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A Careful Return to the Beach in Abu Dhabi

October 18th, 2014 · No Comments · Abu Dhabi

The beach? October 18? In Abu Dhabi.

Probably not a good idea.

But we gave it try, anyway, and aside from the part where we ate dinner on the terrace, mildly sweating the entire time … it went quite well.

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Kobe Back to Being Kobe?

October 17th, 2014 · No Comments · Basketball, Kobe, Lakers, NBA

It was just one exhibition game, but Kobe Bryant scored 27 points Thursday night.

After the ruptured Achilles and then the broken leg … I wasn’t sure he would score 27 again in a backyard game, let alone against an NBA team.

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Five Years

October 16th, 2014 · 1 Comment · Abu Dhabi, Paris, Sri Lanka, The National, Travel, UAE

It was on October 16, 2009, that we arrived in Abu Dhabi. Five years ago today.

It seems longer. Not in a bad way. More in a “hard to remember life before” kind of way.

A rule of thumb, among expats, is that if you do five years out of your home country, you never see it in quite the same way again.

Well, here we are. Five years.

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A UAE Hare-Brained Sports Scheme

October 15th, 2014 · No Comments · Abu Dhabi, The National, tourism, Travel, UAE

And I know a hare-brained sports scheme when I see one, having inflicted several dozen on myself over the past 30-some years.

This one is crazy enough not even I would have done it in my youth. Probably not. Well, maybe not.

And it involves 48 kids from the ages of 10 to 16.

Check this out. See if this is anything but hare-brained.

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UAE’s Home Field Disasdvantage?

October 14th, 2014 · No Comments · Abu Dhabi, Football, soccer, The National, UAE

The national soccer team, easily the most popular and most professional of sports teams in the UAE, literally the only sport most Emiratis care about … played tonight.

How did it turn out?

Well, the UAE lost 4-0, at home, to Uzbekistan.

Which is not what this current group of guys who, collectively, probably make up the best team in UAE history, are supposed to be about.

And afterward, in addition to saying his team was lousy, the coach, Mahdi Ali, tore into UAE soccer fans, and wondered where the heck they had been for this match and the one with Australia four days earlier.

How bad is it?

According to the UAE coach, he would like to play all his games outside the country. Since the team gets no in-person support in-country.

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Whatever Happened to Paris Hilton?

October 13th, 2014 · 1 Comment · Dubai, UAE

Remember when Paris Hilton seemed to be on the cover of every U.S. magazine, while also getting a mention in every episode of Entertainment Tonight?

But we haven’t heard much about her of late, have we?

(Or maybe it’s just those of us on the other side of the world.)

Well, whatever happened to …?

She was in Dubai over the weekend!

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Stolen Monkey Is Its Own Punishment

October 12th, 2014 · No Comments · Dubai, UAE

A story in The National today told of a student in Dubai who, with some accomplices, stole two baboons and four marmosets from a farm in Dubai.

What should be done with a guy like that?

Laugh at him. Or maybe call a paramedic.

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The Greatest Race

October 11th, 2014 · No Comments · Abu Dhabi, France, Sports Journalism, The National, UAE, Volvo Ocean Race



The Volvo Ocean Race may not be well known in the U.S.

It is worth knowing.

It’s the greatest race in the world.

Nothing else involves sailboats circling the planet as fast as they possibly can be driven.

The sailors will touch every continent except Antarctica and Australia. They will sail over every ocean except the Arctic. And they will do it in incredibly fast, dangerously fragile 65-metre boats.

The 66 sailors, 12 women and 54 men, in seven boats, will brave doldrums, high seas, typhoons, icebergs, scorching sun, perhaps even hunger in their lap of the Earth.

And the race began today.

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Oz Fans for a Night

October 10th, 2014 · No Comments · Abu Dhabi, Fifa, Football, soccer, Sports Journalism, The National, UAE, World Cup


On the same night Landon Donovan bid adieu (check the video at the bottom of the link) to international soccer in an emotional evening in Hartford, we were Australia fans for a few hours in Abu Dhabi.

The UAE was playing host to the Aussies (or Socceroos, as they sometimes are known, back in the antipodes), and the match was just up the street from where we live.

And why were we Oz fans, sted UAE fans?

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Where (Unkind) Gestures Matter

October 9th, 2014 · No Comments · Dubai, UAE

An obscene gesture can get a person in trouble in most places. I’m fairly confident that more than a few murders in the U.S. hinged on that moment.

I think many of us tend to think obscene gestures don’t necessarily travel. Across borders. Around the world. That what is an obscene gesture in, say, Italy, may not even register on someone from somewhere else.

The citizens of the UAE, however, either had the middle-finger gesture all along, or have come up to speed on it, because someone flipping off someone else in this country can get the flipper in a lot of trouble.

An Egyptian man could tell you about it. If he were still in the country, that is.

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