“I like that feeling of discombobulation that comes in creating an absurd world that doesn’t make sense. ‘Monty Python’ does a good job of it; ‘Bugs Bunny,’ too.” Reggie Watts
Firstly discombobulate, what a fantastic word, think it’s my new favourite! The definition of discombobulated is confused, disconcerted, upset and frustrated which sums up my week last week! Confused by the bizarre weather we were having in the desert, disconcerted by the driving in aforementioned conditions and the teenagers school shutting early due to inclement weather (rain, yes schools closed early because it was stormy) teamed with feeling frustrated and upset with myself because of bad planning!
Before the rain set in , I arranged with a friend to go to this years Abu Dhabi Art over at the Manarat Gallery on Saadiyat Island and have a spot of lunch in the lovely Al Fanr cafe located there. All was going well until we were refused entry to the gallery as we were not VIPs! Now a mini expat strop ensued with us both muttering “Well this wouldn’t happen at the Tate in London” and “Thought Art was for all!” but it was quite apparent that we were not going to be allowed in. Frustrated we stood our ground when also refused entry to the cafe, but four security staff later we took our place at our table. I discovered, upon checking, that I had in fact got the day wrong and the exhibition was opening to the public the next day, cue shamefaced menu reading and frustration with myself! At least we had the lovely Tate like cafe to enjoy lunch, even if we were the only non-artists, non-media, non-gallery owners present, but no my pizza was burnt and promptly sent back and my friends soup was cold, congealed and tasteless coupled with slow service, probably due to our lack of VIP badges, the cafe did not live up to my recommendation! Moral of this story, check information before you set off, on the upside at least the conversation and company was good. The next morning I received an e-mail from Art Dhabi Art inviting me to attend the four-day event, ironic don’t you think!
Undeterred I decide to revisit Abu Dhabi Art on Thursday with the Teenager in tow this time (she needed a change of scenery as in mini meltdown/stress overload due to GCSE mocks, Spanish exam and theatre production rehearsals) but because of the stormy weather conditions and low line flooding (no road drainage here) we had to turn back, seriously so hard to be cultured here last week! The weather resembled the UK with heavy rain, not just the usual mild desert storm but as I am a Brit and not phased by a little precipitation I was determined to carry on as normal, but the weather and the traffic beat me! Rain here is like a snow day in the UK, causing utter chaos and confusion on the roads, the only good thing is it slows everyone down and lets face it not much else does! I am just glad that we live in an apartment now as our first villa leaked water through the doors and windows and we had an impromptu indoor swimming pool and a moat during one storm.
We had a visitor over from the UK staying with us for the weekend, luckily he has been here several times before so was not discouraged by the awful weather. On a little jolly, sorry business trip, he arrived on Thursday night and with work not starting in Dubai until Sunday, he swung by Abu Dhabi to catch up with us and the other guys here as they all worked together back in the day in London. Visitors come here with R & R on their minds, relaxing on the beach, chilling on the boat, indulging in some fine fare and drinks but along with the normal overindulgence this visitor wanted to run, yes run! He had signed up for the ADNIC 10K run around the F1 track over at Yas Marina, not a normal event on the Brett Tours itinerary.
As a keen marathon runner (he completed the London Marathon in 2009 and is running it again in 2014) he wanted to add the F1 track to his GPS running log, a definite box ticking event! I question his pre-race preparations with an international flight, tapas, beer and mojitos with a 3am bedtime followed by a four-hour lunch with beer and a little water to rehydrate, but it worked! Along with another friend roped in from here, the boys set off and both finished in great times in just over 50 minutes. Ashamedly myself, the other half and another friend sat in the grandstand in a supporting role, well someone needed to take photos and cheer them on, that’s my excuse! While all these athletic types pounded the track, I read my kindle sat on my lardy bottom!
The annual ADNIC event was well organised and well attended with four race categories 1K, 3K, 5K and 10K encouraging children and families to participate as well as more serious runners (hang head in shame that even children were running). A percentage of the entry fees is allocated to the Operation Smile charity, raising money for children who need surgery for cleft lips and palates. Medals collected and more photos taken, it was time to celebrate with more food and drinks of course, with a delicious meal at Frankies Italian restaurant in the Fairmont Hotel, it’s a tough job shouting encouragement and medicinal red wine was required.
With the weather still looking dodgy the next day I left the boys to bob about on the boat while I attempted to go to Abu Dhabi Art, again! Third time lucky and I successfully joined the masses of families and couples (looking like a right billy no mates) at the modern contemporary art exhibition which was worth the effort but I avoided the cafe this time (photos to follow). Normality was resumed on Sunday with the other half at work, the teenager at school (Spanish exam finished and one successful performance under her belt), visitor dispatched to Dubai, weather almost back on track, driving was back to crazy plus a valuable lesson had been learnt by me to not skim read event information……oh and an afternoon aerobatics stunt show by the Red Arrows over the Corniche ……. just another day in Abu Dhabi.
Red Arrows flying in formation over Abu Dhabi on Sunday afternoon (source:Red Arrows pilot)
Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2013. All rights reserved.