Thursday, 18 May 2023

Lush start to the weekend

This past weekend Nathan and I finally did something we had talked about since a very long time - we booked in for a massage. At home. In our living room!
Yes, like everything else, you can have massage therapists "delivered" to your house here, have a massage, in the comfort of your own home!

Two ladies turned up, ten minutes before the set time, and unfolded their massage beds and set up and created a lovely atmosphere with music, flowers and a scented candle.

We then had 90 minutes of absolute bliss, before they packed up and disappeared just as quickly as they had come. It was wonderful, and I really enjoyed being able to just cosy up and relax afterwards, and not have to get dressed and have to drive back home.

I suggested to Nathan we should try and have a massage at least once a month, to which he answered "Or once a week!". Ha ha! He got hooked straight away!

Wednesday, 17 May 2023

The essence of Dubai

The second night the group had a completely different experience to the desert, and had a luxurious dinner on a beach club on the palm. Absolutely stunning, with the white sand, the turquoise details in the furniture and the Dubai skyline as a view across the water.
A totally different set up than the previous evening, but both nights encompassed in their own way, the essence of Dubai.

There was a lot of kitchen staff, and they sure did a fantastic job. The guests got to taste a selection of courses from across all the restaurants at Atlantis, and it was delicious.

Welcome drinks at the ready!

This is just before the guests arrived, and then as the sun set, and the music became louder - they had the night of their life..! They ate and drank, enjoyed the entertainment and danced the night away in the sand to the music of the DJ! Another great, great night - and what an event to work at! Lucky me!

1001 nights

Last week I ventured away from both Abu Dhabi and the museum, and worked at a 2-day gig with a big group booking in Dubai. They had planned two very different evening events, the first one took place at a desert camp just outside Dubai. A really beautiful location!

The set up, for 1500 people..!

Here's almost the whole team, all Swedish chicks, and super pros. Such a dream team!

Beautiful welcome along the red carpet, by 8 camels and their carers.

What a feast the guests came out to! Like a scene from 1001 nights!

The guests could try henna, they could listen to oud playing, and enjoy traditional food. They also enjoyed amazing entertainment with belly dancers, traditional Emirati dancers, and the "twirling men" in all their glory, with lights and all! They all had such a good night! And so did we!

the only constant

Last week I finally managed to get to the NYU Art Gallery to visit their latest exhibition the only constant, which is about to end next month. It features nine artists.

The show is inspired by Al Sawaber, by Tarek Al-Ghouseein; which is a series of photographs of an enormous apartment complex in Kuwait, taken before its demolition. This complex, Al Sawaber, used to be a vision of utopia, but later became abandoned and deteriorated. Through the photo series, you can see this theme of utopia arrive and depart - change is the only constant.

City Fifth Investigation
, by Vivek Vilasini:

This is a collection of 31 rice papers, one more for each day of a month, showing how the effects of air pollution.

So the artists in this exhibition explore the contrast between natural landscapes and the human imprint. A fitting theme just before we are about to host the COP28 here in Abu Dhabi.

The focus throughout the exhibition is on the moment when humans change the landscape, but also on how landscape changes humans.

A video projection by Patty Chang, called Invocation for a Wandering Lake:

The Dyson Sphere, by Haroon Mirza:

Food for thought here, for sure.

Thursday, 11 May 2023

Backstreet's back!

All tours I deliver at the museum are different, depending on who I am touring.
I always do my best adapting my choice of artworks to the information I have about the guests, the size of the group, their nationality, their age. Sometimes we know their profession and/or why they are in Abu Dhabi, anything helps.

This weekend I had a rather special tour - with two of the Backstreet Boys!
They came to with a small entourage for a tour of the museum. To introduce the narrative and the universality of the museum, I chose to present the Dancers in the Grand Vestibule - obviously!

I really enjoyed delivering this tour, because they were really invested and seemed genuinely interested in all the stories I shared. Sure, it is their job to be friendly and approachable, but I did feel a connection. Apart from the art engagements, we talked about our families (as we are all the same age), about different countries we have visited and quite a bit about Sweden! The Backstreet Boys spent a lot of time in Sweden in the late 90s, producing their music there, so they were very familiar with Stockholm and its surroundings.

Touring celebrities always cause a bit of commotion in the museum. This time so many of our visitors stopped us and asked for photos, and the guys entertained each and every request with a smile. I was truly impressed with their decency and patience. Never mind it is a part of their job, this was a private visit on their own time, and still they were completely accommodating to their fans.

I got my photo too of course! A tour to remember!

I got invited to join their concert the following evening, as their guests! Wooow!
I brought my work bestie, of course:

I was never a hardcore BSB-fan back in the day, but their music was obviously still a big part of my youth. They are the biggest boy band in the world after all!

The tickets for this concert had sold out in a record four hours, and the whole arena was full - all 18,000 seats! The atmosphere was electric, everyone was dancing and singing along - this whole concert experience was something else!

Thankful for a great weekend and a joyful walk down memory lane!

Saturday, 29 April 2023

Watch meet art

Swatch have recently launched a special Art Journey Collection, where one of the watches is featuring two artworks from the collection of Louvre Abu Dhabi. This special Swatch x Louvre Abu Dhabi watch is inspired by The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai, and our beautiful astrolabe from the 18th century; and it is presented at the moment in a special cubicle under the dome.

Once you go inside, you will be introduced to this Swatch watch, beautifully displayed, with a nice "soundtrack" of smashing waves creating a bit of an immersive experience in there.

Here you get a closer look at the watch. The underside is etched with the impression of the astrolabe by Ibn Ahmad Al-Battuti, where the projection of a night sky is adding a touch of UAE heritage to the design. The front is showing off the crashing waves of the famous woodprint, and the classic prussian blue waves continue down the strap as well.

This special edition watch is now for sale in the gift shop at the museum, for a limited time only. I find it really beautiful, but I will not buy one, as I only wear my trusty Apple Watch. But what a great gift for someone who enjoys special watches, or art!


On Thursday I joined a dinner event with SwedishLadies, out at Mamsha. I had worked all day, so it suited me really well, just to drive 3 minutes over there after work to have dinner.
We met up at the apartment of one of the ladies for a sundowner before dinner. She had a fantastic corner apartment with the most amazing view all over the Soul Beach. Oaw!

The dinner was organised at the fairly newly opened Nordic restaurant Valgerand. Valgerand is a white beach in Estonia, turns out that the chef was Estonian.

He was so excited to have us there, ha ha! He had prepared a very special set menu for our group, and it was really thought through. A mix of many different Nordic cuisines and traditions. We started with some wine and cheese (not me, as I was driving), and some dips:

For entree, we had three different smørrebrød, a rösti with gravlax, homemade dark rye bread with cured salmon and a white toast with Skagen. Mmm!

The chefs special deviled eggs:

We were all so so full at this stage already, so we were happy to see that he brought us special baby portions of the main course, which of course was - meatballs.

Every course that came brought on huge applause from the ladies, ha ha! For dessert, he made us a 'kladdkaka' (a gooey cake), a super traditional Swedish dessert that everyone has their own version of.

We even got surprised with some 'Ahlgrens bilar', he sure knew how to make us happy!

We had a great evening! They blasted out ABBA on the speakers, and after we had eaten all that food, some of the ladies felt the need to shake it all down and started a bit of a dance party next to our table. I don't think the Valgerand crew really knew what hit them, ha ha! Great fun!