This year I watched the TV show “American Idol” all the way through – from the amusing first rounds (complete with horrendous singing and blindness inducing outfits) to the somewhat disappointing finale (my favourite was out of the running so I wasn’t that interested by then). Despite the fact that the show has now had it’s TWELFTH season it is the first time I have persisted with watching it (no judgements please!) I think I mostly enjoyed Keith Urban’s presence as eye-candy, and the continual bitchiness between Maria Carey and Nicki Minaj. I can’t imagine what it must be like to go from nobody to a household name over a period of a few months. Scary, and exciting, I would imagine.
Since moving to Dubai almost 5 years ago (wow gulp) I have become more and more involved with helping the stray cats of Dubai and the UAE. Unbelievably its a big problem here, I can’t comment on what the root causes are but unchecked breeding of the local Arabian Mau cat population coupled with lost and abandoned pet animals has resulted in a neverending supply of cats needing sterilisation, vet care and eventual re-homing (for those that are tame enough). Its frustrating, upsetting, thankless work but happily it is also extremely rewarding, which makes up for the rest. Seeing that once stray animal reclining like a king (or queen) in its new home is one of the best sights in my opinion. As part of this effort Stu and I support the Feline Friends ball every year. Its a fun evening out combined with good food, dancing and some great prizes (the raffle is our firm favourite). All whilst raising money for a very good cause**.
I have talked before about the exciting developments planned at Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi, we spent some time looking at the plans when we were in Abu Dhabi in February this year. Whilst Saadiyat Island is intended to be the largest single mixed-use development in the Gulf a great deal of emphasis is currently being placed on the cultural nature of the development; five buildings (Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim, Jean Nouvel’s Louvre, Zaha Hadid’s Performing Arts Centre, Tadao Ando’s Maritime Museum and Norman Foster’s Zayed National Museum) will transform Saadiyat Island into “an irresistible magnet attracting the world to Abu Dhabi, and taking Abu Dhabi to the world”. But it is the Zayed National Museum, perched on elevated ground in a central position, that will take centre stage. And the design of the building has finally been revealed.
There is a fascinating story in the Gulf News today about a guy living in his car in Saudi Arabia.
Over the last month or so Stu and I took part in a paper recycling drive, called “My Tree In Dubai”, launched by EEG in March. The idea was to recycle 60kgs of paper, and earn one of 250 trees that would be planted in Dubai. If you managed to qualify your tree would be named after you. The only hassly part was having to take the paper down to the center in Beach Road, but the rest was easy, and fun, especially considering there was even a facebook application where you could update the weight deposited with the date, and a few more leaves would be added according to how close you were to the target as a percentage.