Warning: Illegal string offset 'singular_portfolio_taxonomy' in /home/williams/public_html/wp-content/themes/canvas/includes/theme-functions.php on line 819

Tag Archives | UAE

UAE Bans Super Size Soda…you’re welcome

The other day The National ran an article about various health-care reforms being suggested by the UAE government.  Among those reforms are—wait for it—a proposed restriction on portion sizes for fizzy drinks.  Yes. That’s right: Mayor Bloomberg’s despised soda ban may be about to take hold here in the UAE.  Now, I’m not one to toot my own horn, but I’ll just say that last summer, I wrote this column for The National, in which I said, among other things:

The fact that so many people suck down giant-sized soft drinks may be a significant factor in some of the health problems that have become prevalent in the UAE in recent years. In those supersized soft drinks, you will find more than 75 grams of sugar and up to 400 calories. And before diet soft drinkers pat themselves on the back, scientists have shown that artificial sweeteners lead to elevated glucose levels, which the liver then converts to body fat.

If New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg has his way, however, “soda belly” might become a thing of the past – and I think that the UAE might consider following his lead. Mr Bloomberg has proposed a ban on selling more than 16-ounce (0.45 litres) cups of soft drinks, which most nutritionists would consider as two servings. Cinemas, sports arenas and restaurants are among those that would be affected by the ban. While it’s true that you could buy two cups of soft drinks for yourself to get around the rule, I’m betting most people won’t. After all, when you’re carrying the tub of popcorn plus the packet of liquorice, it’s hard to juggle two cups.

New Yorkers, who always love a fight, are furious about Mr Bloomberg’s proposal, just as they were when he proposed a ban on smoking in public places (the bill passed); on the use of transfats in restaurants (the bill passed); and his law requiring fast-food chain restaurants to post the calorie count of their menu items (that bill passed too).

 

Okay, I suppose it’s possible that the Sheikhs aren’t reading my column but I’m still going to take some credit for their decision.  True, in the States, various courts have said that such a ban is unconstitutional but I’m not sure that can happen here. Here, what the government wants, the government gets. That means you’re probably not going to be able to get a Big Gulp here for very much longer.  And that, I think, is a very good thing.

 

Big-Gulp-Drink

 

 

Continue Reading · on December 11, 2013 in Abu Dhabi, health, NYC, Politics, The National, UAE

The HerStories Project

It’s been a big week out here in the ‘Dhabs, I have to say, starting with the Rain Day two weeks ago.

What is this “rain day,” you ask? Well, my dears, that’s when the serene desert skies bust open and it pours, like a veritable rainpocalypse.

Or at least, that’s what you think it is if you grew up in the desert. For those of us who grew up in parts of the world with, you know, weather, it was just kind of wet and windy.  But the schools closed at noon because people were afraid of flooding. Or getting wet. Or something.

Big Event Number One.

Then? Less than a week later, schools were closed because Dubai won its bid to host the World Expo 2020.  We got the notification that schools were closing at 10:15 PM on Wednesday.  Schools closed Thursday, which was Thanksgiving Day in the US but here was — theoretically, anyway — a work day.

Big Event Number Two.

Then the day after Expo Holiday, our dear friends and neighbors hosted the fourth annual expat Thanksgiviing, with many small children, several new babies, three turkeys, the best sweet potatoes I’ve ever had in my life, and way too many pies. (Although really, can you have enough pie? )

Big Event Number Three.

Then? National Day Weekend, which meant two more days off from school and work, plus parades, air shows, decorated cars, fireworks, and of course, silly string. (All you want to know about National Day: here, and here, and here.)

Big Event Number Four.

And now? As if all of that isn’t enough? Now, I’m going to blow the horns and bang the gongs for the publication of a wonderful anthology, edited by Jessica Smock and Stephanie Sprenger.  These two writers have put together The HerStories Project (Histories, HerStories, get it?), and have included an essay of mine in this volume, which includes writing from Alexandra Rosas, Galit Breen, and an introduction by Jill Smokler, aka Scary Mommy.

And THAT is Big Event Number Five, which pretty much trumps all the others.

Guess what? You don’t have to admire the book from afar — oh no,  my friends, you can get one for your very own self.  Plus it’s holiday season, so you can get one for pretty much everyone else you know. See? Holiday shopping, fait accompli.  You’re welcome.

 

 

Continue Reading · on December 6, 2013 in Abu Dhabi, Books, expat, Feminism, reading, UAE, writing

in which I try to buy a new phone: phase one

So this happened:

IMG_6332

Did you know the sound of an iPhone screen hitting cement sounds remarkably similar to the sound of eggs cracking?  The lovely marimekko case I have for this phone, which Husband got for me in response to the fit of nostalgia I had in the New York marimekko store, is pretty but like so many pretty things is utterly impractical. Ol’ marimekko should stick to prints & stripes & fantastic housewares because this groovy case? Sucks. There’s no little ridge around the top to prevent the screen from whacking the ground.  And without the little ridgey-bit? Smashety-crackety crack crack.

