Sunday, April 25, 2010

World of Music, Art and Dance - WOMAD Abu Dhabi 2010

when WOMAD first came to Abu Dhabi last year - I was too ignorant to care. Having never heard of WOMAD before and not recognising any names on the performer list leaflet (no Robbie Williams? no Beyonce?) I just waved it off thinking I wouldn't enjoy it anyways - and boy did I miss something.

This year I am a little bit more aware, having done some little research on the net, unlike last year I know now that:

- WOMAD is an organization founded in 1980 by Peter Gabriel, Thomas Brooman and Bob Hooton

- WOMAD was founded on the basis that enthusiasm over global sounds would be created if there is awareness

- the financial realities of the organization brought about the idea of having a festival instead of a one off event

- two years later in 1982, the first Womad festival took place in Shepton Mallet, England

- the organizations central aim is to celebrate the worlds culturally diverse forms of music, arts and dance by bringing together artists from all over the globe

- currently WOMAD holds festival in over 20 countries, presenting more that a thousand artists from all parts of the globe to a million audience, creating awareness and promoting appreciation for the worlds' Music, Art and Dance.

the WOMAD Abu Dhabi 2010 logo

fireworks display kick starting the event

the CHEMIRANI's onstage.
the Chemirani's are a renowed Persian family ensemble with music using traditional Persian beats

the master percussionist DJAMCHID and daughter MARYAM on the tombak

speacially designed by ANGUS WATT, these flags has been an integral part of the WOMAD festivals.

WASEL SAFWAN an Emirati artist and architect

WOMAD bazaar


The ZAWOSE FAMILY spreading the music of the Wagogo people of TANZANIA

the Chemirani's coming to prepare, cook and share a traditional dish from their country of origin along with an audience Q & A in participation of TASTE OF THE WORLD

WOMAD graffiti wall

it all happened here, at the Abu Dhabi corniche

the only picture of me enjoying this wonderful event

I am glad I decided to go and watch this wonderful event! I got to see, hear and enjoy even a little bit of the worlds diverse culture thru music, arts and dance. I didn't get to see all 35 and more performing artists but my favorite would have to be the CHEMRANI's.  Meeting with WASEL SAFWAN and asking him if I could take his picture was embarrassing in a nice sort of way :D. Too bad DAMIEN MARLEY was too sick to perform that night!!!

I salute the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH) for bringing WOMAD to Abu Dhabi, their dedication and passion to make Abu Dhabi the cultural center of the region has brought art awareness and appreciation of the UAE's and the worlds diverse culture and heritage.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

for love of chocolate

I absolutely adore chocolates!!! I love them dark, milk, bitter, white or semi sweet.  I love them in ice cream, cakes, brownies, cookies, beverages, dips and syrups, I love them in plain bars or with fillings, fuits or nuts or both- and the list can go on and on!!

I can live on chocolate if only it doesn't go straight to my belly, thighs and butt!

Here in the UAE or should I say in the Middle East (soon the world?) the most famous brand in chocolate is Patchi - borne from an 11-year old boy's passion for chocolate, the brand has grown globally.

When I first came here I was thrilled to see those chocolates arranged in a variety of designs for a variety of occassions, back then I remember thinking that I should maybe get a franchise and bring the brand and concept to the Philippines. There wasn't any shop that offers chocolate arrangements in my home country as far as I know, and I thought the concept was charming and definitely would be a hit.

Fast forward to the present - well I haven't enough money to buy the franchise but that didn't stop me from enjoying these Lebanese made chocolates. Maybe one day, insha allah, my passion for chocolate would bring me my very own Patchi franchise :D

Sunday, April 18, 2010

changing demographics

My story of moving from one demographic to another can be considered epic - well maybe not, am just being overly dramatic.

Depending on what you believe in it can be a story of luck and coincidences or of destiny and fate.

Consider this:

- one sunday morning in January a few years back, I lay in bed contemplating my (then) current work environment which is turning for the worse. I remember having a tingling feeling in my legs. I felt uneasy, like I had the butterflies but puzzled as to "why?", could it be because I decided to try and look for a new job? having worked for the company for close to four years since I got out of college maybe I am getting jittery because this is another big transition. My thoughts were disrupted when I heard my mom take our regular newspaper subscription and after a split second I jumped out of bed to get the other paper noted for its thick classified ads section.

- lo and behold! I saw one add by a manpower agency that deploys people to the middle east looking for a banker with three to five years experience, not over age 27, etc etc. I was reading it with my mom and she said "that is you!!"

- it was the ONE time the agency placed an add in the papers, I almost missed that window of opportunity had we taken on our normal sunday paper.

- so I went thru the process of application but it wasn't until after almost 6 months that I finally recieved a call saying I am one of the shortlisted candidates.

- during the interview day, I went to the wrong venue - it was a good thing we left early and the normal heavy traffic was non existent which gave us just enough time to make it!

- in the interview room, my nervousness vanished when one of the three interviewers smiled at me and said I looked like his daughter. The ice was broken and I was able to answer the questions with renewed confidence! a lot of people say I look like someone they know - this is the one time I actually appreciated hearing that! haha!

After signing the offer letter comes the hardest part - documentation. We were given approx a month to have all our documents attested and authenticated by various government agencies, and since I was still employed that means a lot of absences. It was not an easy month but to cut the story short everything worked out fine in the end...

... and so I bid adeiu to my family, friends and former officemates carrying with me my authenticated and attested documents, luggage, pocket money, sense of adventure, hopes, dreams and goals as I boarded the plane to the land of sand and oil, jumping from being 'regular filipino employee' to an 'expat'.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

what's in a name??!!

While I've created generic user names - that is a combination of my name and random numbers - for all my other online accounts, I decided AND wanted a unique user name for this blog account - this after all would be some sort of an online attempt to document my life here in Abu Dhabi.

I choose to use 'the middle class abu dhabi expat' because it is who I am. I am lucky to have a job in line with my vocation but I am far from being a high flying, five digit salary earning foreigner. I am your average employee, with an average salary and an average if not boring expatriate lifestyle - haha!!

And so, running out of words to end this little entry, here is 'the middle class abu dhabi expat' blog for you!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

signing up!!

 ... I have had this account for quite sometime now - but haven't the inspiration to begin posting anything... that is until I decided to dedicate one specific blogging account (among others that I have!) to document - well sort of anyway! my life here in Abu Dhabi...

... so here: my piece of internet blogging space to write about and post pictures of food, places, events and people that make the life of a middle class Abu Dhabi expat!