Thursday, December 31, 2009

Touching base

20091228 AdS

My previous employer in the Netherlands (LVNL) asked me to write an article for their internal magazine updating them with what’s been going on with us since we left.

I really enjoyed my time working there, and this is a way of touching base with my previous work and colleagues.
(hallo LVNLers (and all others!), post a reply or send an email, let us know how you’re doing!)

They allowed me to publish the article on the blog, have a read if your Dutch is up to scratch :)

(for people on our mailing list, if you don’t see the picture in this post, go to the blog to read it)

(P.S. changed the link to a bigger picture...)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

How to stake an Emirati tree

Did anyone else notice the odd-looking three-legged trees around Abu Dhabi?

The featured trees have been this way for at least the past year and half, and this is what happened when a thunderstorm hit:

In my humble opinion, they provide a very good illustration of relationships of Emiraties and expats in the country's development. Enough said.

FYI, the following are some Facts about Staking a Tree:

"Tree staking is never done with the intention of harming a tree. Staking is usually done with love and with a desire to promote root and trunk growth and protect a young tree from harm.

"What some tree planters do not understand is, rather than helping a tree develop root and trunk growth, improper tree staking replaces a supportive trunk and root system with an artificial support that causes the tree to put its resources into growing taller but not growing wider.

"If and when the stakes are removed, the lack of trunk and root development makes these trees prime candidates for breakage or blow-down. In the first good windstorm, down these trees come. They have lost the supportive protection of natural development."

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

From Abu Dhabi: Christmas Carol, Bedspace Ads and Liquor Store

Some random things to share with you of our life in Abu Dhabi.

- I crashed a private function to watch our friend Meg sing Christmas carol. The backdrop is a giant light display of UAE flag, left beaming from the UAE National Day celebration back in early December.


- Bedspace ads posted on a random bus shelter, which is not in use and simply acts as sand collector.


20091210174     - Although I’ve never visited an adult video shop in Toronto, somehow I reckon the experience would be similar to that of visiting a liquor store in Abu Dhabi, except there are really only a handful of them. As you can see below, the shop windows are all blacked out, and after your purchase, you carry your bottles in black unmarked bags… not to mention the mandatory liquor license!

GMP img source:


From the local liquor store, Merry Christmas and drink up, everyone! :)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

"Always Welcome in Jordan"

"Welcome, welcome!" Just about every Jordanian we met in Jordan repeated the simple yet warm word to us while we were there for 11 days last week. It turned out the word can be used loosely as "hi", "bye", "thank you", "okay", or filler for moment of awkward silence. During a typical quick conversation, you can hear the word muttered at least a dozen times. It's essentially the duct tape of Jordanian's English vocabulary.

So what did we do while we were there. Let's see. My top highlights would be...

- Camping in a Bedouin tent in the middle of desert:

- Driving in the mountain range

- Sleeping in an ancient cave next to Petra:

- Selfishly and gladly having Petra's Treasury all to ourselves in a beautiful early morning:

- Mudding ourselves at the Dead Sea:

- Diving/snorkelling in the the Red Sea at Aqaba.

- Moon walking in the dark night under full moon in Wadi Rum:

- Riding very spirited Arabian horse:

- Camel Riding!! (Smell you later!)

Special thanks to our couchsurfing hosts for helping make such a memorable trip: Akram and Bianca in Amman and Nawaf in Petra!