Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Engagement! (or Dubai - the relevant part)

It was around 3.30pm when the guys from Arabian Adventures picked us up at the hotel. We drove around 40 minutes south of Dubai, and entered the Dubai Desert Preservation Reserve.

The first part of the safari was a dune ride. Fun stuff, it's like a roller coaster =)


The thing in front of us is sand, we were like 85° to the ground

After that we were supposed to have dinner with everyone in the camp, but I had arranged something different with Arabian Advantures: a camel ride.



But where did the camels take us? Well, to a perfectly arranged Arabian carpet in the middle of the desert, with candles, a torch, a barbecue and the staff ready to serve dinner =)



Then we had dinner (delicious food: lamb, chicken, beef, gravy, rice and middle eastern entries).

Then the stars appeared, and under such a perfect setting I asked the mother of all questions. Getting an "are you serious?" as a response. I took it as a yes, and put her the ring... =)


THE ring baby!!!
It was basically the best day of my life.

2 days later (we were so tired that we took a day off and stayed in the pool) we had breakfast at the Burj Al Arab, which was expensive but nice. Once you reserve (and pay) they let you visit the public areas of the hotel, which are truly spectacular.



Then we went to the beach, and afterward to Jebel Ali, a new residential zone, to board a Cessna Caravan 8 seaplane and take an aerial view of the city.




Magic day, magic trip, magic person to share it with... it can't get any better than this! I bet!

Now the expensive and stressful part is coming, but I'm currently high on life and hardly thinking about it.

Dubai - the irrelevant part

I spent 10 days in Dubai last month (4 working, the rest on vacation). My now fiancée joined me for the vacation part (finally having hundreds of thousands miles in my Flying Blue card paid off!).

Even if it's largely influenced by the US and the UK, the place still has some peculiarities:

1. Camel milk. We weren't brave enough to taste it:



2.In the Emirate Malls I kissed Ojos, a security guide told us to not do it again and gave us a "courtesy policy." It's so stupid I took picture:

"No kissing or overt displays of affection"

3. In Dubai, they are absolutely obsessed about facial tissue (i.e. kleenex). Taxis have from 3 to 4 open boxes, in the Burj Al Arab they put them (in a box made of gold of course) in every table, and in malls they have facial tissue vending machines!


4. There was a mosque next to the hotel, with huge speakers, waking us up at 6am every single day.

5. Corona was present!


6. Since there is no snow in the desert, they decided to build a closed ski station in the Emirates Mall:



7. And to close. Hummer limo, anyone?


It was an interesting experience, worthy of the 3 hour flight to Atlanta + the 15 hour flight to Dubai.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

I love Alternativo

VH1 Latin America started a 1-hour daily video show of 90's alternative music... Collective Soul, Pearl Jam, Live, INXS, Nirvana, etcetera. It was like being back to those times when MTV was a good channel (from 1992 to the moment in which they ran that Spice Girls video for the first time, it was all downhill from there).

Wait...

I just realized that was eleven years ago. I'm old!

Couple of random thoughts

1. Gemalto (my employer) was mentioned in James Gosling's blog. It is a 3 lines note about a contest the company is making, but anyway, it's nice to know that James regards Gemalto highly, which in itself is sort of an achievement for the company =).

For those who don't know James Gosling. here's the link to his Wikipedia entry.


2. Today's Dilbert is one of the best ever. Here's a link to it.