Friday, April 19, 2013

Tech N9ne, Krizz Kaliko, and the 816 Boyz

Our worlds have just collided. Kansas City rappers Tech N9ne, Krizz Kaliko, and the 816 Boyz singing about Abu Dhabi.

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London

We had the distinct honor of attending a speech by Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London. Boris is the funniest, most charismatic Mayor we have ever seen. He does an amazing job of representing the City of London and its citizens. Of course not all would agree and he is already catching flack from his constituents for his comment, "There are so many Emiratis in London's Mayfair and Knightsbridge neighborhoods during the summer months that I have the distinct pleasure of being the Mayor of the UAE's eighth emirate." It's a well known fact that Emiratis flock to London in the summer and we've been witness to it first hand. Ah Boris, you cheeky little bastard.

The event was held at Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi. While our faithful readers have seen past photos of Etihad Towers on our blog, we've included the stock photo below as a reminder of which building it is. This was our first time in the building and it's clear that no expense was spared. Etihad Towers consists of 5 towers ranging from 54 to 75 stories, all connected by a multi storey podium that contains a luxury shopping mall. Three of the five towers contain 884 apartments, while the fourth tower is developed with offices and the fifth tower is a hotel with 383 hotel rooms and 199 serviced apartments. Insiders Tip: the views from Ray's Bar on the 62nd Floor are amazing.


Friday, April 5, 2013

Sunset Cruise

Back in Abu Dhabi we hired a boat and took friends Jules, Susan, and Leo out for a 3 hour boat cruise around the island. Our dear friends Mumm and Veuve Clicquot of course joined us.





Swiss Cheese

It's just called Original in Switzerland. Think about that for awhile and let it soak in.

Zermatt, Switzerland

Zermatt is a playground for the rich and famous. And we were the party crashers. We travelled by train from Paris to Geneva on the TGV, and from Geneva to Visp, Visp to Zermatt on the SBB. It was a fun journey and Brian loved ordering coffee and pouring a wee nip of Baileys into the cup from his flask (or just drinking the Baileys straight from the flask - and who are we kidding, there was never just a wee nip poured).

Zermatt is a car free city at the base of the Matterhorn Mountain. There are only two ways to get around Zermatt, either by horse drawn carriage or by one of the little electric taxis. The entire town is just a picturesque Swiss village. Too damn cute!!!

What can we say, the food was amazing and we highly recommend Elsies for an Irish Coffee or Escargots and Chez Vrony for a glass of Chardonnay and a plate of pasta. Chez Vrony is an old wooden lodge on the side of the mountain and faces the Matterhorn. The weather was warm and sunny and we were able to dine al fresco on the deck. To access the restaurant you need to ski down from the Sunnegga lift (or in Jessica's case, you can tumble down the side of the mountain to it - but that's another story). Back in town, we discovered Potter's Bar and had to go in for a drink in honor of our good friend back in KC, Jim Potter.

The skiing was unbelievable! We hired a personal ski instructor on the first day and this old, grizzly, Swiss guy (Brian inadvertently requested a hot blond female instructor - yet another story) gave Jessica a lesson for 10 minutes and then took Brian to the top of the mountain. At one point, Brian was grinning and laughing from the pure enjoyment of skiing in Switzerland that he nearly ran into the instructor and fell. What a bucket list experience to be able to ski in Switzerland. We skied for a total of 3 days, but the last day was by far the best day.

What can we say, our 10 day trip to Paris and Zermatt was one for the record books. And what a birthday celebration for Brian. It's going to be hard to top this one next year.

Paris, Part Deux

We celebrated Brian's birthday by taking a trip to Paris and Zermatt. It was a big birthday and deserved to be celebrated in a big way. We started the journey by taking the red eye from Abu Dhabi to Istanbul, with a connection to Paris. We arrived at 10 AM into Charles de Gaulle and were greeted at the airport by our driver and his big black Mercedes. There's nothing better than arriving in a foreign country and not having to deal with transportation or the logistics of getting to your end destination.

We rented an apartment in Marais in the 4th Arrondissement of Central Paris. It was such a beautiful apartment with a great location. Over the next 4 days, we wandered around Paris shopping, eating, and drinking our way across the City. As this was our second trip to Paris, we felt pretty comfortable getting around and visited some of our favorite shops. A must in Paris is to stop into Pierre Herme for a box of macaroons, La Dernier Goutte for a fine bottle of red wine, and Le Grand Vefour for dinner. One of the unexpected surprises was the Salvador Dali and Eileen Gray exhibits at the Pompidou Centre. We also had one of the best meals ever on the rooftop restaurant, Georges. The views overlooking the City were breathtaking. And our new favorite spot for an afternoon glass of bubbly is Le Bar at Hotel George V, just off the Champs Elysees (thanks for the tip Jane and Greg).

And now off to Zermatt, Switzerland...

The Big 40

Brian jumped Over the Hill on March 18, but is gaining momentum on the downward slide. Life is just too precious not to celebrate this milestone with fervor and delight. We have such an amazing life and are so fortunate to to be on this adventure together. Afterall, you only get One Life and One Adventure. Cheers to the next 40!

Thank you for all the wonderful birthday wishes from all my family and friends across the world. And a special thanks to the most amazing wife ever for the beautiful watch. I'll treasure it forever, just like our love.  Brian