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The Emirati Thanksgiving

November 27th, 2015 · No Comments · Abu Dhabi, The National, UAE


Our seventh Thanksgiving celebration since moving to the UAE, and our most Emirati version yet.

Yes, the actual holiday was yesterday, but I was pulling a desk shift in the office … and people in the UAE can’t be expected to know that the dinner should have gone on the day before.

When you’re out of the States, you figure out a way to make it work. The day and even the meal might need to be adjusted.

So, a meal for six in our apartment, and our four guests, each of them Emiratis, had never been to a Thanksgiving dinner. We were happy to give them our interpretation.

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UAE Seems Intent on Setting a World Record Record

November 26th, 2015 · No Comments · Dubai, The National, UAE

I am going to make a sweeping statement.

Nobody loves Guinness world records as does the UAE … and, specifically, the people of Dubai.

Dubai has some legit, significant world records. Absolutely. Led by the world’s tallest building — a record regular folks have paid attention to, probably going back to the Tower of Babel.

But many of them are silly/shameless attempts to attract attention — and we must concede they succeed on that level, as a check of The National’s website would suggest.

Take, for instance, the world’s largest human sentence, a record apparently set this week by a school in Dubai.

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For Kobe Bryant, the End is Here

November 25th, 2015 · No Comments · Basketball, Kobe, Lakers, NBA

How many more games do the Lakers give Kobe Bryant to demonstrate he has something left?

How many more games does Kobe give Kobe?

He was 1-for-14 with four points last night in the 111-77 humiliation at the hands of the champion Golden State Warriors, who set an NBA record by winning their 16th game to open the season.

Kobe is 37 and in the past few years he has had surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles tendon and a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder. Each a major injury that can end careers.

Kobe, typically, has come back after each of those major injuries.

But we just don’t see any sense of progression, and with guys who are 37, you don’t give them the benefit of a doubt.

If anything, Kobe is establishing himself as one of the worst players in the NBA. A few weeks ago he said he was the 200th best player in the league.

Sadly, he may have been giving himself too much credit.

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Al Ahli Players Get $135,000 Bonus for Finishing Second

November 24th, 2015 · No Comments · Dubai, Football, soccer, UAE


This is a very UAE thing.

You do well in a major competition, especially a major soccer competition, and you can expect a little something to show the appreciation of the rulers.

In this case, it was announced today that every player on the Al Ahli side, which reached the final of the Asian Champions League (before falling 1-0 to Guangzhou Evergrande) will receive 500,000 dirhams — or about $135,000 — from the chairman of the club, who happens to be the crown prince of Dubai.

(That’s him, Sheikh Hamdan, in the middle of the players, above.)

To be clear, that’s $135,000 … each. For professionals already getting paid by the Ahli club

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UAE Road Trip Part Dieu: Going Back Not the Way We Came

November 23rd, 2015 · No Comments · Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Football, soccer, tourism, Travel, UAE

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Everyone who does a road trip of any significance knows … if at all possible, you want to return by a route different than the one you took for the first half.

Not a lot longer, but a little longer is OK … because you don’t want to see the same stuff twice. Obviously.

What that meant for us, after our drive from Abu Dhabi to Fujairah two days before, was … a journey down the center of the UAE, about halfway between the Gulf and the Indian Ocean, through a part of the country probably not often seen by those who live along the two shores.

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Fujairah: The UAE’s Internal Vacation Destination

November 22nd, 2015 · No Comments · Abu Dhabi, Dubai, tourism, Travel, UAE

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(Above, the sunrise in Fujairah, over the Indian Ocean.)

This is a pretty easy question to answer.

If you live in the UAE and prefer to stay in-country for vacation … but want something not at all like home … where do you go?


This is the emirate unlike the other six.

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Road Trip! All Seven Emirates in One Day

November 21st, 2015 · No Comments · Abu Dhabi, Dubai, The National, tourism, Travel, UAE

Six years here, and we had not seen all seven of the emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates. Which was a wasted opportunity.

Because the UAE encompasses only 32,278 square miles (a little smaller than Maine, a bit bigger than South Carolina, which are 39th and 40th among the 50 U.S. states) we were able to knock out all seven emirates in around four hours.

It helps that getting from Abu Dhabi, the capital, into or through the other six emirates is a trip of not even 200 miles. (Most of the UAE, more than 85 percent, is Abu Dhabi, and a lot of Abu Dhabi is the infamous Empty Quarter, which we did not have to cross.)

A mostly fun trip, helped along by the fact that late November, the beginning of the country’s temperate season, is a period when a breakdown in the car is not a life-threatening event.

So, the seven emirates:

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Bigger Than We Know

November 20th, 2015 · No Comments · Football, soccer, Sports Journalism

What do Karachi, Shenzen, Lahore, Guangzhou and Lagos have in common?

Each is a city of more than 10 million people. Each is ranked among the 16-most-populous cities in the world.

And many North Americans know little or nothing about them.

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Big Boys Toys in Abu Dhabi

November 19th, 2015 · No Comments · Abu Dhabi, Dubai, The National, UAE

6 - Sandwich Bikes - coming soon to a hipster near you

Lord help us, when guys with money meet new gadgets or souped-up vehicles or other unneeded things — well, yes, toys.

And where better to stage a show dedicated to Toys for Big Boys than the UAE? OK, it probably should have been held in Dubai, which has a hard-earned reputation for wretched excess, but we shouldn’t underrate Abu Dhabi’s Big Boys’ ability top pony up millions for things nobody needs.

Start by having a look at the “toys” photo gallery, published in The National.

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The Paris Siege and the Symbionese Liberation Army Shootout

November 18th, 2015 · No Comments · France, Paris

I had almost forgotten about this. Not like “I don’t remember” but in the sense of it “had been so long, I hadn’t thought about it in years”.

The self-styled Symbionese Liberation Army and its shootout with Los Angeles police in 1974.

But it came back to me, today, while watching, off and on, the seven-or-so hours of the Saint-Denis Raid, in the Paris suburb of the same name, where French authorities cornered and killed the violent little man who apparently organized the terror attacks in Paris five days before.

The parallels between the two incidents are several.

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