Sunday, 30 January 2022

The Monster Machine

We have a new family member. Meet - The Monster:

Nathan's new toy, a Ram Warlock with a 5,7 L Hemi V8. (Fueled full tank for 200 AED/513 SEK/83 NZD/€49 the other day).
I had to give up my parking spot in front of our house, as this demands a bit more space than The Beast, believe it or not. I have only taken it for a spin around the block so far. Always takes a while to get used to driving another car than what you are used to, but I can tell you - it will be a long while before I take this anywhere where parking is remotely tight. It is BIG.

When Nathan picked it up he didn't just get the keys, but also a box of chocolates!

Lucas having a trial-sit in it, thumbs up! Another few weeks and he will be our designated driver..!

We traded in the old car, a Dodge we had bought off our neighbours when they left back to Ireland a few years back. Ever since we have had it, we never bothered to change the photo on the home screen of the car. A photo of their family, about 10 years old... ha ha!
We decided to sell the car, still with that photo - it's like those stock photos that sit in photo frames when you buy them. I wonder who is driving around admiring that lovely family photo now..!?

I also got something new, a new screen in my car:

Nathan had the whole radio console taken out and replaced with an Android kind of tablet, so I can control everything from a big touch screen now. Good idea in theory but we need to do something about the glare. I actually can't use it at all - as I can't see anything on it! Sigh...

Thursday, 27 January 2022

Another Expo2020 visit

On Tuesday Linda and I went up to Expo2020 for another day full of adventures. International Day was always my favourite day of the school year, and since we haven't had one now for two years, nor traveled to any exotic places - this is THE best day out! It's the ultimate International Day - when else would we have the whole world at our feet like this!? Better make the most of it for the time that it's still running!

We spent 10 hours at the Expo, and managed to visit 23 pavilions; we enjoyed breakfast in Australia, lunch in the gluten-free bakery at Al Wasl Plaza and an afternoon pick-me-up coffee break with the most delicious Banana Split I've ever had, in the Opportunity district. We enjoyed a live concert AND went up to see the Garden in the Sky!
So... here's another photo bomb..!

First we went into the Mobility Pavilion - Alif.

All I can say is - OAW!
That went straight up on my top-three, super beautiful, fascinating and impressive! For example these 9 meter big models of explorers, that looked more human than human, so well made! The whole pavilion was amazingly made, captivating and informative. Will have to go back with the kids next time.

Oman, another pavilion that I really liked! It talked about frankincense - Oman's gift to the world, and what it is used for, in everything from food to perfume to medicine:

France, rather underwhelming actually. I might have to go back and give it another chance?

Thailand, very lovely made in three different chapters:

Korea, where we got equipped with a device that allowed us to merge the real world around us with some futuristic AR. We also had great views from the roof of this pavilion, and I enjoyed the spin cubes, which changes the look of the facade throughout the day:

Palestine, another pavilion that worked a lot with all the senses. Here we got to smell orange blossoms for example:

The USA pavilion - made us feel like being on a sushi train as we had to stand still on a conveyor belt which then brought us through their displays:

This I particularly enjoyed! It's the 1764 copy of the Holy Quran which once belonged to President Thomas Jefferson. It's the first time it has come to the Middle East:

I also touched a stone from the moon! It came back to earth in 1972 with Apollo 17. Very cool!
(And yes, I used sanitizer, both before and after. My hands are never as dry as after a visit to the Expo, I sanitize ALL the time; entering pavilions, exiting pavilions, before using touch displays, after using touch displays etc etc...)

We went into the DP Pavilion to admire the huge waterfall feature, and to get free coffee..!

India, a huge pavilion! I must say, it was so big I got a big information overload in here. Really nice that they want to display all the different sides to their country, as some pavilions do the opposite and focus on only one thing, industries or future goals etc; and forget for example - tourism..! But, it got me tired in here.

We have decided that next time we are going to try and do all the smaller pavilions in "the middle" of the districts. This day we did do one, Malta, because we passed by it on our way to fill up our water bottles. But they are equally interesting and well done, even though on a smaller scale.

Monaco, which seemed to have a bit of a kaleidoscopic theme going on:

Indonesia, which really had made the most of the long corridors (that many pavilions have) from one part to the other. The walls were covered with small acrylic cubes filled with different spices, really cool!

In Lebanon, we learned about Lebanese comics (!), and found some cool swings!

The architecture of the Pakistani pavilion is one of my favourites, like a piece of art in itself, created by renowned artist Rashid Rana. It comprises 24,000 seemingly identical but all in fact unique pieces, fractionally different from each other, meld together in harmony.

I loved the inside of this pavilion too, focusing on history and culture.

Bahrain is another architecturally interesting pavilion, both outside and inside:

We purposely made a stop at the United Nations pavilion, as one of our Swedish friends Madeleine has been selected to showcase one of her paintings there. Such an honour! Well done!

Ukraine gave us Sweden-vibes, as their flag is also blue and yellow, and some of it's displays were heavily playing with these colours:

Linda wanted to go up in the Garden in the Sky at sunset. It's a rotating sky deck designed by Asif Khan. It offers a 360-degree view from 55 meters up. The name comes from the Yellow Flame trees which are planted on the top floor of the sky deck cabin.

Perfect timing to go up here, and superb views over the whole Expo site!
worth the extra 30 AED cost!

In Kuwait I listened to singing pillars:

By pure luck, we walked past the Jubilee Stage just when there was a performance starting, by a youth ensemble from NZ actually. They were dancing and singing, and we couldn't help but get completely caught up in the happy mood, and stayed and boogied for a while!

Although in fact we were on our way here, to the monument over all the workers that have participated in building the Expo2020 site - the Monument to the Living, very cool!
This is also designed by Asif Khan, and it consists of 38 columns all carved from Omani limestone, with over 200,000 individual names on them.

We also visited the Expo Museum pavilion, which told the history of all the different World Expos until now:

And just like that - we had added another bunch of stamps in our Expo2020 passport, and headed out to the car park with slightly sore feet after having walked over 22,000 steps.
A great day - and I'm already looking forward to next time!