Sunday, September 18, 2011

Going once, Going twice, SOLD!

So one of the many quirks of the UAE is not just that there is a maserati, porsche, or ferrari around every corner but what is on the car that is unique.  In the UAE the locals do not only show their status with the car they drive but rather the number on their license plates.  The elite have the lowest of low numbers on their exotic sports cars and yesterday the license plate auction took place.  The exciting auction all went down at the illustrious Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi where locals spent hundreds, thousands, of dirhams on sentimental license plate numbers.

In The National this morning there was an article that discussed this thrilling event.  One gentleman spent 120,000 AED to get the same number he has had since he was 17.  That is a little less than $33,000.  This is an imperative event in the Emirati world, one gentleman in the article said, "With a unique three-digit number, everything changes.  You get special treatment, people look at you differently. You are treated like you are something big."  Back in 2008 a man spent $14.3 million for Abu Dhabi's plate number "1."  I must mention that the proceeds do go to a local charity here in the UAE to benefit car accident victims.

This got me thinking, do we have practices like this back in the states?  Or is this just something unique to the Middle East.  I know people are into comic books, art collections, stamps, spoons, elephants, scarves!  But license plates?  What sort of expendable status symbols do we spend exorbidant amounts of money on?  I am scratching my head on this one, but I must admit when we are out tooling around I am always checking out the plates just to see how low our highway neighbors will go.  


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Piece of Paradise

Unawatuna Beach, Slice of Heaven
So, I do not know if you were aware of this BUT did you know that you can get sunburned in, yes in, your belly button?!  Because my friends that was a little present that Sri Lanka sent me home with, along with about 35 bug bites, yes I counted.  I told my mom about that tonight and she is now convinced that I have Malaria and after my latest google search I just found out that Sri Lanka is a "Malaria Hot Spot." Let's all go!  But really we all should it is an absolutely amazing place.

The race was afoot and of course
E & I won!!!
The beaches where smooth and the sand felt nice on our feet as we ran like Pamela Anderson and the Hoff down the beach.  Well, actually we did not run at all, but E did make me perform his 8 minute workout on the beach, in the sand, and oh yes the sand was everywhere, but at least some fitness was had, even if it was done begrudgingly.  We rode around in Tuk Tuks, ate amazing sea food, and even took in a Cricket Match of two of the best teams in the world, Sri Lanka and Australia.

Go Sri Lanka!  Smells like Team
It was a quick weekend, we flew in spent three days in this beautiful open air hotel called, Tharpobon.  The staff was welcoming and smiling, by the end we had all made friends.  It was so relaxing, we talked about returning some day very soon.  But I will be sure to throw some zinc in my delicate little belly button next time.