Abu Dhabi Weather

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


The Abu Dhabi Tourism board has been working hard to get people to visit and what better way than by having top-named talent visit. Some of the names that they've had in the past year include Prince, Guns 'n Roses, Aerosmith, Eric Clapton, George Michael, and Stevie Wonder. Even if you're not looking for the best hits of the 80's, there are a lot of current favorites.

Snoop Dog, Shakira, Christina Aguilera, Rihanna, Beyonce, The Killers, The Kings of Leon, Kanye West have all come to Abu Dhabi. There are loads of other events like WOMAD, the three-day world music festival originally created by Peter Gabriel. WOMAD was on the beach about a ten-minute walk from my apartment and free of charge, ideal to take my kids to.

Even though I don't get out to shows as much as I'd like to, having all these options is terrific and it's nice to know that I live in a vibrant city with all this entertainment.

Monday, June 27, 2011


In the UAE, there area some wonderful, modern buildings. Many of the buildings that get the attention of the world news are in Dubai, but Abu Dhabi has its share of architectural marvels. With its desire to show the world that it is a modern country along with the vast amounts of capital, the UAE must be an architect's dream come true.

Of course Dubai has the iconic buildings such as the Burj Al Arab and the Burj Kalifa, while Abu Dhabi has the Emirites Palace Hotel and the Zayed Grand Mosque, but there are a number of fantastic buildings in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi that don't get as much attention. The Yas Hotel is pretty incredible with a Formula One racetrack running through it. The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority has a unique design that is supposed to be energy efficient (though I'm sure it doesn't help that all the lights are left on every night because it's pretty). The "perfume bottle" building is also an iconic Abu Dhabi building. The Abu Dhabi Exhibition Center leans more than a certain tower in Pisa and due to the twisted nature, every pane of glass has to be independently crafted and fitted into place.

There are a lot of amazing buildings and dozens more currently under construction. In the next decade, look for this cityscape to change dramatically.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


When most people think about Abu Dhabi, few would think about Athletics as being one of the first things that they would talk about. Six month out of the year it is too hot to go outside comfortably much less exercise. However, when I first arrived here almost two years ago in the month of August, I met a great group of people who are into triathlons.

My first year there weren't that many events, but once the first Abu Dhabi International Triathlon came around in March of 2010, suddenly it seemed like there was an event going on every other week. From this past September, there was a half-marathon, swimming festival, and a few charity runs. That isn't even including the monthly triathlon in Ghantoot or the Yas Marina Triathlon held on the Formula One track. Plus for truly grueling international competitions, there is the Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge, a six-day swim, kayak, desert biking, rock climbing desert hiking event.

In addition to all the competitions, there are the weekly group workouts with the Abu Dhabi Tri Club. Also, the Yas Marina Formula One track is open to cyclists and runners (Yas Training Nights) every Tuesday night FOR FREE! It's worth heading out to the track on a Tuesday just to get a close up look at it.

With all that is going on, any fitness-minded person can find loads of things to keep themselves active in the middle of the desert.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Presentation Ceremony

The other week, when we were asked to contribute some money for the cleaning staff and security at our school, I had no idea what we were in for. I genuinely appreciate what these people do at our school as they have some of the worst jobs and don't get paid all that well. I was heartened to know that we collected a significant sum of money. Today we got to reap the benefits of our rewards: a presentation ceremony.

Now despite what many people may think, it wasn't cheesy or uncomfortable at all. In fact it was quite the opposite. The ceremony was held in the entrance hall of the college. When I arrived, security were lined up in one line and the cleaners in another. As each of their names were called, the person in question marched up to get their envelope of cash to the applause of everyone. It was almost as if this spontaneous act of generosity had been organized beforehand. Fortunately, a photographer was on hand to document the occasion.

