Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Hooray! 114 days down, one to go! The Gentleman will be here tomorrow. The joy of a long-distance relationship - the awesome airport reunion, which is the antithesis of the horrible airport goodbye.

I think this calls for Barry Manilow.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Styled by Charming City

My girl Katie over at Charming City Style has done it again and put together some looks for me for a wedding I'm attending next month with my handsome Gentleman Friend. I love the way she pulls things together and I'm excited to dig around in my closet (and at the outlets this weekend for Columbus Day sales) and see what I can come up with. Also, she's fabulous and has great ideas, so you should check her out anyway.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Ski Dubai and some General Observations

Greetings, Glitterati! I'm going to be wrapping up my Abu Dhabi posts just in time for my next bout of travel which begins towards the end of this month. The Gentleman and I are headed out west for a wedding in California, and I'm making a stop on the way to visit Lee and Hot Curry (WHO NEVER UPDATE THEIR DAMN BLOG) in Salt Lake where I am excited to go hiking, drink delicious microbrews, see Mormons in their natural habitat, and hopefully stalk dooce. In a totally non-stalkery, breezy, Imagine seeing you here! sort of way where I die inside and try to hold it together and not be all OMG IT'S HEATHER ARMSTRONG!. Because that would be weird.

Anyhoodle, on my last trip out to Abu Dhabi, we totally went to Ski Dubai. We had to. How can you not? It's a ski resort in the middle of a mall. We saw it on our first trip out there and vowed to return.

A friend who had been before prepped us as to what to bring/wear and that was incredibly helpful. They give you full-body jump suits and warm socks, which is included in the lift ticket, but we brought hats and gloves with us. You can buy them there at the sport's shop but they aren't cheap. 

We went in the middle of the day on a Monday and it wasn't crowded at all, but I'm told that it can be packed on weekends with long lines. We paid for two hours of skiing and, believe me, that was plenty. This is not a ski resort - this is one run (two if you count the bunny hill, which is really just the lower half of the larger run), and it's about a 5 minute ride to the top in the ski lift (yes, there's a lift). With no lines to contend with, we probably got at least a dozen or so runs in with time for a coffee and snack break at the Apres Ski located halfway down the run. You can also do a full day pass, but unless it's really crowded I can't imagine wanting to be there for a full day of skiing.


Lift tickets and free socks!

My totally awesome skiing suit.
One thing I wasn't expecting was that it was cold. Underneath that jump suit, I'm wearing shorts and a T-shirt because it's approximately 98 thousand degrees outside (it's THE MIDDLE EAST), but once inside the conditioned ski area, it's freezing. I had gloves and a hat on, as well as multiple pairs of socks, and I got so cold that we had to take a break in the Apres Ski cafe for some espresso to warm up for a bit. Don't be fooled by the fact that it's a man-made ski slope in the middle of the mall - it's cold as hell.

The slope itself is also a decent run. It takes just a minute or so to get to the bottom, and there are several different paths you can take depending on your skill level, but it's actually not a bad incline. After about a dozen or so runs, however, we got bored of the same old scenery (tall walls painted industrial blue and fake trees and wooden lodges).

They also have a Snow Park with penguins, toboggans, bobsled, snowball throwing area, and an igloo. I get it: it's the desert, this is exoticism at its highest. But having grown up in the Mid-Atlantic North East, I can't imagine purchasing a day pass to go and play in snow. 

It was definitely a lot of fun. I hadn't been on skis in years, so it was good practice to gear up for hopefully some ski trips in the future. It was also pretty opulent to be inside a snow globe of man-made snow in the middle of the desert. Sort of the ultimate in opulence, really.

Which brings me to the last of my observations from this May 2013 trip. I've been to Abu Dhabi twice now and am headed back over for New Years in December. And there are a couple'a things that seem to remain consistent. 

1. Park anywhere you like.
I thought Rome, Italy, and Amman, Jordan, were the most ridiculous in terms of trying to drive. And then came Abu Dhabi. Everyone has giant, obnoxious cars, and everyone drives them in giant, obnoxious ways. Rules? Regulations? Pssshh. Do whatever you have to do, park wherever, double park, park on the curb, it's ok! THERE ARE NO RULES HERE IT'S CHAOS. Until you get in an accident. Then, there are lots and lots of rules and you're screwed.

2. Seriously.
PDA is a no-no. Hand holding, kissing in public, NO. NOT ALLOWED. We've tried to be extremely careful, but hey- we're in a long-distance relationship, and sometimes there's a hand-brushing incident or an arm around the shoulder or a quick, sneaky kiss. We take our chances when we do these things though, because as a non-married couple in a Muslim country, it's not only rude and inconsiderate, but it's illegal. As in - you will most likely be fined, but you could possibly serve jail time, or even be deported. So be careful. Just don't mess around. Think about it like this: don't do anything that you wouldn't do in church under the watchful gaze of the Pope. Be considerate. Be polite. These are not just religious considerations, but cultural. People in the US don't like public make-out sessions in nice restaurants - this is similar. Be considerate.

3. The architecture is incredible.
 The UAE is a relatively young country - it became independent from Britain in 1971 - and since then, the oil boom has been quite lucrative. Buildings here are "dressed to impress,"with attention to detail and clamoring for attention. Unfortunately, it seems like infrastructure hasn't always kept up with the incredible rate of growth and there are still some kinks to be worked out (like traffic patterns and fire escape routes). But, I never get tired of staring out at the buildings in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. 

The Corniche

Gulf of Arabia (NOT the "Persian Gulf," as I've been told)

4. It's full of surprises.
This was an ad in the Ladies' Toilets in the Mall of the Emirates in Dubai. There is so much going on here. It's amazing. The Gentleman didn't believe me when I first told him about it, so I had to go back into the Ladies' and take a picture.

Or, you know, a stretch Hummer just parked randomly on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere. That, too.