Saturday, August 8, 2009

Michael Jackson Concert @ Mazaya Center

Had seen it mentioned in the newspaper and thought it would be a good evening outing on a Friday.

Wrote to the organisers, got a invitation emailed to me as was instructed in the article and print out duly in hand, we headed over to the Mazaya centre on Friday evening to arrive at 6:30 for a 7:00pm show (to find seats since it was free entry)

There were hardly 50 chairs and by 6:30, the place was already full and overflowing and people were seated on the stairs and central courtyardish raised platform behind the chairs and stage and a vast majority were also standing. The print out did not guarantee a seat and only contributed to global pollution.

The sheer human density in an otherwise empty mall, led us to believe that this would be a high quality program to have got such a large turnout. This was misconception number 2. We later figured that most of them were related to the performers and had come early to drop off their charges.

Since there was no seating space, we thought we would take a quick walk through Homes R Us to browse and perhaps buy articles for the home that are completely unnecessary, but look good in the shop. Fortunately we emerged outside by 7:00pm without opening our wallets.

On coming out, we saw that some children were standing in line in uniform blue silk shirts. This led us to believe the show would soon start. Huge misconception number 3. To spare you the boring details of how we whiled away an hour, lets just jump to the chase to state the fact that: The show did not actually start until 8pm. Mind you, over 50% of the audience was still standing around the stage till 8pm.

While waiting for the show to start, we headed upstairs to the restaurant overlooking the stage, in the hopes of having a coffee and getting a box seat view of the proceedings. They had a buffet on, very reasonable (50dhs a person and there were at least 3 varieties of prawns among 7-8 laden tables of food spanning Indian, Levantine and Persian cuisines) but just about average quality. Our Indian parents would love the extent of the spread for the price, but for us, we may only return there when our folks are in town to show them that it IS still possible to get a decently priced meal in Dubai.

The show started at 8pm and kicked off with those previously mentioned kids in blue singing "We are the world" One adult male, with a guitar took center stage for this song and had his mike volumes on high, with the kids mikes on low volume. We realised the wisdom of this decision a few minutes later.

Except for one South East Asian woman who had a rich, smooth and powerful voice and one male adult dancer, the rest of the show was excruciating to watch/listen to and we regretted our box office seats. Being Indian and having to pay full price for a buffet since we had already started, we would not be able to sleep well, if we hadnt maximised our returns on our money. So what if it was just 103 dhirams (3dhs for the large bottle of chilled Masafi water) and we were already on the 2nd course before the "show" began? Its genetically imbibed in us, that you have to get full value for what you are paying for! And so we sat there (scooted to the further end of the table) and ate and grimaced when someone hit a particular bad note.

The problem with airing shows like "So you think you can dance" and "Dancing with the Stars" is that you create millions of armchair critics. Suprisingly, none of these critics seemed to have made their way to this venue (or maybe not so surprising, as we too will now stay clear of such events) and the entire audience clapped enthusiastically when someone endlessly repeated the only step they could get right and so on.

Note to self: Only attend performances after confirming quality of talent.

With due apologies to parents whose children performed that day, who think their kids are just awesome. I'm sure they are, but excuse me for not being able to see it.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Dust and the problem of housekeeping

Thought I had left all the dust behind me in Egypt, seems it followed me here.

Shh, don't say a word, as of now they think its due to Saddam draining the marshlands in Iraq, little do they know that I'm the one to blame.

While Khamseen season in Egypt meant more dust than usual, in Egypt the dust was black and horribly fine which could only lessen if you mopped the place, else it would just rise in the air on dusting and then lovingly wrap itself around everything, when you thought you were done with the dusting and sweeping.

Called the Shamal in this part of the world, these dust storms seem to be on par for this part of the year although they seem to be gaining intensity each year. Global warming anyone?

Back to differences. This dust too is horridly fine, but its more brownish and yellowish in colour which is normal sandy colour and (Fingers Crossed) the dust will come to an end at the end of this season. Unlike the year round presence in Egypt

The other major problem with housecleaning here, is our cats fur. In Egypt it was spread out across many rooms. Here the house is much much smaller, the layout is all open and the central airconditioning is at roof height which sucks her hair upwards. This is going to make for some very embarassing dinner parties. "Excuse me Kim, but there's some cat fur in my soup" I'm cringing just thinking of the possibility of such a disaster.

Might have to just shave the cat clean. Will save me the weekly cleaning of the air conditioning filters too.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Article on the man behind the "Arabian Saluki Center"

Yesterday's Friday, had an interesting article on the man behind the "Arabian Saluki Center".

In a region where dog's are not the most favorite of animals, the Arabian Saluki, a constant companion to the bedouin is considered more than an animal, it is a part of the family.

The article on Hamad Ganem Shaheen Al Ganem, director, breeder and registrar general of the Arabian Saluki Center; board member, Emirates Falconers' Club; and consultant to the Environment Agency, Abu Dhabi. is an interesting one, worth a read.

It ends with a wonderful anecdote:
"When I met the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan he held my hand and told me: 'The saluki has different uses; not only hunting for you, but also feeding you and protecting you and your camels and sheep. They are an important part of our hospitality as they guide your guests to you.' It was then that it dawned on me that in the olden days people were lonely and used to welcome guests to their tents. Travellers came upon a saluki and knew there would be a house nearby, so they would follow them home. That to me is the ultimate story about the saluki."