The 2nd of December marks the 40th National Day in the UAE. Every year around this time people decorate their cars and homes with the national flag and images of the leaders (past and present). But this year it’s more extreme than ever – 40 is quite a big deal as you know.
People have been encouraged to upload images of the number 40, and other images that portray the spirit of the day. So I have tried to capture the same for you, but sadly the good stuff I saw either a) whilst driving b) when I didn’t have my camera or c) both. So apologies but this is the best I have.
Next year I will be celebrating my 40th birthday. Inshallah of course as one must always add here, because you never know, do you, what will happen between now and then. But that is the plan at this stage. And it’s giving me grey hairs already – the planning of the celebration (celebrations?) that is, because as an expat my home is here (for now) but my family and oldest friends are not. So no doubt I will need to have at least 3 parties in 3 different countries, but that’s OK. As long as there are lots of gifts (hint hint). No but really that is not actually what I wanted to tell you about today. But you may start saving for the presents now – if you insist :-).
As September is 9 months after New Year you would expect to run into a few birthdays here and there this month, and even in our case, with our severely depleted social circle, you would be right! In fact we have 2 birthday celebrations this month, one this last week for Eunice, and one this coming week for my dear husband Stuart. We joined Eunice in celebrating her 26th birthday (man don’t I feel old) on Thursday evening at the Grand Grill in the Grand Habtoor Hotel and Resort, Jumeirah Beach. We decided to take a cab so that we could both have a celebratory drink, but man oh man was the journey hair raising; the cabbie seemed determined to hit 120km/h between speed bumps on the way there, and this, combined with the squeakiest brakes this side of the equator, left me feeling rather seasick. However we arrived in one shaken-but-not-stirred piece, in fact we beat the birthday girl who was fashionably late, and had to settle for water for a pre-dinner drink as no alcohol is served until 19h30 due to Ramadan. The advertised cuisine of the restaurant is South African and the menu included a boerewors starter with pap and even a taste of bobotie served with banana ice-cream. Most of the guys and gals went for home-reared slabs of beef, whilst Stu had a burger and I did the sacrilegious ordering fish at a steak house. Happily it was delicious. We also made up for the slow start on the drinks side eventually flattening about 6 bottles of some lovely Porcupine Ridge Merlot and Fairview Pinotage. After that we headed up to Bar 44 for a nightcap, this is a watering hole (frighteningly expensive) on the 44th floor of the Grosvenor House hotel which is just opposite the Grand Habtoor, and reached by a rather frightening dash through sand and over a busy road, not recommended in heels. This is one place you notice the lack of no non-smoking laws here (well this could change any day as the Sheikh is planning to ban all smoking in public places). It reminded me a little of Spats back in Sandton in the old days (well the 90s anyway), minus the live music and with the addition of the most amazing view of the Jumeirah Beach area (ok maybe not much like Spats after all). The view does make it worth visiting at least once, but save up first! Incidentally Grosvenor House is also home to Dubai’s own version of the Buddha Bar, which we plan to visit another night.