Sunday, 29 January 2012

What really happened

All right! I bet you are extremely curious about what happened to the dead naked man in the forest. ;)

That’s what you asked:
Did he die there? Yes.
Gibt es einen nahegelegenen Lagerfeuer? Nein.
Bären leben in den Wäldern? Nein.
Is it a new Wallander movie? No.
Does it involve an emergency situation? Yes.
Smoking is a health hazard? No.
Does it involve more matches? No.
Does it involve No.
Did he die of a heart failure? No.
Did he choke on a piece of meat that he tried to remove with a matchstick? No.
Did he try to involve a bunch of boy scouts into getting naked and making woodfires? No.
Does it involve drawing straws? Yes!
Did he lose his floss and used a matchstick instead? No.
Did he get naked before flossing his teeth? If we assume he ever flossed his teeth, then yes.

And here’s what happened:
Two men were flying in a hot air balloon. They were flying over a forest when the balloon started to descend. They got rid of the sand bags. The balloon went up for a while, but started to descend again. They got rid of their clothes. That helped a bit, but the balloon started to descend again still before they reached the edge of the forest. One of them had to jump to allow the other one to reach the edge of the forest and land safely. They broke a match to draw straws and to determine who had to jump. One of them ended up with the short piece of the match and jumped off the balloon. He brushed against some big tree branches and finally hit the ground and died. He still had the broken match in his hand.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

What happened?

We played this game in my German lesson tonight and I liked it a lot:

A dead man lies naked in the forest. In his hand he holds a broken match. What happened?

To find out you may ask me questions that I can answer with either ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Shoot!

Rodrigo y Gabriela - Tamacun

Monday, 23 January 2012


It’s that time of the year again: women are on the hunt. And it’s not men they’re after. It’s SALES. It’s almost over, so discounts can be up to 75%. The choice of good stuff is considerably down, but that’s exactly what creates perfect hunting conditions.

There are two types of hunting: hunting for that perfect whatever for whatever occasion (dress for a friend’s wedding, suit for a job interview, shoes to complete an outfit for Christmas, etc.) or hunting for whatever at a low price. The first one usually takes place outside of sales season to increase chances of finding that right thing. Besides, occasions usually do not coincide with sales. The second is all about sales. Typically, neither of them results in buying things that are objectively necessary.

Last Saturday, between a visit to an art fair and a theatre play in Amsterdam, I engaged in the second type of hunting. I browsed through clothes on racks, shelves and in baskets. I fought my way through the sea of other huntresses. I occupied fitting rooms. I skipped through the shops in a dress with my jeans halfway down my legs. I spent money. I found two dresses, a pair of trousers and a vest.

No more shopping till May! Watch me.

Saturday, 21 January 2012


Today I visited the Realisme Art Fair in Amsterdam. These meerkats (€60 a piece also available in red, white, orange, black and gold) were the most realistic piece of art.

Thursday, 19 January 2012


On my last day in Abu Dhabi I decided to do what all the other women in our group did during the week – get a beauty treatment. Everybody got at least two treatments and I felt left behind. This was my last chance to be a woman. I took it.

At first I made an appointment for a manicure and a pedicure. Nice. Safe. Boring. But hey, I was getting a treatment at a spa! A lady led me to a nail care room. I don’t know what’d gotten into me, but suddenly I heard myself ask “Is it possible to have a Brazilian wax too?” Well, I said it, she heard it, I couldn’t take it back. “Yes, we will do that after the pedicure.”

Well, the manicure and pedicure part was not anyhow remarkable. But it’s the Brazilian wax that ultimately confirmed my femininity. I was lying there, my pants off and two Philippine women – the hair busters – were closely studying my... well... you know, the thing that needs a Brazilian wax.

Hell it hurt! That apart from being a totally weird experience in the first place. At some point it was hurting so much, I said: “Please remove only the hair, not the whole thing!” “Yes, madam.” The women remained concentrated on the subject.  

“Next time it will not hurt so much” - they promised after they were done. I felt very clean and somehow even light, but I am not sure there will be a next time.

Here’s somebody else’s experiences on the same thing, but then better written. Men! I wish you knew the true price of pretty.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

What’s underneath?

Emirati women wear abaya and some of them also wear a niqab. That transforms them into totally mysterious creatures and makes tourists wonder: how do they move, how do they eat and, the most important question – what’s underneath.

How do they move? Slowly. Either their abaya prevents them from moving fast or they simply don’t ever have to rush. That I don’t know.

How do they eat if they wear a niqab? They either lift it up or take it off during the meal. Judging by the stains they do occasionally spill food.

What do they wear underneath? I was closely watching local women in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Al Ain for two weeks to figure that out. Here we go: sneakers and jeans, very tight jeans and very high heels, very high heels and skirts that are not very long, long sleeved tops, very long richly decorated dresses, most often without sleeves. They prefer carrying fancy handbags which is understandable since that’s one of the very few ways to distinguish themselves.

Obviously, I was not watching only women. The question ‘what’s underneath’ applies to men too because most of them wear a thawb (or kandura). It’s white and reveals a plain while t-shirt underneath. Sandals on their feet. But between the t-shirt and the sandals... That remains a mistery.

Elie Attieh - Khidni Habibi

Sunday, 15 January 2012


Just as Abu Dhabi, Dubai doesn’t have many historical sights to offer. Instead the Sheikh (was it Maktoum?) is trying to make history now. Tall hotels, office towers and the conductorless metro (sometimes more expensive than a taxi) – that is all stunning. But hey, how’s that different from other wealthy metropolis?

The competition is tough, but Dubai is still winning it by having the tallest building in the world – Burj Khalifa. You can live there, have your office there or simply go to (almost) the top for the sake of being able to say that you stood on top of the tallest building in the world. For financial reasons I chose for the latter. Burj Khalifa is breathtakingly beautiful. It makes you speechless. It makes your heart beat faster. It gives you a lump in your throat. Of course this all happens to you provided you’re passionate about modern cities and things big. If you are a nature lover and like silence you should avoid Dubai at all costs.

The other thing Dubai invented to keep people in the city for days are shopping malls. There are several huge shopping malls in Dubai, but two of them really stand out. Emirates Mall has a large ski slope. Inside. Tourists watch skiers from the mall windows and make pictures. Then they shop in the mall for hours. Dubai Mall has a waterfall fountain, large ice skating ring and a huge aquarium. Inside. Tourists watch sharks swim past. Then they shop for hours. If you are not a shopping freak, you might want to visit the Dubai Mall anyway. Its interior design and logistics are fascinating.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi is a city with around one million inhabitants. Most of which are foreigners. Most. 80% or even more. Emirati nationals are a rare attraction in Abu Dhabi. To see them one must go to the Marina Mall (the most fancy shopping mall in Abu Dhabi with ski slope and all) or to the Al Ain Zoo. I am not kidding, zoo is the best venue to see locals.

Emirati nationals are fluent in English. That’s because they need it to communicate with shops personnel, taxi drivers and other service providers. Although an Emirati taking a taxi is quite rare. They all have cars, usually SUVs. Parking is free everywhere and a litre of gasoline costs €0,4 max.

Main sights in Abu Dhabi are skyscrapers, hotels and shopping malls. That’s because only fifty years ago Abu Dhabi looked like this:

And now it looks like this:

One of the music videos we were actually able to comprehend: Sandy - Ayza A'olak

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