Friday, October 21, 2011

Janet Jackson Concert

Jessica got free tickets to see Janet Jackson in concert on Thursday, 13 October at the Yas Arena. The arena is formed by two of the forks of the Ferrari World roof structure. It's a great, up close and personal venue and with the help of our friends Steven and Sally, we got upgraded to the Fan Pit. Which means we were about 20 feet from Janet, Miss Jackson if you're nasty. It was a great concert and after, the evening continued on the roof of the Yas Hotel in the Skylite Lounge.


We went on holiday to Greece a couple weeks ago. We flew into Athens and stayed 4 days, 3 nights at the Grand Bretagne, right across the street from the Greek Parliament. From the roof top bar, we could see lots of protesters march around the square and up the steps of Parliament. We walked up to the Acropolis, around Plaka, and through Monastiraki Square.

We found a great sandal shop in Monastiraki that has been making custom sandals by hand since 1920. Melissinos Sandals are now made by Pantelis, son of the founder, Starvos Melissinos. John Lennon, Lily Tomlin, Sophia Loren, and Jackie Kennedy Onasis have all stopped in and had sandals made. We were fortunate enough to meet Pantelis the day we stopped into the shop. Brian bought the Demosthenes sandal and Jessica bought the Aeolian sandal.

It was a short stay in Athens and besides the obvious Must See and Do, we hung out in cafes in the Kolnaki neighborhood and went to the top of Lycavitos Hill to watch the sun set over the City.  

On the fourth day of our holiday, we boarded a high speed boat and travelled to the island of Santorini. After about 5 hours, we docked, disembarked, and hired a driver to take us to our hotel, Remezzo Villas. The hotel consists of about a dozen villas and suites, overlooking the Caldera. We were surprised to learn that we received a double upgrade and got the most amazing suite with a huge outdoor terrace and private outdoor dining room.

We walked into Fira and shopped its pedestrian streets, ate at some local restaurants in Imerovigli, and watched the sunset in Oia. With the help of a rental car, we drove down to the lighthouse, Red Beach, and Black Beach on the southern tip of the island. We spent the afternoon at the Black Beach and had lunch at an open air restaurant along the coast. On our last day, we drove around the island stopping at 3 vineyards and sampling Santorini's finest wines. The last vineyard, Domaine Sigalas was by far the best and we walked out with 8 bottles to bring home as souvenirs.

The best part of Santorini was the sunsets. Every night we sat out on the terrace, overlooking the Caldera and Mediterranean, and watched the sunset with a bottle of wine.

UAE Censorship

With all the expatriates living in the United Arab Emirates, there's a clear demand for magazines and newspapers from all over the world. Those sought after magazines and newspapers are shipped into the UAE and sold at local grocery stores and book stores. However, not every periodical that's brought into the country meets the UAE's standards. So the simple solution, someone at customs takes a black marker and strikes through all the offensive images.

Here's a photo from the UK Sun Newspaper with an image that's been altered. Every issue and every periodical that enters the country gets reviewed. The last image is taken from a website that has been blocked by the government.

Porsche Cayman

Brian found a great car detailer in the Mussafah industrial area of Abu Dhabi. They spent 6 hours detailing his car inside and out. Looks too clean to even drive. Diamond Brite Car Care Centre


Emiratti Weddings

The Emiratti family that lives next door to us is celebrating a wedding. It's a local tradition to hang thousands of white lights all around the house, from the roof to the ground and on all the landscaping. It's always quite a site to see when driving through Abu Dhabi's neighborhoods. And even more of a site when it's the next door neighbors.

Midwest Tour

I ventured back home to Kansas City and Des Moines for two weeks in September. It had been nearly a year and a half since I'd been home and it was a long overdue trip. It was great catching up with friends and family. I've missed everyone so much.

Thanks to Eric Bowers for taking the most amazing photo of our condo in Kansas City (Eric Bowers Photo). We enlarged it and hung it over the sofa in our den in Abu Dhabi. It's nice having a symbol and remembrance of our Kansas City home.

The family (Cheryl, Kip, Brian, Aaron, and Scott) went for a bike ride one Saturday morning. A little rain didn't stop my mom from riding the new bike trail in Ankeny. Thanks to my brother Scott for taking and editing this video (Armstrong Pitts Studios).

My cousin Marcus just re-opened the Ankeny landmark Benchwarmers (aka The Bench) and my brothers and I took full advantage of its close proximity to our Mom's house. The menu includes a special hamburger dedicated to our family, The Pitts Burger.

The Pitts Burger is not for the faint of heart. Those are jalapenos under a couple of thick slices of pepperoni. Delicious!!!

After nearly 45 years, my Dad has decided to pull his old trumpet out of storage and re-learn to play. I've never seen my Dad play before and I must say, I'm pretty impressed.