Saturday, 29 February 2020

HustleFest 2020

So this weekend it was time for the most anticipated event I think Nathan ever has participated in - HustleFest, the first exclusively craft brew festival in the UAE.
This festival was born as a brain child of our ex-neighbour Chad, who started the company we are small investors in - Side Hustle Brews - the main hosts and organisers of this event.

Thomas flew in on Thursday night for three days, just for this event! 

You could sign up for a tasting package, which gave you one of these little tasting glasses on a lanyard, together with a HustleFest passport which contained information about each brewery and guidance on how to best taste the different hops.

Yesterday on the first day of the festival, Yas Marina quickly got absolutely packed with craft hop enthusiasts and beer lovers! It was a great atmosphere, and then I didn't even really venture over to the other side of Iris much, where they had all the games, live music and DJs.

There was over 30 never-before-tasted in the UAE craft hops on offer, from nine different visiting American craft breweries. The make-shift bars and pouring stations were busy all throughout the afternoon. Kids and I only stayed on until about 7 pm, then we had had enough, but it had been go, go, go until about 11 pm.
Yay HustleFest - well done Chad!

HustleFest on tour

This weekend there has been a big craft beer festival in Abu Dhabi, the very first one in the UAE. On Thursday before it all set off, I had the joy of bringing all the visiting brewers from the US around to see the best of Abu Dhabi. 

We had a great visit to the Sheikh Grand Mosque and also to the Louvre Abu Dhabi. Loaded them all up with history, culture and art before they were going out into the desert for the afternoon.

What a gift!

Aren't experiences the very best gift you gan give, and get? This week one of the Swedish girls from Dubai "gifted" me to her visiting mother; she booked me for a private tour of the Louvre Abu Dhabi. We had a really nice few hours together, I so enjoy these small, intimate tours:

Working face:

Outside the Louvre Abu Dhabi they have this new installation at the moment (and until the 7th of March only) called the 'Singing Trees'. It is a choir of 30 trees who have these presence sensors installed which make the trees "sing" louder the closer the visitors get to the trees. The more people interact with the trees, the more resonant the music will be. They sing three different songs, in English the "Greensleeves", in French a Medieval choir song "L'amour de Moy" and finally in Arabic a traditional Emirati "Ayyala".

This is a very cool interactive installation, a combination between art, technology and environmental awareness. Go hug a tree you too!

The 'Singing Trees' will travel from here to Paris, London and New York, and apparently finish touring by going again back to Paris, for the Olympics in 2024.

Tuesday, 25 February 2020

Fettisdagen 2020

Today is Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras, which in Sweden we call 'Fettisdagen' (=Fat Tuesday) since traditionally it was the last day you could eat all you want and really gorge before the period of Lent started. In Sweden, traditionally Swedes celebrate this day with eating 'semla', a cardamom scented bun filled with almond paste and whipped cream.

These delicious buns should actually ONLY be enjoyed today on Fat Tuesday, but as the general Swede is not really that enthusiastic about the rituals of Christian festivals, and most lack self-discipline, people start eating them as soon as Christmas is over. This year I must confess, I actually had one already BEFORE Christmas when I was in Sweden! Just because - I could, ha ha!

Although I didn't need to fear missing out, as the Scandinavian restaurant in Dubai - Smørrebrød, made sure this year that all the ladies in SWEA could feast on 'semla' for our Fat Tuesday! Thank you! They were really delicious, and very authentic tasting.

No wonder there was a big group of us turning up for this event! Yum!

Finally, here are some 'semla' by numbers:

5 bakery-bought 'semlor' are eaten by each Swede each year.
300 kg was the weight of the world's biggest 'semla', World Record broken this year.
14 'hetvägg' (='semla' served in a bowl of warm milk) were eaten by King Adolf Fredrik in February 1771 before he died of digestion problems.
6 000 000 'semlor' are the Swedes expected to eat today.

Bake your own 'semla' using this recipe!

Monday, 24 February 2020

Street Art Safari

My friend Linda and I had made plans today to go for a bit of a discovery trip around the Abu Dhabi city center to try and find some of the newest murals in the "For Abu Dhabi"-project. This street art project was started as a way to beautify the capital's urban spaces, there are so many new amazing art pieces around town, of different sizes.
Look at this one, a massive mural on the side of a whole high-rise! It was finished just this month by famous German graffiti writer and muralist MadC, also known as Claudia Walde.

This next one is called 'Sharp Liquid', created by the Argentinian artist Elian Chali:

I don't know who the artist is for this next one, but it covers a wall in a residential area in Khalifa City, and I love how detailed it is:

This one is in Al Bateen, but unfortunately I don't know the name of the artist:

Also in Al Bateen, this masterpiece! It is a 2,000 m2 large-scale mural created by one of the most well-known graffiti artists in the world, Brazilian Eduardo Kobra. It is called 'Tolerance', and is supposed to highlight our city's diverse population. I just love all the bright colours, and the kaleidoscope effect!

Then we went down to the Corniche, and saw this mural, artist unknown:

We got on some of those new e-scooters to save some time (and also because it was hot!), and zoomed up and down the Corniche looking for more art. We found this, very cool how they have made use of the details on the house for their mural! Artist unknown.

And this:

And this:

First time for me on one of these! Oh, so cool!

Finally we went to have a closer look at the new sculpture which is placed at the Corniche Plaza at the moment, by Ai Wei Wei - 'Forever bicycles'.
No, the photo is not out of focus, it is supposed to look like this!

The artist is emphasizing the important role that bicycles have always had in his homeland China. The fact that they are stuck together could be interpreted in many ways... Different versions of this sculpture have been installed in many places around the world before, and it too is here as part of the 'For Abu Dhabi'-initiative.

Thank you for a great afternoon Linda! Next time we will go explore some other areas of Abu Dhabi hunting for more inspiring street art!

Saturday, 22 February 2020

RIS International Day 2020

Another year, another International Day at Raha International School - and another stall set up for Sweden! This year unfortunately without the sponsorship from IKEA, but with a few more parents pitching in to get the supplies, it wasn't exactly a burden anyway.

One of the girls had brought some 'Djungelvrål' back from Sweden, salty liquorice. We challenged our visitors to give it a try, and a surprisingly big amount of people did! And, an even more surprisingly large number of people actually liked it!

Also, there was finally someone else in the National Dress, Anna!

Here's a little glimpse of the rest of the Global Village, as per usual super colourful, full of delicious smells, yummy food and happy people! I love International Day!

My favourite by far this year was Denmark! They had certainly stepped it up a notch and gave last years gondola from Italy a bit of competition with an amazing viking boat and great dress-ups and make-up. Go Denmark!

Anna and I went to the photo booth in India, which was also absolutely out of this world! We fit right in with our flower wreaths!