November 2008

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View From the Office

Here are some photos of our office on the 26th floor of the Fairmont Hotel. The second two were taken by Sattar Saeed, the guy on the right in the photo below. He’s an electrical engineer and a really kind and lovely man. The guy on the left in the photo below is Raed Othman, our structural engineer/everything else. Also kind and lovely, Raed has been with Yamasaki the longest, and has an endless supply of jokes which are all true stories. Raed and Sattar are both from Baghdad so it is fascinating to hear the first hand account of the consequences of the USA’s horrible foreign policy towards their country for the past decades.

Our Gardenia



More Exotic Fruits

This batch was even more successful than the last. The snake fruit made us both think that we’d discovered the secret of the artificial fruit flavor that you often encounter in candies like jolly ranchers. The spiky one had a texture like pomegranate in that the seeds were small and edible within a luscious suspension of sweetness. It had a kind of banana flavor to the green goodness. The best by far though was the little round cherry tomato-like fruits in the light brown husks. They have this flavor that is simply like nothing you’ve ever tasted before. Very complex with changing taste over time from very sweet, to overtones of bitterness, to a savory aftertaste.








Emirates Road



While over for dinner at Barbara and Mark’s house in Mirdif the other night, I had a little too much wine. So I decided to take some pretty pictures while Elizabeth was driving us home. I kind of like the effect though so I’m posting them. The light that you can see over the horizon in some shots is the Burj Dubai which when it isn’t blurred at 120k/h is really stunning from that distance across the desert. Unfortunately, we forgot the camera in the car while we were at dinner. I promise the next time that we will get some photos of them and their villa. It’s really quaint and they have a nice little backyard. Their two little girls are incredibly sweet. Barbara teaches alongside Elizabeth at AUD. Mark is an engineer. He’s from Jamaica and she’s from Toronto. Mark makes a wicked grilled barracuda.













Typical Weekday Mornings


Check on our tomato plants.


Beth wakes up looking perfect.


Rob rolls out late looking awful. “Are you sure you want me to ruin this coffee by putting cream in it?” He asks.

Date Night

Last night after working hard all day and drinking, Beth decided that we should take a cab down to Diera, the old center of the city. Here are some pictures.


See the kitty on the dumpster.


This one is for Pearl.


We decided to take a boat taxi over to Bur Dubai for dinner. Our Bangladeshi driver was great. He showed us photos of his family.
















Yes. Thursday is the new Friday when you are in an Islamic country.


Isn’t she beautiful? Beth picked this up while we were strolling through Diera. It’s absolutely gorgeous.

The ever-changing view from our balcony

Our first month here, Elizabeth decided to put together a book that was a compilation of photographs taken from our bedroom balcony every 30 minutes.

Here it is. It’s really interesting to watch the comings and goings of the buses with the workers and the colors are very vivid.

We’ve been inspired by our surroundings and especially by the plight of the people here that are building the apartment buildings that are rising up so quickly around us. We have so many ideas for projects. Another piece is a video from the balcony that I shot at night. Beth put a soundtrack to it of pearl-diving song to a very interesting effect. I’ll put up soon as well. And we have some things in the works that don’t even take place from the balcony. In fact, we are going to have a piece in a sculpture show coming up so stay tuned for that. Tomorrow we are going to the gallery to figure out the space that it will take up.

We have been working our asses of with our jobs but even so, every day feels like vacation. It still feels fun to go to work — kind of like I’m playing a part that I know well. I guess the novelty has still not worn off about the newness of the place.

Hmm


The image on the right is the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company logo. They are the state-owned oil company of the UAE. I noticed the similarity the week before the election but I didn’t want to say anything that could be used against him. I think it’s just probably a coincidence.

Hot and Hazy November

We’ve been working a lot lately, but on our own projects as much as on our salaried projects. While doing so yesterday we were distracted by some very interesting bird calls coming from our bedroom balcony. We sneaked over in time to see two little exotic looking birds enjoying our new balcony. So we took a short break today to get a bird guide book, a bird feeder and some more hanging planters to add to the foliage out there. Another one of the planters we’re using to grow herbs and tomatoes in off the kitchen window.