Some, but only some, of my prejudices confirmed

Exactly as foretold by friends who’ve been, my visit to the United Arab Emirates has been a constant journey between Las Vegas and the Orient. Our hotel The Atlantis on “the Palm” (se picture of it in previous post) was opulent beyond description and with so many people serving that it was close to creepy. As a Scandinavian, it’s almost impossible not to be embarrassed when your suitcases are carried, your chair pulled out and the tap turned on for you in the public toilets. But it’s still wonderful to sleep in a perfect bed, bathe in utter luxury, look out at the azure sea when you pull the curtains and eat delicious meals everywhere you go.

Sitting at the pool, studying the most international crowd I’ve ever seen in one place is nothing short of sensational. Most interesting to us were of course the native arabs in their abayas and dishdashas, a good deal of the women with their faces totally covered. We were sick with curiosity as to how these women eat, so took great care to place ourselves so we could see some of them in the restaurants. The great majority of them will place themselves with their backs to the crowd and then simply remove the Niqab while eating. We only saw a few who stuck the food into their mouths behind the veil, which I have to admit looks stupidly awkward, but will work well if you need to lose weight. These people seem to be impossibly rich, which you must be to hire the luxury suite at the hotel at a mere £30,000 a night. But then it covers almost a thousand m2!

We left the hotel a few times to see some of the architectural feats of Dubai. Firstly, the truly amazing Burj Al Arab hotel in the shape of a giant sail. Both inside and out it takes your breath away. I believe that if the Pharaohs were still around, they’d build like this. Great splendour, lots of gold but still stylish. Click the link above to see the Wikipedia article or click here to see my own pictures.

The following day we went to the top of the man-made world, the Burj Khalifa. The elevator to the 124th floor is the fastest on the planet with 10 meters per second. That’s almost as fast as Usain Bolt… There’s a funny story to this fountain pen-like structure. Almost until its inauguration it was called Burj Dubai and signposted as such all over the city and beyond. But as Dubai ran out of money before the completion, they had to borrow a substantial amount from incredibly rich neighbour Abu Dhabi. Suddenly all signs were taken down and when they were put up again a few days later, the building had a new name, the Burj Khalifa. Khalifa happens to be the name of the ruler of Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi is where we went after Dubai – it’s a 90 minute taxi ride which will cost you around £40. My visit here with a dear friend will be in my next post. It is now very late and a taxi is picking us up here at 5am tomorrow morning to go home to windy, snowy Denmark.

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Oh no!

Up early, all eager and happy. Arrive at new flat in excellent mood and lovely sunshine with son and helpful sister-in-law. Get call from movers that they can’t get through gate. Look like big questionmark – gate is very wide, removals lorries, delivery vans etc. drive in and out every day. Appears they‘ve used a 17 meter long giant-lorry to transport our stuff…

Must be the one at the back…

Bottom line – they drive back to depot, reload our stuff into a smaller vehicle (See, it’s possible, it fits!!!) and come back. On Monday.

I don’t cry about things like that, but I do feel very, very disappointed!

So tonight we’re back with our hospitable and patient family for another weekend with nothing much to do.

While sitting in the almost-empty flat waiting for a delivery (new vaccuum cleaner), I found that one of the undoubtedly nice neighbours has left his/her router without protection, so I’ve been perusing the Internet most profusely in my echoing and almost-empty kitchen.

Here’s some of the interesting things I’ve read today:

The Independent tells about research that has now proved that some colour additives bring on or enhance ADHD or “just” generally unruly behaviour in children. If this subject interests you, be sure to check out the other articles in the series, found at the bottom of the story.

My heart fluttered a little when I saw this headline:

The Email Habits That Make People Hate You

because I use e-mail a lot and often wonder why some some people don’t reply. Maybe they just don’t care about me and think I’m a general nuisance (just let it lie there, will you…), or maybe I’m just breaking lots of e-mail rules and annoy people that way? I was relieved to learn that I only really break a couple of the rules (4 & 5) and only some times.

On my friend Gabriela’s blog I found this wonderful speach to the American people, which made me laugh out loud. I thought of John Cleese only yesterday when I overheard two Englishmen doing their traditional good bye routine, where both parties try to pile as many compliments and niceties on top of the other person as possible within a couple of minutes. Cleese & Co. had a lovely sketch about that once upon a time. Maybe one day I’ll try to locate it on Youtube. If you’re one of those people with sticky brains and long memories, please tell me the name of the sketch and where to find it.

The Chief Happiness Officer had a look at office pranks and this is his favourite. It’s mine too. But I couldn’t help wondering when these people work and what they do?

Finally, I learned that videos can now be uploaded to Flickr. So I tried it – and it worked. Next step is to learn how to embed videos here on the blog. I just haven’t had sufficient time online to look into these matters, but mark my words, I will SOON! After all, on my old and much simpler Danish blog, I embedded videos succesfully.

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