Wednesday, October 3, 2007

ABU DHABI pt.4 - I Eat Strange Fruit

In the spirit of adventure I am attempting to try most things presented to me. These things are in a buffet. But it totally counts.


This thing is interesting. The flesh is quite mild with the seeds very similar to sesame and the skin is quite tough and tart. Wikipidia claims this fruit 'has been an important food source for Native American people'. But I never seen this thing anywhere.

This thing looks a bit like a hairy strawberry. The skin is quite tough and the skin is fleshy and very mild and sweet. It also has a fairly large pit. It's kind of like a sugary olive.

In my cursory search i didn't find any satisfactory web results to this fruit.

Monday, October 1, 2007

ABU DHABI pt.3 - The Breakthrough

UPDATE: The sniper nest is actually a public address system.

Please note the worlds biggest golf ball in the selection of photos presented. I've been noticing that the Arabs are big into having the world biggest things. For example, in Dubai, there is the worlds tallest building, But I think it will only be the worlds tallest building for less than a year because someone else is building the next worlds tallest building right around the corner. Abu Dhabi has the worlds biggest mosque that will house the worlds biggest prayer rug.

Just for the record, I don't know if this is worlds biggest golf ball or not...but it sure looks like it.

There is lots of this crazy pink glass on these 70's type buildings. I'll tell you honestly that i kind of expected the whole city to look like Beverly Hills. You know...the world's richest city and all that. I read an article in Forbes that each native is worth $16 mil.
USD. How crazy is that? But let me assure you that Abu Dhabi is not like Beverly Hills. Keep in mind that not all of the city's inhabitants are native Emirati. There of course, is the working class (driving dapper dudes in the dish dash from neighboring villages), the service industry (Asian immigrants), and the neo-bourgeois (white idle housewives).

The architecture is fascinating. It's pretty amazing to be here at such a pivotal time of the city's evolution. I mean, it pretty much sprang fully formed out of the sand in like 1965 when oil was discovered.

Since Abu Dhabi is essentially the poor man's Dubai, they're totally trying to step up to the plate and let the world know that they are the King and that Dubai is but an Earl.

So they've got the Louvre, the Getty and Warner Bros. moving in and setting up camp. I think that they are all going to build themselves offshore islands. Which, p.s., I totally do NOT understand. There are plenty of usable sand dunes around here. The thought of a man-made magic sand island makes me incredibly nervous and nauseous. It's going to sink sooner or later and then it will be like Atlantis all over again. The lost cities of of Arabia. Do you love it or what.

The good news is that I finally found a bootlegger. Is that genius or what. His name is Kareem and he's an air-host. Which means he has recurring access to the duty free. Ham du lah.

This photo is of the Shang Ri La, where I am not staying but is nice and swanky. This whole scene is totally jet-set. I mean really. I think I've mentioned about the hotel night life scene. So bar hopping or clubbing is essentially hotel hopping. Sometimes there are multiple clubs in hotels which can be delicious. It's totally a no jeans, no trainers type situation and they mean it. I've never run into a cover but the drinks are about 35d which is about 10us. So it's not a cheap night out. But dinners are fairly reasonable you can get a dope spread, with all the good mazzas, juices, bonanza for about 100d or 30us, which is amazing and unbelievably delicious.

This is a spire on a mosque near my office.

I thought I had enough to blather to fill up 4 pictures but I started drinking and my room has turned into the clubhouse. It turns into the clubhouse most nights. You know what that's like, eh? If you don't you should.

Sunday, September 30, 2007


ATONEMENT, directed by Joe Wright. With Keira Knightley and James McAvoy. Fledgling writer Briony Tallis, as a 13-year-old, irrevocably changes the course of several lives when she accuses her older sister's (Keira Knightley) lover (James McAvoy) of a crime he did not commit. Already garnering award buzz, the film is based on the acclaimed British novel by Ian McEwan.

I’M NOT THERE, directed by Academy Award®-nominee Todd Haynes. With Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Richard Gere, Heath Ledger, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Julianne Moore, and Michelle Williams.
Ruminations on the life of Bob Dylan, where seven characters embody a different aspect of the musician's life and work.

