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Saturday’s Snapshot (surat al-sabat): لقطة السبت

True, it’s Sunday. But I took the photo on Saturday, which must count for something. When people visit Abu Dhabi, mostly they see big shiny buildings, and big shiny malls, and big shiny hotels. It’s the land of big shiny things, except when you’re in the desert, and then it’s the land of vast and shining sand (and the sand really does shine, sometimes blindingly). On Saadiyat Beach, when you …

mary, mary quite contrary … how does your garden grow?

Fifty years ago, Abu Dhabi looked like this: The key feature of this landscape? Sand. And now? Green, green, green. If you look closely, every tree and flower has a little hose coiled at its root; hoses run under every lawn and green space. Forget the oil industry: if you want in on a lucrative franchise, get in on the hose industry. Irrigation systems use reclaimed wastewater; tap water uses …

Saturday’s Snapshot (surat al-sabat): لقطة السبت

Today I found the plant souk: a long row of seemingly indistinguishable shops selling–yep, plants.  Caleb and I explored, walking past booths crowded with greenery and men saying “yasmeen, madam? frangipani very nice, madam, you want? inside and outside plants, madam, come and see.” For 140 dirham (about thirty-five dollars), Caleb and I got two desert rose bushes, a jasmine bush, a small mint plant, and three bags of white …

Saturday’s Snapshot (surat al-sabat): لقطة السبت

Okay, sure, things have been a little slow over here these days.  There’s been nothing here but ostriches and while ostriches are always appropriate, sort of like champagne, I can understand that looking at the lady ostriches settling into the dust might be a little bit dull after a while. I did have a column in The National last week, about forks, so you could click over and read that …