Top of the World

Malls! Everybody loves them (and we really like them and their air conditioned comfort in this part of the world). Even zombies love them.

New dawn at the WTC
Is The Hub a new dawn for the World Trade Center?

Which is why it’s always a mystery to see one that hasn’t quite found its footing yet, like the World Trade Center mall in the heart of Abu Dhabi. Opened in 2014, it’s split into a souq and a more traditional mall.

A quick visit to the souq side shows why they need to try something new. Heavy wooden doors previously blocked views of the interior, so you didn’t even know the place was open, and denied access to anyone with bags, buggies or mobility problems.

Kicking off a much-needed facelift, sliding glass doors have been installed, to allow such novel concepts as light, and access. There’s already a different feel to the place since I moved here six months ago.

Now focus has switched to enhancing the mall half of the Mall, which is why your correspondent found himself as their guest last week at the opening of their new dining concept, The Hub. Continue reading

Faking It

The clocks have gone forward, it’s time for spring cleaning – and I know just where to start: your social feed.

Virtual reality
Nevermind metaphors about virtual reality, Kid A declared Samsung’s Gear VR to be “a bit bobbins”.

Our friend A was visiting us from the UK a few weeks ago. I couldn’t have imagined the path the conversation would take when I casually asked her if she had given anything up for Lent.

The answer was yes; but instead of chocolate, or gin, or swearing, she was forsaking Facebook instead.

Specifically, she’d had enough of endless posts from people of their stage-managed, genetically modified, Photoshopped lives (I may be paraphrasing, but you get the gist.)

And you know what? I think she’s onto something. Continue reading

Mid Year Review

Almost unbelievably, Family Little City has already hit the six-month milestone since relocating to Abu Dhabi (ever wondered why time seems to pass more quickly the older you get? Wonder no more.)

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

What better opportunity, then, to conduct a little mid-year review, see how things are shaping up and how life here as sophomore expats compares to our Qatari debut.

  • What’s better?

Um, lots of things. Most things. Ok, nearly everything. Don’t get me wrong, we got a lot out of our time in Doha and there were enough positives for us to want to stay in the region, but this feels like a step in the right direction.

  • Come on, there must be something?

Continue reading

Slip Slidin’ Away

In which I get injured and treat myself the British way – by ignoring it and hoping it will go away

Yes! I thought as my hand slammed backwards as it hit the ice. This is the perfect opportunity to compare healthcare in the UAE with the system in Qatar!

My left wrist
Do you concur? I concur.

Ok, I didn’t. Of course I didn’t. No, at the exact moment of impact – the second after Amnesiac, who skates like someone who spent three years in Doha traffic, cut me up on what we had ironically agreed would be our final lap of the ice rink at Zayed Sports City, the capital’s aptly-named mega complex – I was too busy trying to creatively convey my pain in a PG-friendly way, surrounded as I was by small children.

I don’t think I succeeded.

Continue reading

TGI February

January, I am thrilled to see the back of you.

Foggy Abu Dhabi
I took this photo of a fog-soaked downtown Abu Dhabi in February, but it’s my blog and I’m using it as a metaphor for January

You are the kind of month that gives with one hand and sticks two fingers up at you with the other.

The kind of month where you sit down to write something and just think ugh. A joyless fun-vacuum of a month.

The kind of month where you should be revelling in the fact that it’s perfect post-work weather for running outdoors…until you finally try running outdoors after a winter in the gym, only to wake up the following morning feeling like your hips need replacing. Continue reading