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Tag Archives | irony

Skiing…in the Alps and … inside?

Ici la piste ou ma petit garcon fait du ski:

Flaine

Which is to say, my twelve-year old son is currently skiing in the French Alps–and I have to say, that’s a sentence I never in my life thought I would write. Let me hasten to add that his French is no better than mine…and his skiing is even worse.

And by “worse” I mean that the only ski slope Liam has been on in his life is this one:

IMG_1997

What’s that you say? That the lighting on that slope looks odd…and furthermore, you think you’re seeing something that looks like a…roof?

Yes. That is a roof, and no, I don’t mean the roof of heaven.  I mean the roof. Of the mall. Wherein there is a ski hill. With a chair lift, five runs, a bunny hill, and a “snow park” for people who don’t want to ski. Also? There’s a little enclave inside the snow park where you can gambol with penguins.

That’s right. My son prepared for the Alps on the climate-controlled slope of Ski Dubai, which is essentially a huge metal tube plopped down on the roof of the Mall of the Emirates:

ski_dubai_05image source

I mean, how handy is that? You can pick up a pair of Chanel sunglasses, browse the racks at Harvey Nichols, check out the furniture at Crate & Barrel, and then hit the slopes.  Apres-ski, you can hang out in the chalet overlooking the slopes and have fondue, just like they do in the Alps. , which I’m sure is exactly what Liam is doing even as I type this.

Some might say something about what happens when people have more money than sense, but I’m not going to say anything of the sort. Why shouldn’t a desert-dwelling people learn how to ski?  I mean, if the states of Florida and Arizona can have hockey teams, then why can’t a country where the temperatures routinely hit 40C have a ski slope? Let’s not be winterist about sports, ‘kay?

The place is extraordinarily well-run, I have to say: you can rent everything except winter hats and gloves (both of which are available for purchase at the gift shop, natch).  Snowsuits, jackets, helmets, ski pants…even full-length down coats for abaya-clad women who don’t want to ski but want to watch their kids play in the snow park.

Liam, Caleb, and two friends (also heading to the Alps, also utter beginners on skis) had two lessons during their sojourn in Winter and as a result their “passports” indicate that they’re ready for the intermediate slopes.IMG_6354

When a friend of mine asked Caleb about Liam’s trip to the Alps, Caleb replied, with utter confidence, “oh, Liam totally knows how to ski. His passport says so.”

I’ve often said that one of the reasons we moved to Abu Dhabi (besides things like, you know, jobs and money) is because I am tired, tired, tired of winter.  As far as I’m concerned, winter should be a choice, something you can visit and then leave behind.

I suppose, then, that Ski Dubai is the closest I’m going to get to winter without buying a plane ticket and using an actual passport.

And really, who needs fresh Alpine air and the scent of pine trees, when  you can have Prada and the delicate odor of. . . Shake Shack?

IMG_2008

Continue Reading · on February 18, 2013 in Abu Dhabi, expat, Kids, UAE, urban nature

on a clear day…

I live up high. 37th floor, to be exact, in a building that goes up to 46. Unlike living in Manhattan, where my “view” from the 15th floor was straight into the windows of the building across the way, we don’t have high-rise neighbors, so we’ve got vistas, baby, in two directions: south and west. Makes for spectacular sunset viewing and for looking dreamily out over the Gulf wondering why, exactly, I’m not in a sailboat heading for the blue horizon.

Here’s the downside:

No, the downside is not that I don’t know how to focus my camera. The downside is the grime on the windows, a film of dirt, salt, and sand, that creates a kind of en croute wrapping for all the glassy towers in town.

Here’s the cure (a job I would never, ever want):

Floor by floor, window by window, these two guys make their way around the building. It’s dangerous (last year they got stuck for several hours about 36 stories up) and sort of Sisyphus-ian: as soon as they finish with one side of the building, the other side is already dirty again.

And here is the result:

Can you tell which side of the window has been washed and which has not?

I know, I know, dirty windows in my high-rise apartment can be classified as “first world problems.”  My dirty windows, though, raise a few questions: who ensures the safety of the thousands of workers in this country–those who work building all these silly skyscrapers and those who do all the other dirty jobs? (There are a few answers to this worker-safety question and none of them, unfortunately, is very reassuring).  Why keep building glass-wrapped towers if the very point of all that glass–big fancy views over the water–gets ruined pretty much immediately?

And now that my windows are clean, who is making me a drink so that I can watch the sunset in un-grimy glory?

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Continue Reading · on December 4, 2011 in Abu Dhabi, expat, UAE

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