When we crossed paths with Lailanie Berganos, 33, last Ramadan, and heard the story of how this Filipina waitress at the Hankook Korean restaurant had converted to Islam, little did we know that a second chapter of her story would reach us just in time to set the right mood this Valentine's Day. From Laila - a name she prefers more these days - we learned that one of the restaurant's regular customers, Richard, a Chinese-Filipino man working for Samsung Corporation, had read her story in our newspaper and struck up a conversation with her on her conversion to Islam. Finally, they fell in love and he proposed to Laila in December. Their wedding in Abu Dhabi is planned for the last week of March, with a second celebration in the Philippines, among family and friends, planned in June. We are delighted to have played a hand in their love story; it gives us hope this Valentine's Day.
The end of the Dubai Shopping Festival frenzy brings an opportunity to relax, unwind and recover before perusing the bills.
The Dubai Ladies Club is organising a Wellness Day tomorrow from 10am to 5pm, which will include a seminar on health, mind and body. It will offer healthy lifestyle tips and a free trial of its new Technogym Kinesis equipment. The seminar will deliver introductory information on behaviour modification, meditation, nutrition and the benefits of exercise on the Technogym Kinesis machine, meant to restore the balance between the mind and body and help one rediscover the four fundamental physical abilities: endurance, balance, strength and flexibility. Sounds like a legitimate excuse for some much needed R&R to us!
Art connoisseurs in the capital have several exhibitions to choose from this week. Salwa Zeidan will launch an exhibition of her own works, under the title In Light, at her gallery on Khaleej al Arabi Street on Monday. It will run until March 12. The gallery is open every day from 10am to 9pm and the artist will be on hand to discuss her paintings and their theme of light with visitors.
Also located on the street is the recently opened Ghaf Art Gallery, where an exhibition entitled Generation Layers will also be shown on Monday. Featuring works by the artists Julia Ibbini and Janine Ibbini, this particular exhibition will continue until Feb 26. Make sure you also stop by the Qibab Art Gallery in Al Bateen during the opening of Al Sayab Rain exhibition by the Egyptian artist Amre Heiba. The artist's work will be on show until Feb 23 from 7.30am to 9.30pm.
The rumours are confirmed: a new Element hotel is due to open in Jan 2011 as part of Abu Dhabi's Dh8 billion (US$2.3 billion) Capital Centre - a business and residential micro-city. With more than 300 rooms, the hotel will offer eco-chic indulgences such as complimentary bicycles, large windows and spa-like bathrooms with giant showers and rain showerheads. The project is a partnership between Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide and the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company.
The Middle East's first designer toy exhibition is coming to Dubai's The Jam Jar gallery where the focus will be on robots. Traditional artists, Arabic typographers, branding specialists and other creative individuals from various backgrounds will be given robot-shaped canvases to customise them in a taste of pop culture and urban art with an aim to push boundaries in art and design. Some of these works will go on sale to raise funds that will be donated to Start, an organisation enabling children in Dubai, Jordan and Lebanon to develop their creative talent with the support of artists, volunteers and galleries.
The opening night is Feb 19 and will feature tunes from Dany Neville, the Underground Procedures' DJ. * The National