Sunday, April 21, 2013

10 Things I Didn't Know About Dubai

"Finally, a driver who doesn't talk back."

I just got back from a 36 hr whirlwind trip to Dubai where I discovered a thing or two I didn't know about this Arabic gem in the middle of the desert.

1) Petrol is cheaper than water. Literally.

2) Water is very expensive.

3) Dubai is not the capital of the U.A.E. Abu Dhabi is.

4) The specialty in Dubai is bread. For those coming from Asia, the absence of rice may come as a refreshing surprise...or shock.

5) Chinatown is a mall.

6) Bus stops along the streets have air conditioning.

7) If you see a group of tourists with a guide in your hotel, don't worry, they're actually on a tour.

8) There are pink taxi cabs driven by women that only pick up women (especially good if you're having a bad hair day). Women can also go in the cabs driven by men, hence, it's the men who actually have less choice.

9) High speed sand driving on desert dunes...not for everybody.

10) There is a souk (Arab market place) which is actually an exact replica of what you think a souk would be like. It's not ironic.

In Dubai, there is the biggest mall in the world, the highest building in the world, the largest aquarium in the world...the list goes on. It's almost as though the urban planners get together once a week, hopped up on coffee, check out the guinness book of world records, and say: "You know what would be cool? The biggest....(fill in the blank)."
It's an architect's dream location.
So, if you are an aspiring architect who loves olives, hummus, camel rides, and swimming with dolphins... this is the place for you.
Small tip: Fly Emirates, the tiny cans with coke written in Arabic make great souvenirs for the kids waiting at home.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Nature vs Nurture

"Wait...take a photo of them first."

Alexander and Eliot grew up in the same household with the same parents, the same amount of love, the same rules...even the same scary bedtime stories (previously covered in
Yet, they are undoubtedly different. How different? Enough to make me a strong believer in nature over nurture.

For example, unlike Alexander, Eliot prefers to set rather than clear the table.
She carries the crystal vase bought in Dublin from across the room (yes, I do hold my breath), uses the linen napkins, and places the mats equidistant from each other. Alexander, on the other hand, is the speedy gonzales of table clearers...he even leaves behind a few crumbs for good measure.

When Eliot doesn't want to go to school it's usually because she hasn't finished an assignment. That has never stopped Alexander.

While Alexander, if allowed, could watch endless hours of television (ranging from Mythbusters to Navy Seals Training specials), if the show Eliot likes isn't on, she just turns off the TV (what a novel idea) and plays in her room.

Eliot seems to get more attached to her things than Alexander. Yesterday, after agreeing to throw away her first grade gym shoes, requested a photo of them first. So that she could remember them.  I could go on and on...but I won't. You're welcome.

The basic point of this post is that if you're a parent ...don't worry too much. Sure, you'll be the first person to be blamed when things go south but really it's out of your hands. You're just in the passenger seat. Nature is running the show and, incidentally, monopolizing the shoe closet space.