Sunday, July 29, 2007

Georgia: Visit Without Prejudice

No I am not referring to the state of Georgia in the US; but to the Republic of Georgia in East Europe. OK what’s in Georgia to go and see? These were my thoughts, but a friend of mine, who has a company there, told me it was really worth going to.
This got me interested as I was already going to Azerbaijan anyway, and Georgia would be one hour away by plane. However, all I knew about this ex-Soviet state was that they are in bad terms with Russia. Call me ignorant or close minded, but that's the truth. I was a bit nervous going there due to safety concerns and the language barrier. Yes I was stereotyping thinking that its mafia infested; and after visiting Azerbaijan, I was expecting the same topography.
The airport was a breeze, no hassles, no visa, no questions about what am I doing in Georgia or where am I staying, they just stamped my passport as if I was Georgian!!
The driver, also my guide, picks me up and he speaks ‘Zero’ English’. This only adds to my nervousness and raises the question what am I going to do for next few days? Luckyly he picks up his daughter from University who is fluent in English.
As we approach Tbilisi, the capital, I felt as if I am going into a modern medieval city, with interesting and unique architecture. The topography is nothing like Baku in Azerbaijan, with high mountains, churches everywhere, a river that runs through the city, then as we approach the city center, it feels and looks like any western European city, with great Victorian buildings everywhere.
The people are kind, deeply devoted christen who give respect to every church they pass, by crossing themselves, women enter church only if they wear a scarf. Georgian are proud of their heritage and culture which is very rich and unique. Their food is also unique and Georgian pride themselves in inventing wine and spreading to the world through the Silk Route. The stone city of Uplistsikhe is like no other. This city that dates back to thousands of years has a few remains that are still impressive by any measure. Georgia is truly breathtaking and their only downfall is the language barrier. Ironically I was told, the country has less than 100 tourists at any give time, and all foreigners are there on business, even more Ironic is that we all know the most famous Georgian, the man who changed history forever, Joseph Staline.

All I can say is to visit this country without any prejudice.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Parking Lot Effect On Palm Island Seabed

So here I am yesterday on my small boat with some friends trying to escape the heat of Dubai and we stopped between the Royal Mirage hotel beach and the Palm Island. As soon as the boat stopped I jumped in to cool off, only to feel even hotter in the water!!How can that be? Water is supposed to cool you off not feel like a Jacuzzi, but hey it could be something with water being trapped between the beach and the Palm Island.

So we decided to move on and pulled the anchor of boat only to find it’s full of cement on it, not sand!!!That when a friend said “this is the parking lot effect, the asphalt on the seabed produces heat instead of the sand absorbing the heat.”

I hope this is a temporary effect. The long term effects are going to be devastating with all these new projects.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

The Miseducated Lauryn Hill

Songs of abuse, greed and brain washing done by people who oppressed her people was a theme in most of her songs. The artistes who sold millions of records on her first and only album produced by the Fugees and then sold a few more millions from her solo album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill was here in Dubai and I had to go and see her in concert.

Her voice is like no other and I wanted to be as close as possible to listen to this amazing instrument of nature, so I bought front row tickets, even though she was going sing for around one hour only, starting at 9 p.m.

Before she started Karl Wolf was going to sing and although I have seen his name around in the local papers I have never heard him sing. All I know is he made a music video in Oman and the song he remixed used parts form the song Africa.

Although we arrive at 8:20 it took us nearly 40 minutes to get in, even though we had tickets due to the unorganized event management. So here we are rushing in only to find out that Karl Wolf is coming on in 15 minutes. To be fair he was amazing and really impressed the audience with his Arabic influence music. He surly won me as a fan.

After Karl Wolf the DJ came on and would not stop mixing. People started to complain and he kept saying that Lauryn Hill was coming in a few minutes which seemed forever… when people started booing, we thought of leaving because it was already midnight.

Just before she came on the DJ announces that Lauryn Hill was in Italy the day before, she nearly missed her flight because of over booking and she has a soar throat but she still deiced to go ahead and put a show for Dubai, before heading to France, so ‘ lets give it up for her’

All I can say is ‘I gave up on her’. She should change her album from Miseducation of Lauryn Hill to the Misedcuated Laurtn Hill and she should be ashamed of singing songs of abuse and brain wash since she did the same to her fans because of her greed for money. We left after she sang 2 songs only since she sounded like broken car muffler.