Sunday, 22 October 2017

And so she is 12

The one person in our family who enjoys birthday celebrations the most, is surprisingly not me - but Linnea. She loves celebrating birthdays, all birthdays, but especially her own of course! She starts planning it so early that we have a rule in the house that we don't talk about it until after Daddy's birthday (end September), otherwise we would be discussing it ever since Lucas and mine in January..!

It makes it fun though to plan special things and prepare a lovely day for her, because she really enjoys and appreciates it, and every birthday of so far has been - "The best birthday ever!" ♡

Gifts in bed this morning:

Greetings from near and far:

She got lots of lovely gifts, a new Wreck-the-Diary, a selfie phone cover, books, backpacks, LOL-surprise dolls, an iPad cover, soaps and smells, Zoom-Zooms, cook books, gift cards, a mirror for her locker, unicorn stationary, fairy lights, nail polish and more...

A bit of birthday morning tea with the Irish:

Her birthday party was held at Adventure HQ together with a bunch of her class mates:

They were going to do rock climbing, rope climbing and caving. First a safety briefing:

Up the top they went, over and over again:

Then it was time to add some helmets and do the ropes:

Lastly, they went into the cave:

After the activities at the mall, we went back to ours for some pizza and donuts. We seem to have a tradition when it comes to birthdays, instead of cake we do the donuts. Much easier, that's for sure, and who doesn't like donuts?!

Happy Birthday to our Linnea!! Another great day to the books, and only one more year until you are a teenager!

Friday, 20 October 2017

Three is a charm

Apart from the group of electricians I took around Abu Dhabi and Masdar City on Monday, I have done two more tours this week. It really been unusually busy I know, but I have loved every minute of it! Especially since all three tours were very different to one another.
As I've earlier mentioned, the electricians had quite special interests (paying special attention to electrical installations, ACs, the solar panel farm etc). On Wednesday I guided a British CEO and his wife, who were here to rekkie for a big company trip. They are planning to take about 100 of their employees to Abu Dhabi and wanted a look around, to see what they would include in their program for the trip.

Finally yesterday I had another Swedish group, this time of 16 people in the painting business. They too were here because of the WorldSkills.
They had a really nice program planned out for them by Clever Travel Consulting, who hired me for the guide part. We started in the Grand Mosque and then we split the group so that half went on the Yellow Boats along the Corniche, and half went up to the Observation Deck at 300 in the Etihad Towers. After a little lunch break we swapped groups.

I had my lunch in the Lebanese place on the Corniche Beach, sunny and lovely with a bit of a breeze coming from the sea. There truly are worse places to be than right here, right now..! Love the winter weather that is coming, even though yesterday was still a bit humid and warm.

Such a fantastically planned day for this group, they got to see Abu Dhabi both from the bus, by foot, from the sea and from above! I had a really good time too, I love sharing my knowledge and my passion about this place.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

WorldSkills Abu Dhabi

As I was curious about what this WorldSkills competition really is all about, I decided to go have a look today after I picked the kids up from school. Tuesdays mean early finish for them, so we were at the Exhibition Center already by 2 pm.

The Abu Dhabi Exhibition Center (ADNEC) is massive, and we have been there before on several occasions, for Hunting and Equestrian Exhibitions and for Book Fairs to mention a couple. Today we just did a bit of a browse, and tried to spot NZ and Swedish competitors.

These two guys are competing as a team, in Mechatronics. It was their "supporter club" I took on a guide tour yesterday.

Lucas checked out the programmers...

... and Linnea the chefs and the bakers.

Only in this country will you see a Lamborghini Huracán police car..!

This area of the exhibition center smelled really good!

We found many Swedes, they are competing in 26 different fields, like web design, floristry, health and social care, aircraft maintenance, graphic design, visual merchandising, hairdressing and much more.

We also hit the Samsung booth, to test out some of their VR merchandise. Linnea went walking on a jungle canopy, something familiar..! Then both her and Lucas got strapped into this machine:

They got spun around in every direction! Apparently they were watching a space ship movie and it was a-w-e-s-o-m-e!

Here's a little clip for you to get an idea:


Sparkies on tour

Yesterday I was booked (thanks to my Tour Guide Facebook page, yay me!) to do a guide tour with a group of Swedish electricians. They had come to Abu Dhabi to support one of their coworkers who is competing in the WorldSkills world championships this week.
They had a few special requests regarding what they wanted to see, all related to their line of work. For example I took them to Masdar City as they wanted to have a closer look of the 10MW solar plant there. Masdar City is not on the usual half day tour, so I had to prepare that little bit extra for this tour - which was quite fun!

We went for a walkabout all over Masdar City, as they were rather interested in their building techniques and planning methods. Here they are looking at the wind tower:

I also took them to see the rest of the best of Abu Dhabi, of course, but even in the mosque they had other areas of interest than "normal". They took photos of the electric installations and admired how the air conditioning units are hidden etc. Their firm back in Sweden specializes in working with electricity in churches, so this was right down their alley.
Thank you Elektriker'n Västerås!

Sunday, 15 October 2017

EPC in place

Yes there is a lot of work, work, work, work, work, work being blogged at the moment. The WorldSkills 2017 competition is one of the biggest events that Abu Dhabi has ever hosted, and the whole town is busy.
Last night they had the big Opening Ceremony at the DU Arena, where they had purpose built huge grandstands to receive over 10,000 spectators.
I worked at one of the hotels as an EPC - Embarking Point Coordinator.

This involved sending and receiving delegates to the DU Arena, and being of assistance in the reception. Although while the ceremony was going on, we could take a little break and go and have something to eat. So I went for a quick dinner at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club.
Did you know that the clubhouse there is built to look like a falcon? Look, it's holding on to the golf ball!

I spent the time waiting for the delegates to return watching the ceremony on the WorldSkills live feed on Facebook. It was just like the Olympics with all the different countries walking in waving their flags, so awesome! The NZ team even stopped to perform a haka!

I will try and go and visit the event this week in between tours. Looking forward to it!

Friday, 13 October 2017

Memories of a journey

In preparation for some upcoming guide tours, I went to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque yesterday afternoon to have a look at their new exhibition - Memories of a journey.
This exhibition celebrates the spiritual journey of Hajj to Mecca through the display of more than 180 artifacts on loan from a range of institutions as well as donations of personal memorabilia.

The exhibition has six different sections. The first one talks about the coming of Islam here in the Arabian Peninsula, and the second explores the Islamic rituals and the Holy Quran.

There is a big section on the evolution of the Hajj routes:

One section is all about Mecca, and another about Medina:

Finally a small part of the exhibition showcases some souvenirs and keepsakes that have been collected during personal Hajj journeys:

For those in Abu Dhabi interested in this exhibition, it runs until 19 March 2018, free for all to visit. It is build up in a big blue tent on the North Carpark of the mosque, and they also host a variety of free workshops on many different subjects related to Islamic art and design.

I also had to take some more photos of the mosque itself, as I was there just before sunset. This place is just so so beautiful, you can't help yourself. I mean, look at these shots..!