Sunday, 16 January 2022

Family day at the Expo2020

Yesterday I made the family come with me for a fun day out to Expo2020. Nathan hadn't been at all, and the kids and I had so much more left to see and explore, it was time!
It turned out it was a really good day to visit the Expo. Today the tickets apparently are 10 AED only to celebrate that they have passed 10 million visitors; so I guess many people were saving this weekends visit until today? There was actually not many queues at all, we managed to visit 17 pavilions!
Sorry not sorry for the photo bomb to follow..!

We parked at the Mobility parking this time, to start our visit down that end. First up was Australia, they had a great light show in their planetarium:

We arrived just after lunch time so had a quick food break already here as the menu at the Australian pavilion looked really good. We had 'Bushtucker Skewers', 'Chook on a roll', excellent sweet potato fries and a Lamington for dessert (even though Nathan would argue that is a kiwi treat!).

Next to Australia was the Denmark pavilion, the only pavilion at the Expo which is privately financed and not supported officially by the state.

Down this part of the Expo we also found Finland:

By now we had really picked up speed, so decided to be adventurous and enter most pavilions - like Turkmenistan. Here I must say the outside was more impressive than the inside though:

Russia is one of the pavilions that have received a lot of hype, and I can understand that! Their "brain display" was really cool!

Next up Belgium:

Their pavilion was designed in a cartoon style, and you have to admit their commitment to detail, even the fire extinguishing equipment was decorated in theme:

Time for Hungary:

Looking for and learning about all the different thermal spring locations in Hungary:

Don't worry - I also bathed in hand sanitizer after having "bathed" in this ball pit! Actually, I must say that since we were at Expo last time, they had really stepped up when it comes to hand sanitizing stations. They were everywhere, at entrances, exits, by displays, inside pavilions, along the streets - everywhere!

Next up Ireland, where the visit also started with a movie, like in so many other pavilions. I must say, I'm not a big fan of the movies, I prefer roaming around at my own speed. But - I enjoyed this movie a lot! Then we were led to some art, and some live Irish folk music, nice atmosphere here:

Since it was Nathans first visit, we had to go see both NZ and Sweden of course. A quick family groupie in the Swedish forest:

This famous sculpture is currently on display outside the Swedish pavilion, unveiled here on the United Nations Day on 24 October last year. This is a wood replica of the universal peace symbol the Knotted Gun, a sculpture created by the Swedish artist Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd, outside the UN HQ in New York since 1988.

This very cool car is also on display temporarily at the Swedish pavilion. The Koenigsegg Gemera, top speed of 400 km/h and being the world's first Mega-GT.

In the NZ pavilion we took a quick break at their Tiaki Restaurant. They had a special beer on offer that Nathan wanted to try, and the rest of us had some lemonade and coffee. Most authentic flat white I've had in a while by the way!

On our last visit Linnea spotted these Aquafina bottles that you could buy, and then fill up for free on different refill stations all over the Expo. Last time they were sold out, but this time we managed to get one each. You can choose between still and sparkling water, the amount of bubbles you prefer and you can also add different flavours. Rather cool!

Another hyped pavilion that normally have massive queues is Saudi Arabia, but since today was rather quiet, we decided to give it a go. Impressive building above all, with three Guinness World Records awarded - for example for the largest interactive floor, and largest LED mirror screen display.

My new favourite pavilion is Morocco. I must say - OAW!
I loved the architecture of the building, the experience of walking down all these ramps (after having been transported up the top with an elevator), the views over the Expo site, and of course visiting differently themed rooms and exhibitions on the way - at our own speed.

I particularly enjoyed the room with Modern Moroccan art:

We also did Switzerland this time, last time the queues were ridiculous. Can you spot us in the reflection?

Inside Switzerland you had to hike through Swiss fog to get to up the top:

We decided to have our dinner at the Swiss roof top bar, hot dog for Linnea and rösti for the rest of us.

Last time we only saw the drone show at the Chinese pavilion, this time we went inside this lantern shaped pavilion, one of the largest at the Expo. China - ✅!

We also went back to Brunei so Nathan could say hi, and to Qatar, the League of the Arab States Pavilion and Uzbekistan, but apparently didn't get any photos from those.
Still so much to see and do! Can't wait for next time, but only 10,5 weeks left now, so getting a bit stressed..!

Friday, 14 January 2022


We are two weeks into the new term, and have ended what should have been the home schooling start. But helas, and to NO surprise at all, home schooling has been extended another week. Well, in a way it was surprising actually, because of the wording in a survey that came out to all school parents this week, everyone thought the announcement was going to be until the end of the month. Maybe they are just trying to give us hope by extending one week at a time... Ha ha, they are fooling no one. Sigh.

This week for me has been a real roller coaster mood wise. I am super happy living life when things are happening, had a great Game Night Monday night, a lovely lunch date Tuesday, passed my yearly renewal exam for the Louvre Abu Dhabi and worked on Wednesday; and yesterday went for a few drinks to celebrate one of our friends' birthday.
But in between that, I'm mostly laying on the sofa or on the bed, waiting, staring out the window, contemplating this lock down feeling, making time pass - wasting life. Blergh.

Friday, 7 January 2022


After having been sat at home and felt sorry for myself all week, today it was finally time for an outing! My friend Kathleen and I went up to NYU to visit their exhibition 'Modernisms', showcasing Iranian, Indian and Turkish highlights from the Abby Weed Grey collection at NYU, founded in 1974.

Abby Weed Grey was an American art collector that traveled the world for 15 years during the 1960s and 70s, collecting art that reflected a more global vision. This exhibition represents only a small part of all the prints, paintings and sculptures Grey collected during her trips, from countries as diverse as (apart from Turkey, India and Iran) also Japan, Pakistan, Nepal, Thailand and Israel.