REDACTED, directed by Brian De Palma. With Francois Caillaud, Patrick Carroll, Rob Devaney, Izzy Diaz, Mike Figueroa, Ty Jones, Ohad Knoller, and Paul O’Brien.
A montage of stories about U.S. soldiers fighting in the Iraq conflict with a focus on the modern forms of media covering the war.

RENDITION, directed by Gavin Hood. With Reese Witherspoon, Jake Gyllenhaal, Meryl Streep, Alan Arkin, and Peter Sarsgaard.
When Egyptian-born terrorism suspect, Anwar El-Ibrahim (Omar Metwalley) disappears on a flight from South Africa to Washington DC, his American wife, Isabella (Reese Witherspoon) travels to Washington DC to try and learn the reason for his disappearance. Meanwhile, at a secret detention facility somewhere outside the U.S., CIA analyst Douglas Freeman (Jake Gyllenhaal) is forced to question his assignment in an attempt to save thousands as he becomes a party to the unorthodox interrogation of El-Ibrahim. Gavin Hood directed the Academy Award®-winning TSOTSI.

ROMAN DE GARE, directed by Academy Award®-winner Claude Lelouch. With Dominique Pinon, Fanny Ardant, and Audrey Dana
Judith Ralitzer, femme fatale and popular writer, is seeking characters for her next best-seller. A serial killer has just escaped from the Santé prison in Paris's 13th arrondissement. Huguette, a hairdresser in a top Parisian beauty salon, is going to change their destiny. Some encounters are more fatal than others...

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Abu Dhabi pt.2

This is my private oasis at the hotel, with some construction in the background. There is construction everywhere, everywhere, everywhere. I'm realizing more and more how conservative this culture is, especially during Ramadan. More on Ramadan later. It's really shocking for a lot of the community to see skin other than hands and face. There is a nice little note in the hotel literature that ask that you not wear shorts to and from the pool, gym, beach or in the lobby. So they build the tourists these little outposts to keep all of that flesh out of public view. There is loads of beach around and I personally find it a tragedy that you can't take your shirt off and experience it any time you like. I've yet to receive a satisfactory answer as to why you can't enjoy the beach or why you are not supposed to touch dogs. I mostly think it was because Mohammad didn't like dogs. Much like the Castillian S.

Also you are not allowed to look a many websites like,
pictured here. Sometimes these come up at the most unexpected times.
So, Ramadan is kind of like lent that ends in something like Christmas. It's the 9th month of the Islam calender. There is NO eating, drinking, or smoking in public during daylight hours. Because of this everyone is especially pious and conservative. Because of this I too must fast and be pious during daylight hours. But as soon as the sun goes down it's no hold barred. Except you can really only be outside on certain nights and I haven't really figured it all out yet...Other than it's about 100-110f and about 500% humidity. I have also found that it is not as easy as it seems to take photographs at night. The long exposure. The inability to procure liquor in an easy fashion. It's not illegal. But it is hard to come by. Except for hotels. Where most alcohol serving occurs. I here there are some 'underground' Lebanese discos but...any way...
This is the view of the palace at night. I was fiddling with the exposure and zoom for a while before I figured it out. Here are couple that I liked and finally a clear one...

This a little bit more of the city just next to the palace. Reminds me of the Twilight Singers album cover for Powder Burns.

This is the stuff I was listening to while posting. Some of this neo-shoegaze that I eat up with a spoon.
Glassacre, Slow Attack Caribou, Andorra

A Shoreline Dream, Coastal

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


This is the Abu Dhabi Palace of the Emeriates (I think) as seen from my hotel room. The close up is of what I think is a like a crow's nest but for snipers. So the dude that lives up in there is like a Sultan, Sheik, and Prince all rolled up in one. In my mind, and I'll admit that I'm a philistine, I thought that Sultans were to Kings and Sheiks were to Dukes. I'm not sure how the Prince situation works. I'll try to do some more research.

I don't see any snipers in the basket right now so the Prince must be out.

This is the worlds tallest flag pole. I don't know if they're the worlds biggest flags. I would bet they are hoisted by a big machine. And that building is a mosque. It's a place where muslims gather to pray. Five times a day begining at 4:45am. I know this because they pipe the prayers on loud speakers all through the city, just like in the movies.

Some other things I know:

Nescafe is a poor substitute for coffee

This is the most serious amount of humidity I have ever experienced.

I love bidets

Arabs abhor schedules.