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Does This Mean We’re Grownups?

Husband and I, we are a rental people.  Or we were, until last week. While friends were working on a second house, or a vacation house, or a condo somewhere spiffy, we were renting an apartment in Manhattan (which we moved out of when we left for Abu Dhabi: now we got nuthin’).   We felt vaguely smug about it, too: instead of lying awake at night wondering which creak or …

Mixed Message, Parking Category

Abu Dhabi has a parking system that (mostly) works really well. You can set up an online parking account and then when you park, you just send a text to Mawaqif and presto, you’re paid up. I’ve never had any problems, at least until the other day. I parked, did my text-n-pay, but when I finished my errands, I discovered a little parking violation ticket (PVT) tucked under my windshield …

Abu Dhabi Driving: A Refresher Course

Dear Abu Dhabi Driver, I’ve been driving around quite a bit the last few days and I’m thinking that maybe a little review about how to maneuver a several-ton vehicle through crowded streets would be useful, maybe even essential. Let’s  start with some basics, shall we? I’m driving a (rented) bright blue Nissan Tiida, which in the US they call a Versa. No, I don’t know why they change the …

no parking, no problem: parking lot freestyle

The other day I went to Spinney’s, a grocery store that caters to expats. Spinneys has a pork room (aka “the hall of shame”) and next door to the grocery store is the liquor store (hall of double shame). And upstairs at Spinney’s is  Mug-and-Bean, where you can get bagels. They’re not the best bagels in the world, but they’re better than the doughy pucks from the freezer section. Because …

National Day: The Big Four-Oh

Today, December 2, is the 40th anniversary of the founding of the United Arab Emirates.  Before this historic union, the various tribes (each of whom would come to govern an emirate) were busy trying to kill each other, take each others’ camels, pearls, and women (in descending order of importance, duh), and generally not getting along. I’ve been thinking today about being in the United States on its 40th anniversary. …