Monday, December 13, 2010

Abu Dhabi "Be Still" Commercial

Our friend Martin Lever, Creative Executive Director at TBWA/RAAD here in Abu Dhabi wrote the poem and directed this commercial for his client, the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority. At the 2010 Cannes Lions International Advertising Awards he received the Bronze Film Craft Award for Copywriting. All of Abu Dhabi is proud of the award and we're especially proud to be friends with Martin and his wife Max.  

ShuiQi Spa at the Atlantis

Is it possible to be too relaxed or have too perfect a weekend? Not in Abu Dhabi and not when you have access to the worlds best resorts and spas. Last weekend we travelled north to Dubai and spent a full day at the Atlantis on Palm Jumeiriah. We purchased a spa package that included full access to the pool and beach, a Shiseido Qi full body massage, a Japanese foot bath ritual, a facial, and a sushi dinner. The spa treatment portion of the day lasted 3 hours, which is honestly a really long time to lie around being pampered. Mix in some time by the pool and a few over the top cocktails, and we were a mere heartbeat away from a comatose state. But alas, we persevered and stayed vertical long enough to do a little shopping in preparation of our upcoming vacation to Paris for Christmas.

ShuiQi Spa at the Atlantis

Sunday, December 5, 2010

UAE National Day

On Thursday, December 2, 2010, the United Arab Emirates celebrated the founding of the country 39 years ago. Buildings were decorated and lit up in UAE colors, cars were adorned with pictures of the Father of the Nation, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and thousands of individual light displays were placed in the roadway medians. It was a National Holiday, so everyone had the day off of work and it seemed like everyone was down along the beach. In the evening, all the cars gathered at the Corniche and participated in an ad hoc parade with hundreds of thousands of people walking alongside reveling in all the sights and sounds. Drivers were honking, revved up engines were backfiring, and everyone was spraying Silly String. It was pretty chaotic by UAE standards. Around 10 PM, fireworks were shot off over Emirates Palace. The UAE has come a long way in just 39 years and all the locals have immense pride for their country’s achievements. We were happy to be part of the celebration.

Construction Site Visits

Brian and his colleague, Abdulla Al Romaithi, in front of the next phase of the Al Raha Beach development.

Brian and his colleague, Mohammed Al Qubaisi, touring the Motor World development.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Ferrari World

Following brunch at the Yas Hotel, we went next door to Ferrari World. It boasts being the largest indoor theme park in the world and having the fastest roller coaster ever built. The Formula Rossa rollercoaster begins inside and rockets out of the park using a hydraulic launch system similar to a catipult ram on an aircraft carrier. It pulls 1.7 Gs and travels 0-62 mph in just 2 seconds. The top speed is almost 150 mph.

Ferrari World

Brunch at the Yas Hotel

Two things you should know about living in Abu Dhabi. 1. Friday brunch is the thing to do and 2. brunch begins at 12 PM and lasts 3 to 6 hours. Our favorite brunch destination is Origins at the Yas Hotel on Yas Island. Brunch includes a full buffet and bottomless glasses of wine or beer. Since it was a nice cool morning, we sat outside overlooking the marina and F1 race track. The racetrack wraps around three sides of the hotel and goes under the hotel's bridge section that links the two buildings. It's a beautiful spot to spend a relaxing afternoon.

The Yas Hotel

Yas Island

Yas Island is one of the many islands that make up the City of Abu Dhabi. It's located about 10 minutes from Abu Dhabi Island and is being developed as the City's leisure and entertainment district. In the last year, seven hotels, a marina and yacht club, dozens of restaurants and bars, an arena, Ferrari World theme park, a golf course, and the Formula 1 race track have been developed on the island. A water park, a mega mall, and residential housing are still under construction. The total construction cost is $40 Billion.

Yas Island

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Qasr Al Sarab

We spent the Eid holiday weekend at a resort in the Liwa Desert, about 2 hours south of Abu Dhabi. Qasr Al Sarab is located in the middle of the desert without any buildings, towns or roads in sight. It's pure tranquility.

We hung out by the pool, had some drinks, ate a traditional Bedouin dinner under the stars, smoked the shisha pipe around a bonfire, and explored the sand dunes. On our next trip, we plan to take the Rovers out for some dune bashing. And of course, Jessica wants to go on a camel ride.

Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort


We finally saw camels and nearly wrecked the car in excitement. This was definitely the highlight of Jessica's Eid holiday.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Perfect Mojito

I've mastered the Mojito! Our new favorite drink for lounging by the pool. Pair with a fine Cuban cigar and you've got the perfect afternoon. 

1 cup (packed) fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons sugar
2-3 ounces of light rum
1 ½ limes
8 ounces of club soda
3-5 ice cubes
5 mint leaves

Add 2 tbls of sugar, juice from 1 ½ squeezed limes, and 2-3 ounces of rum in muddling pot. Stir contents until sugar is dissolved. Add approximately 1 cup (5-6 stalks) of fresh mint to the muddling pot. Muddle mint leaves for 30 seconds to release mint oils. Stir mint leaves and rum/lime mixture thoroughly.

Pour contents of muddling pot through fine strainer into 12 ounce glass. Force mixture and sugar through strainer with spoon. Pour 8 ounces of club soda through strainer and over mint leaves, stirring the mint leaves as you pour to ensure that all sugar is drained off mint leaves.

In second glass, put 3-5 small, crushed ice cubes. Pour drink from cup 1 into cup 2 through strainer and over mint leaves. Garnish the top with 5 mint leaves.


Lost in Translation

Monday, November 15, 2010

Our Abu Dhabi Villa

Cleaned, furnished, renovated, painted, decorated, and finally feeling like home. Our oasis in the desert.