x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Social networking and the tangled web we weave

Why does the newly established social networking group Single in the City - which strenuously insists it is not a dating agency - keep running into trouble with the law?

Why does the newly established social networking group Single in the City - which strenuously insists it is not a dating agency - keep running into trouble with the law? Its website has been blocked at least twice and organisers say they are having a nightmare trying to persuade Etisalat they mean no harm. Says one exasperated insider: "Perhaps it's the suggestive name but it seems they must be confusing it for a dating website. "We've considered various things like changing the name to Solo in the City but Lara Young [the founder] wouldn't hear of it. Hopefully we'll be up and running again soon." City singles - or solos - will have to wait a little longer, it seems.

Taking your work home with you is rarely a good thing but in Gaiti Rabbani's case, it has its perks. The director of the coloured stones and pearls division of the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre, which organised the first World Pearl Forum only a few weeks ago, has taken to touting an enormous pearl ring with a giant-sized South Sea akoya stone set in platinum, together with matching earrings. "I was so inspired when I started working here that on my first visit to Paspaley pearl farm in Australia, I bought these earrings the minute I landed," she giggled. "The ring was a present from my husband Erlank. He only ever bothers giving me pearls now as gifts - he knows it's the only way to my heart."

Next Saturday will see the launch of the Syrian photographer Jaber Azmeh's first solo exhibition, entitled Metaphors and centring on the subject of horses as a form of abstraction. The exhibition will be held at Dubai's Green Art Gallery, one of the first galleries in Dubai to exhibit art by Arab artists, and is open to the public until April 20, 10am to 9pm every day except Fridays.

Perhaps it's a desire to fit in as much outdoor fun before the heat becomes too unbearable to warrant doing anything more than five feet away from an air-conditioning unit. Or it could be the need to let one's hair down more often now we're working that much harder to make ourselves indispensable during an economic downturn. Whatever the case, there is plenty to choose from when it comes to after-hours partying in the capital this week. Head to the rooftop lounge at the Shangri-La Hotel's Pearls & Caviar on Friday afternoons for some refreshing cocktails under the setting sun, served to the background of chill-out, jazzy tunes. The combination of spectacular views of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque across the water and the refreshing sea breeze is sure to make this a regular Friday afternoon and evening spot for the coming week, as long as you call ahead and make sure that you're on the guest list.

If waiting until next Friday afternoon seems too long, then head to the recently opened Escape Lounge at the Hiltonia beach garden tonight. Soundbites, a group of DJs from the Netherlands, will be performing different styles of house music, including club, progressive and techno, under an '80s influence that is guaranteed to make patrons ignore the drinks and food on hand and instead dance the night away under the stars. Tomorrow is a day off, so you might as well indulge! * Hala Khalaf