Props to Apple, though: the screen was smashed but the phone still worked. But I started keeping it first in a baggie and then in an  ill-fitting plastic pouch, out of fear that some tiny shard of glass would work its way into my ear drum. Glass shard phobia led me to think to myself, “self, why not get yourself an iphone 5 because glass & ear canals are an unhappy partnership.”  So myself takes myself to the Etisalat kiosk at one of the malls around here (Etisalat, for those of you not in the know, is the UAE equivalent of Verizon. Or Sprint. Or ATT. Or whatever local branch of hell serves your particular cable needs).

Yep, that’s what I did. I went to the kiosk and got a new phone. End of story.

bwhaahahahaa

Think again, grasshopper.

 

Continue Reading · on January 30, 2013 in Abu Dhabi, expat, technorati, UAE

Monday’s Listicle: Things That Make You Go “hmm…”

The Sisterhood chose the listicle topic for today: “things that make you go hmmm.”  If you don’t know the Sisterhood, you should; they’re exactly the kind of people you’d like to have on vacation with you, in part because they’re so good at finding the “hmmm” in everything. I keep asking them to adopt me but they mutter something about having too many kids, and I’m too far away, and so the best I can hope for is to join their lists.  Make sure you click over to Stasha’s site and see what else makes people say “hmmm.”

 

1. Sylvester Stallone selling . . . fine pens? You know that Sly, he never gets credit for being intelleckshual.

2. How the windows in my fifty-story apartment building get washed:

Apparently, the little scaffolding platform that they used got stuck too often, including once last month when it crashed through someone’s apartment window.  So now we get these window-washing rappelling guys who are being belayed by these guys down on the street.  Not precisely confidence-inspiring, is it?

3. This house, in a compound way outside of town. All the houses in this brand-new compound are dust-colored: beige, tan, brown. Except this one, which takes up most of the block, and whose owners seem to have purchased every single lawn doodad in the shop: fake urns? check. playground equipment? check. plaster stag-head, “rock” waterfall, plastic swans? check, check, and check.

4. The dosage instructions for Liam’s antibiotics, because scrawled instructions on the side of the box are so professional:

5 & 6 are things that make me say “ewwww” rather than “hmmm:”

7.  This also makes me say “ewww” but with a slightly different emphasis:

It’s what happens to cheese if you leave it in the car for about 15 minutes while you run into another shop.

8. Speaking of cheese, here’s another “hmm:” Wisconsin’s failure to recall Scott Walker. Given that Wisconsin is where the Progressive movement started (Robert LaFollette ran on the Progressive Presidential ticket in 1924; he was also an outspoken critic of corporate involvement in politics) and given the state’s long history of liberalism (yes, I said the L-word), Walker’s policies are all the more shameful, as is his debt to the Koch brothers.  I know many of you cheese-heads worked like dogs to oust this guy but I’m wondering how those of you who voted to keep Walker in power justify that decision? Do you think the Brothers Koch will be sending you million-dollar checks any time soon? Let me know how that goes, m’kay?

9.  This ad, in the Marks & Spencer mall near our house. Does Ryan need the money? I dunno, but he sure is nice to look at while I shop:

10.  These “toys” I saw being sold in a “bookstore” (or at least, a store that sold book-related products).  Really shows girls how to aim high, professionally speaking, don’t you think?

And if your little princess should get tired of top trends, here’s the companion volume:

11. And because I’m not always a crotchety old lady, I throw in a bonus “hmm…”  Not all “hmm” has to be bad, right? This bird lives with his family in the shrubs near where I go to yoga. When I walk by this fine feathered fellow on my way to class, I say to myself, “hmm….life here in the desert ain’t all bad.”

Continue Reading · on June 11, 2012 in Abu Dhabi, expat, Monday Listicle, Politics, pop culture, UAE

the invisible labor of vacation

Our vacation in the Maldives a few weeks ago was perfect, and that’s all I’m going to say about that.

It seemed as if we were in a natural paradise…but “natural,” these days, isn’t always what it seems:

There were no mosquitoes:

The beaches were clean and smooth:

There were lovely palm frond shelters around the pool and along the beach:

Someone walked around almost every evening at dusk and fumigated for mosquitoes; teams of men raked the beach in the early morning and late afternoon; these women sat for hours one day and wove new “native” shelters for the poolside cabanas.

One of the divers, Sabu, who led the snorkel trips had worked at Kandooma for four years. He, and a number of other workers, live on the island directly across the channel from the resort:

Sabu likes the Maldives, loves the water. But when he looks across the channel from his village to the resort, I don’t think he sees Paradise.

I think he sees a job.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Continue Reading · on April 1, 2012 in Abu Dhabi, expat, Travel

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes