Mall of the Emirates (where Ski Dubai is) has a Gross Leaseable Area (the interior floor space leased for retail shops, services, restaurants and entertainment) of 225,000 square meters (2.42 million sq ft).

For reference, the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota has a GLA of 230,000 square meters (2.47 million sq ft).

Then there's Dubai Mall, down at the base of the Burj Dubai, which opens later this year. They'll have 836,000 square meters (9 million sq ft) of GLA.

Lastly, Mall of Arabia - set to open whenever Dubailand opens - will (theoretically) have 930,000 square meters (10 million square feet). Theoretically.

See? Now this whole "having a festival of shopping" doesn't seem so goofy, does it?
 
posted by Josh at 4:57 PM | 2 comments
Monday, February 11, 2008
So I generally don't like to pass along stories that I can't corroborate on the internet. You know, like those e-mail forwards telling you that Bill Gates and Walt Disney Jr want to give away free money and if you forward the message to a dozen friends they'll track it and send you a check. Or then there are the sad ones about some kid who was kidnapped and if everyone forwards this mail to ten people it'll cover the world within days ... stuff like that.

Anyway this story popped up on several legit UK publications in the last week, and it has a legitimate website to go with it - Fair Trials International. True, it give no name or date, which sounds fishy. But on the other hand, Dubai is pretty crazy about drug laws (just ask Dallas Austin).

So the story goes that a Swiss national has been given a four year jail term in the Dubai ... after three poppy seeds were detected on his clothing at Dubai International Airport. Apparently he had eaten a poppy seed roll at London's Heathrow before flying into town.

Reminds me of that episode of Seinfeld with the false positive drug test after a poppyseed muffin.

Anyway, here's the story:

The Times Online
Travellers who 'smuggle' poppy seeds face Dubai jail
By Ginny McGrath
February 8, 2008

Britons heading to the United Arab Emirates have been warned that carrying some foodstuffs and common over-the-counter medications could warrant a four-year prison sentence.

Among the banned substances are foods containing poppy seeds; melatonin, which is taken to ease the effects of jetlag; codeine, a common ingredient in pain relief medication, and any trace of drugs such as cannabis, however small.

The warning was issued by the charity Fair Trials International, which assists people facing trials abroad, following a spate of arrests of visitors to Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

The charity's chief executive Catherine Wolthuizen said: "We even have reports of the imprisonment of a Swiss man for 'possession' of three poppy seeds on his clothing after he ate a bread roll at Heathrow."

Among the Britons arrested recently in Dubai for carrying banned substances is Grooverider, a Radio 1 DJ, who is facing up to four years in prison after Dubai customs officials reportedly found a small amount of cannabis in his record collection. His case has been adjourned until later this month.

In another case, a 43-year-old man from Middlesex was imprisoned earlier this week for four years after Dubai customs officials used highly sensitive screening equipment to detect 0.003g cannabis in the tread of his shoe. Keith Andrew Brown was stopped in transit from Ethiopia to London last September. The amount of the drug found on his shoe would not be visible to the naked eye and weighs less than a single grain of sugar.

Unlike many countries, the UAE will also arrest travellers found with traces of banned substances in their bodily fluids.

Ms Wolthuizen said: "What many travellers may not realise is that they can be deemed to be in possession of such banned substances if they can be detected in their urine or bloodstream, or even in tiny, trace amounts on their person."

Among the cases named by the chairty is that of Tracy Wilkinson, 45, from West Sussex, who was arrested at Dubai airport in 2005 for possession of codeine, which she had been taking for chronic back pain. She was held in custody for 8 weeks before officials accepted proof from her doctor of its use for prescribed medical purposes only.

For a full list of substances banned in the UAE, click here.
 
posted by Josh at 6:24 PM | 3 comments
Friday, February 8, 2008
palm deira logoThe other day I showed an artist rendering of the new Universe islands that also included the as-to-yet unconstructed Palm Deira complex (see The World is Not Enough).

The Palm Deira (named after the section of town it's near - Deira) will be the third palm island for Dubai - the Palm Jumeirah is open now, the Palm Jebel Ali will be ready for building construction later this year - but the Palm Deira won't be ready until 2015 or as late as 2020. But when it's open it's going to be huge - 7.5 miles tall by 4.5 miles wide, about ten times larger than the Palm Jumeirah.

Anyway, I found some crazy photos online to share. (Click on this first one for a bigger image.)

palm deira


The ones of the villas are very James Bondian, eh?

palm deira

palm deira

palm deira

palm deira

palm deira

palm deira

palm deira

palm deira
 
posted by Josh at 9:50 AM | 3 comments
Thursday, February 7, 2008
Hey so how about that, no trash truck wake-up call today - unlike the last three days (see Dumpster Woes)!!

However it is a little chilly here this morning - about 54 F (12 C). I know, I know, those of you at home think that's barely even chilly, but keep in mind we don't have heat in our apartment, only A/C - just like our car (see The Black Echo).

And they say it's going to drop a few more degrees this weekend!

Who would have thought we'd need thermal PJs in Dubai?!
 
posted by Josh at 5:58 AM | 2 comments
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
fazza3So this was news, like, on Sunday or Monday, but shoot, I was wallowing in my Super Bowl doldrums then. Over the weekend His Highness, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai named his successor!

Yep, he named his second son, Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, as the crown prince of Dubai.

Apparently the 25 year old is currently chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, which is pretty good for a 25 year old. When I was 25, well, shoot, I was living in a hovel outside of which people were being shot, with an oft broke-down car and a dead-end job at a rapidly downsizing company.

Anyway, what I find interesting that nobody here seems to talk about is why Sheikh Mohammed's eldest son, Rashid, has no government role.

Hmmm.

Sheikh Hamdan is also a poet under the, well, alias, handle, tag, pseudonym, nom de plume? of "Fazza3" ... when he apparently often pens eulogies to his father.

Hmmm, if I were His Highness, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai I'd think twice about naming my eulogy-spouting son as successor.

Then again, every Emirati and expatriate lady in Dubai is a fan, I mean, he is a looker:

fazza3


Here he is with Thomas L. Williams, chairman and CEO of Universal Parks & Resorts:

fazza3
 
posted by Josh at 4:51 PM | 0 comments
So I'm going to put together a new daily feature here - what time the garbage truck outside my window woke me up.

Yes, for the last three days the truck has woken me up at some ungodly hour. Monday it was 1:45 am, yesterday 3:45 am and today 4:45 am.

And today I couldn't get back to sleep.

The really, really stupid part is that there are currently five freaking dumpsters out there. Do they really, really need to empty them every freaking day?

On Monday I was feeling bad for the dudes in the truck, yesterday I was just upset, and this morning I wanted to throw something (perhaps a cat?) at them. Lord help me if they show up tomorrow ...
 
posted by Josh at 4:04 PM | 0 comments
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
20080205_vote120.pngSo hey, today's Super Tuesday. If you live in one of those 24 states holding a caucus or primary for the love of God go vote!

And if you're undecided, well, I've been a fan of Mr. Obama's since before it was trendy ... but I'll let you jump on the bus if you want. Plenty of room.

A few reasons to vote for Obama:

October 23, 2006
News: Obama '08

December 11, 2006
Obama is a lefty!

February 27, 2007
Obama Shirt
 
posted by Josh at 9:25 PM | 0 comments
We're number two!

A new report from HC Securities Brokerage says lack of supply and accelerating growth rates will mean Dubai's real estate prices will rank second only to London's West End by the end of the 2008.

We're the second most expensive city in which to buy property in the world!!

WHOO!

I'd like to thank all of the developers, the real estate agents and the construction workers, this one's for you, guys!

Tourism is getting more expensive, too. Last year it jumped from seventh to third on an industry ranking of highest average room rates, beaten only by Moscow and New York.

Granted, we're not the most expensive in which to live ... not even in the top twenty.

The top five? Moscow, London, Seoul, Tokyo, Hong Kong.

But buying property? Number two, baby!

Time to go build us some more islands in The Gulf!!
 
posted by Josh at 9:18 PM | 0 comments
Monday, February 4, 2008
Super Bowl XLII logoHuh.

Well.

What do you know.

Didn't see that coming.

Anyway, yeah, this morning -- er, yesterday I guess for most of you -- the New England Patriots lost the Super Bowl to the New York Giants.

Needless to say the Patriots didn't get that 19-0 season they were hoping for.

Luckily I didn't get up at 3 am (6 pm EST) to see the rather exciting beginning, I was up at 4 am to watch, well, the really boring 2nd and 3rd quarters.

Then I ended up being late to work because the game didn't end until a little after 7 am, and I usually leave at 7:15.

Oops.

But I guess I was glad I stayed for the entire game. Kind of. I seriously almost left after Moss' touchdown in the 4th. That would have been pretty bad. (The Giants scored with 35 seconds remaining in the game).

Well, at least the Celtics are still 36-8, and pitchers and catchers report in 9 1/2 days ...
 
posted by Josh at 4:59 PM | 2 comments
This really should be a new feature here - every week I'll tell you about the new "World's Largest" record that Dubai is pursuing.

This week it's a corker - get ready for the world's longest wooden chopsticks.

I kid you not ...
 
posted by Josh at 4:59 PM | 0 comments
Sunday, February 3, 2008
So that movie Mongol that we talked about back at the Dubai International Film Festival (see Mongol is going to be the best movie of 2008) has an online trailer and a release date in the US - June 6th.

Awesome!
 
posted by Josh at 6:17 PM | 0 comments
Friday, February 1, 2008
This week the Road and Transport Authority announced plans for a sixth crossing of Dubai Creek, and naturally it's going to be the world's longest arched bridge.

When completed in four years the bridge will be 1,600 meters long with a 205-meter-high and 667-meter-long arch.

The twelve lane bridge (not counting the Green Line of the Dubai Metro) will cost a total of 3 billion dirhams ($817 million).
 
posted by Josh at 3:18 PM | 1 comments
emirates golf club dubai logoSo it's 5:00 am in the morning and the wind outside just woke me up. Well, the trash-truck emptying the dumpster outside didn't help - I'm not sure if I'm mad that my weekend sleep was interrupted in such a fashion, or just sad that some poor Indian / Sri Lankan dudes are already working at 4:45 am ... and on a Friday no less. I thought that most everyone got Fridays off here.

Anyway, it's damn windy. And as we know, Tiger Woods and the European PGA are in town for the Dubai Desert Classic.

Tough breaks. Have they ever called off a golf match because of a sandstorm before?

Super Bowl XLII logoI bet they've never called off a NFL game because of sand before. Especially not a Super Bowl. Granted, they won't have that problem in Glendale, Arizona this weekend. I've heard that the University of Phoenix Stadium is pretty bad-ass.

BusinessWeek called it one of the 10 most impressive stadiums in the world for its removable grass field and a retractable roof.

I wonder how long it takes for Dubai to get a retractable roof golf course? If Tiger Woods is blown into the Gulf this weekend I bet it'll be soon. Besides, I'm pretty sure we have that sham "University of Phoenix Online" school here in Dubai now. Maybe they'll want to sponsor it?
Dubai Desert Classic logo
 
posted by Josh at 5:13 AM | 0 comments