At first my hands grew tired in applauding the service of the many workers as they walked up to bask in our appreciation. Then it occurred to me: We were not only applauding the workers for their fine service, we were applauding ourselves for what fine generous people we are and how kind we are to the underclass. At this realization, I began to applaud thunderously in the knowledge that we are good people. Sure we could have just given each of the security and cleaning staff the money with a kind note, but what better way to let everyone know about our generosity? I only hope that the photographs that were taken end up in one of the local publications so we can be an inspiration to others with our magnanimous deed.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Year End

Today is the last day of the semester and the last day that all the teachers are here. The grades need to be finalized and handed in. There is a sense of finality to everything as everyone says their goodbyes until we come back in August. Many people are leaving early while some hang around while watching the clock count down to when we can eventually leave. Due to the different amounts of leave people have and the dates people have chosen for their break. Some people will be here next week. I am one of those people. While I don't have loads to do, I will dutifully come in next week, say my good-mornings to my fellow stragglers, drink my tea, and plug myself into the internet.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Surgery Follow-Up

After the ordeal with losing my wallet in the taxi yesterday, I didn't mind waiting 45 minutes in the doctor's office to get the stitches taken out. It seems that this was the last visit barring any complications. I'll spare everyone from the gory pictures, but it looks like I'll have a pretty ugly scar.

The thing that I wanted to point out is that the whole thing, including consultation, bloodwork, X-rays, medicine, surgery cost me 150 dirhams (about $40). I paid more in cab fares related to this procedure than I did any medical expenses. Granted, I have health insurance paid for by my employer, but even so, that wasn't much of a deductible. Also, it's been less than a month since I went in for the initial consultation. It just goes to show that health care can be fast, easy, and inexpensive.

If people are interested in the doctor I went to, have a look at the comments section of this post.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Lost Wallet

I went to the doctor today to get the stitches taken out of my arm. When I got to reception, I realized that I forgot my wallet in the taxi. Something about the situation suggested that it was going to be a long evening.

I stopped a taxi to get the call center and then asked them to try to contact the driver. They told me to grab a taxi and come into the Trans Office. Luckily, I had the change that the driver had given me from my first ride to pay the second driver.

When I got there the security guard told me that the customer service was away and would be back in about 20 minutes and I should have a seat. I then called the service number again and told the operator about my problem. When I told him that I was in the lobby, he told me to come back to the call center office, which was apparently a big "Screw you" to the security guard that told me I couldn't go back there.

The operator was extremely helpful. I was fairly impressed that with knowing the time I was picked up with the location picked up and dropped off and with the amount of the fare, they were able to get the driver and call him right away. All that information is relayed to the central computer from the taxi meter.

The driver came back with the wallet and seemed overly concerned that I would think he tried to take the wallet when it had fallen to the side of the seat. I suppose that his job could've been on the line. I then gave him money for his drive to the Transport office, the ride back to the doctor's office, and a chunk of money to thank him for bringing my wallet back.

I should mention that my wallet contains my national i.d, my driver's license, a few credit cards, my bank card, my Jeep registration card and the insurance card I need to give when I go to the doctor. Considering that I'll be on a plane in 10 days, replacing everything would have been nearly impossible. Everyone at the doctor's office seemed to suggest that I was pretty lucky to get it back. I'm just happy for the help that everyone gave me.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Recently it has become so hot that it is too uncomfortable even to go swimming during the day. Right now, at 10:20 pm, it is 93 degrees, just about right to go swimming. This past Friday, since the kids didn't have school the next day, we went to the roof to go swimming. Here are a few shots.

Monday, June 6, 2011


I remember when I first moved to Japan that I would get my discounted pay phone calling card and walk to the only pay phone in the neighborhood that I knew could make international calls and make my bi-monthly call home. It seems pretty primitive now, but in the days before high-speed internet, it was expensive to stay in touch.

Nowadays, everyone uses Skype or some other internet-based calling software. Skype is a great way for people overseas to stay in contact, but until recently, it was illegal in the UAE. That's not to say that no one used it. Most people can find a way around the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority's (TRA) blocking it. What most people in Abu Dhabi don't realize is that Skype isn't actually illegal anymore. (Click here for details.) Now it's Etisalat blocking it. The TRA has shifted the responsibility of blocking Skype to the internet providers. Now there is a possibility that they may allow its use, but that remains to be seen.