Sunday, 23 January 2022

The 18th celebrations

Lucas invited some friends to celebrate his birthday last night, an evening which started at the Yas Kartzone at Yas Marina Circuit.

Only Nathan was there to watch, as someone had to take Lucas over (and pay!). For the rest of the evening we weren't invited.

They went to Stars & Bars for dinner. Nice to have your birthday in the winter so you can enjoy sitting outside!

They seemed to have had a great night, so grateful for this group of friends of his. Quite sad really they only have a few more months together, before school is all done and they will go in different directions. Crazy how time flies!

Saturday, 22 January 2022

Birthday bonanza!

Our first-born is now considered an adult - he just turned EIGHTEEN! Can you believe it?! Oaw!
Although it's a special number, it was a birthday like most others - with singing and gifts in the early morning. First we woke Lucas up:

Apart from the pending drivers license, he also got a new pair of shorts, a jacket, some cash to buy shoes (as he couldn't decide which ones he wanted) and a cleaning kit for his computer keyboard. Mormor had sent with a couple of 'Skarastakar' (traditional candle light holders made in my home town) and Auntie Nikki got him some games for his PS.

Then it was my turn:

Balloons! I LOVE balloons! Celebrations need balloons!

Birthday pancakes for breakfast:

Even our TV celebrated our birthday, ha ha!

I got some special copper mugs for Moscow Mules, a nice little blue handbag and air tags; and I also got some cash to bring to the Goldman for a specific necklace I would like to have made, eventually.

Linda came by and really surprised me, with some beautiful flowers that made me so happy. Look at these stunning colours, so joyful!

After school we had some Swedish birthday fika with a Princess Cake that I had ordered from a local bakery, Let's Fika:

In the evening we had decided to test out a new restaurant for us, down in the Mina port area. I had read great reviews about it, and sure, the meals were great - but... I had missed that it is a DRY restaurant... which was rather disappointing on a birthday evening actually. So steak and sparkling water for dinner.

We ended the evening with a walk along the new Yas Bay area. We were looking for dessert, but gave up and went home and had ice cream and Moscow Mules instead!

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 there.
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..!