Sunday, February 27, 2011

Baby walkers

Babywalkers should be banned: doctors - The National

Another case of parents being negligent I feel...

It's not the bloody baby walkers.. It's the idiots who use them as baby sitters!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Formula Drift - Yas Marina Circuit

We took our young nephew to the Formula Drift yesterday. It's the first time I have seen this live myself. I have to say it was really pretty cool. Some of the drivers have been stunt drivers in films like "The Fast and the Furious" - they are seriously skillful. The Yas circuit was a great venue for it - using the chicanes and hairpin of the North Stand for the action. The "duals" where they send out two cars at a time were particularly exciting.

I had to shout for the guy driving the Mazda RX8 'cos it reminded me of my car back home...I couldn't seem to find a picture of it in full, but it is the red one behind behind the silver MR2 (I'm sure you can guess whose that was?!) ....

Some video and pictures below......

Formula Drift Yas Marina Circuit

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

ADBB gig

Sorry to say, the gig at the OnetoOne is cancelled...apparently the hotel could not get the necessary permissions for outdoor music from the Municipality.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Abu Dhabi Big Band at the One to One 23/2/2011

Just a plug for the band. The OnetoOne Village is hosting the ADBB on Wednesday night from 8pm. I believe they are charging 200 AED for entry to the gig with buffet...

Here's a taster about the band....

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Camel Racing at Sweihan

Last weekend we did something we have said we wanted to do since we got here - go camel racing (not riding you understand, just watching!). I saw an advert in the paper inviting the general public to a camel racing festival in Sweihan which is about an hour or so into the desert from where we are.

The festival ran all week and included Saluki (dog) racing, camel and saluki beauty contests and traditional arts, crafts and dancing. 

The day we were there it was really windy and cold under the cover of the grandstand, so we didn't stay all afternoon, but we did see a few of the races. Here's a few piccies of the afternoon....

Traditional Emirati dances

Gold Ceremonial Sword Prizes

Lexus 4x4 prizes!

One of the unlucky ones!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Al Reef kids

I was out walking Milo tonight and just thought how great it was to see kids playing in the street at 8.30pm when it is dark (except for street lighting of course). I would guess they were between say 7 & 10, running up and down the road, playing on their little bikes and one had a little dog on a lead. The builders had left a pile of sand and they were all jumping and digging in it. Brilliant!

Some moany old so-and-sos might say it is irresponsible to leave them out on their own, but I say good on 'em! It reminded me so much of my own childhood, when back in the 70s in the UK similar scenes would have been seen up and down the country. Not so any more and I for one think it is sad.

In my early years when I was really quite little (maybe 5 or 6) we lived in a neighbourhood that was still under construction (Grove Hill, Hemel Hempstead) and I can remember playing on building sites - and I mean climbing up onto scaffolding and climbing up 1 or 2 stories! They would deliver the triangular timber roof frames and pile them up on top of each other and we would have great fun climbing up and into them. And like the kids on Al Reef, we jumped and dug into piles on sand. Behind all the construction were corn fields. We would walk into the fields and walk for ages in corn that was taller than we were! - finding our way back by following our tracks.

I tried as much as possible to give freedom to my kids as they grew up; letting them walk to the shops, playing out front etc. , but society still kind out frowns on you in the UK (and in other places) if you give kids too much freedom.

I'm a big believer (and I think the facts back me up), that in the UK the crime rates on child abduction are pretty much constant when looked at over the last 30-40 years and too much scare mongering goes on because of high profile cases like Madeleine McCann. As sad as these cases are, it still remains a fact that these sort of cases are very, very rare (and course in the UAE the incidence is even lower), and should we make significant behavioral changes because of these very rare events?

Well I don't think so and so I say to the parents of kids on Al Reef - keep on letting your kids out to play, let them enjoy their childhood.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Stars 'n' Bars

We paid our first visit to Stars 'n' Bars this evening and it was great. This American style sports bar and restaurant is located at the Yas Marina. They had a good choice of food at reasonable prices and as the venue is not part of a hotel there are no extra taxes to pay (would be at extra 16% in Abu Dhabi and 20% in Dubai). Caroline chose from the cocktail menu a couple of frozen Mohitos, but as I was driving I stuck with Coke and coffee. I was tempted to order off the shots menu, but I was concerned about getting arrested for asking for "Blow job" for 30Dhs from the waitress!

We sat outside (trying to make the most of the good weather while it lasts) on the shisha terrace so I could indulge. The "shisha man" was great and made all sorts of creations out of the foil on the top bowl> This is what I got, with added "garnish" of mint!

All in all we had a good time and will definitely return - it would make a great night out with a group of friends.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Go careful with your camera!

So two guys have been fined for taking pictures of Yas Marina Circuit, lately possibly one of the most photographed landmarks in Abu Dhabi. This is actually quite worrying; the fact that no common sense can be applied and that a ridiculous judgment has been upheld. Apparently, according to the prosecution, there are signs prohibiting photographs. So I guess on Nov. 14th last year about 50000 people broke the law! Even more stupid is the courts statement that the onus is on the photographer to establish whether it is legal to take photographs or not. So, by default you cannot take photos of anything, unless you have established that it is legal. Seriously, who would you ask?

No doubt this will be all over The Sun and The Daily Mail in the UK tomorrow, doing their usual "Muslim bashing" , but really the authorities here bring it on themselves when they do stuff like this. For a country that is heavily reliant on tourism, and will be more so in then future, they have to stop making these ridiculous decisions that just put people off coming in case they get locked up for something innocuous.

Home from home

I stopped at a Caribou Coffee yesterday and saw a scene that reminded me of home. It could have been from the UK, escaping from the cold to have a coffee in front of the fire - except in this case the fire was fake!