This is a piece by Krishen Khanna from India called Vijay (Victory) from 1965. This black-and-white abstraction is inspired by the Japanese tradition of 'sumi-e', black ink on paper.

I loved the colours of this painting below by Prabhakar Barwe (King and Queen of Spades, 1967). Barwe worked at the Ministry of Textiles in India, which often inspired him to use solid colours with a lot of contrast, like in this piece.

Abby Weed Grey's interest in the modern art of non-Western cultures has significantly contributed to a wider understanding of these largely understudied areas. This exhibition is an amazing opportunity to study these artworks and get to experience what a force art can be in uniting people across cultural and geographical barriers.

Colt 45, 1968, by Iranian painter and calligrapher Faramarz Pilaram. The artist has used letters and numbers as decorative elements rather than semantic devices, something that we could connect to some of the current pieces at the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

This was another piece that really caught my attention. It is influenced by Iranian folklore and myths, and it reminded me a bit of viking runes. This is Lost Poet of Iran by Parviz Tanavoli from 1962.

Tanavoli is one of the most important artists in Iran, his works often questions the relationship between image and word. Like this sculpture, Heech from 1972.

The Grey collection includes around 200 works by Iranian artists, which is the biggest collection of Iranian work outside of Iran.

This exhibition is on view, for free, at the Art Gallery on the NYU campus until 5th of February. I strongly recommend you to visit.

Thursday, 6 January 2022


Another post without photos, as nothing really has been going on this week... which by the way feels never-ending! We still have a whole day left now with the "new" week! Sure Fridays are only half days as school finish at 12pm, but that still means we have another early morning before it's time for TGIF.

I haven't worked all week. Omicron has certainly affected society here, just as everywhere, and it feels like everything has slowed down again. So I sit here at home, prepare for future tours and keep up with the studying for my Uni-courses. But it's rather lonely and boring, I certainly suffer from feeling completely underwhelmed at the moment. Since the kids have been home as well doing school via e-learning, it feels like we are back in lockdown again, where the only different thing each day is what we are having for dinner.
Even the weather is grey. Ever since New Year we have had quite funny January weather, with both rain, wind, chills and grey skies.
Not that I mind, suits the general mood. Blergh.

Tuesday, 4 January 2022

647 days

So, I have fallen off the exercise wagon. Not just fallen off, but fallen off it, set fire to it and bought croissants with the insurance money, ha ha..! It's been two weeks since I have moved in any kind of intentional way, other than around my house.
I'm actually surprised at how fast that happened.

I think they say it takes 20 days to create a new habit? Well, I kept at it for 647 days. And then, I didn't.
I lost my streak on our travel day back to Abu Dhabi from Sweden just before Christmas. For those of you with Apple Watches, that was 647 days in a row I had closed the red ring, which means having done some kind of exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes a day. 647 days!
On that travel day, I was 19 calories off closing it when we landed here in Abu Dhabi late in the evening. Silly me I changed the time zone on my watch without thinking, and - boom, we were into the next day and I had missed that days goal! Aaarrrghhh!

So, bummer. But then I didn't really get back into it, at all. I thought maybe "after Christmas", and then I thought, "in the new year"... and now I'm wondering - what happened? How was that habit so easy to break?
Still. Six hundred and forty seven days. Pretty impressive huh!

Sunday, 2 January 2022

It's the weekend!

Most of you will read the title of this post and think "Yes? And?", but this is rather exciting for us here in the UAE actually - as we from now on have weekends aligned with (most of) the rest of the world. So instead of school starting the new term today, school is now starting tomorrow and Monday is now becoming the first day of our week. At least for schools and government employees, the private sector can still decide themselves how they want to schedule their week; and for people like Nathan, it still doesn't matter what day is what..!

I have spent this last day of the holidays packing up Christmas. It is a really boring chore, so it has taken me all day with many, many breaks - but now the house is empty and tidy, ready for the cleaners to swoop in tomorrow and then I will redecorate with the normal knick-knacks.     

Saturday, 1 January 2022

First day of 2022

The kids and I had our pizza just as we had planned last night. A Pizza NY Party is also a NY Party! It was a super chilled evening, we just hung out, ate pizza - and watched Rush Hour 1, 2 and 3!

Nathan got home in time for midnight, and after having jumped into the new year holding bread and coins (the Danish tradition we have made ours), we watched the fireworks from our balcony, like many New Years Eves before.

We were actually all ready for bed but we did watch the (prerecorded) stream with a performance by David Guetta from the Louvre Abu Dhabi for just a little bit before we called it a night. Such a fantastic setting..!

Then 2022 got started with a bang!
We all (apart from Nathan, whose noise-cancelling earphones apparently were well worth the money..!) woke up at 4 am by a massive thunderstorm. All our windows were thumping with the wind and the rain was so strong it overpowered the noise from our air conditioning. I actually don't think we have had a storm like this since November 2018, it was rather crazy with a lot of thunder and lightning.

Obviously this country is not really built for this kind of weather, so driving to work got interesting with flooded roads, fallen trees and signs and detours. At the Louvre Abu Dhabi it was also still a bit wet, but luckily only under the dome and not inside the galleries.
I started the year with delivering a tour to an American family, felt great to set off the new year with a tour, directly on day one.

And we did get our fondue dinner! Let's just say we switched the traditional New Years dinners around between New Years Eve and New Years Day, but we did do them both!
Fondue is always a hit and it was especially nice today since it was a family affair getting it all ready. Om nom nom!